The Victim Services Division of the Harris County District Attorney's Office was established in 1977 to provide information, assistance, and support to victims of crime in Harris County. Victim assistance coordinators are liaisons between the victim and the prosecutor handling the case and provide crime victims with information about their rights and the criminal justice system including ongoing information about the status of a case.
Coordinators also provide referrals to appropriate social service agencies to assist crime victims in coping with the impact of the crime. The criminal justice system can be confusing and overwhelming to those who are not familiar with it. Therefore the coordinators assigned to this division are committed to helping victims and witnesses through the process by providing them with the help and services necessary to assist their recovery of the criminal act.
What services does the Victim Services Division provide?
- Initial Contact: Contact victims by mail as soon as the case is accepted for prosecution.
- Case Status: Provide on-going, up-dated case status information.
- Criminal Justice System Information: Explain court procedures and schedules.
- Crime Victim Compensation Fund: Provide information and assist victims of violent crime in filing applications for benefits.
- Victim Impact Statements: Provide information and assist victims of violent crime in completing a Victim Impact Statement.
- Referrals: Direct victims to community resources and social services.
- Restitution: Collect information on victims' property loss and forward to prosecutors; serve as a conduit for the payment of lump sum restitution to crime victims.
- Court Accompaniment: Accompany victims to court upon their or the prosecutor's request.
- Testing For Sexual Assault Defendants: Coordinate AIDS and other Sexual Transmitted Disease testing for defendants indicted or who waives indictment for Sexual Assault, Aggravated Sexual Assault and Indecency with a Child by contact.
- Mandatory Testing: Coordinate AIDS and other Sexual Transmitted Disease testing requests from first responders.
- U Visa Certification Request: Handle requests for I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification.
- Transportation Assistance: Provide bus passes to assist in transportation to court.
- Anatomical Dolls and Drawings: Provide dolls and drawings to assist prosecutors in the interview and testimony in child abuse cases.
- Court Orientation Coloring Books: Provide coloring books and crayons for children preparing to testify in court.
Crime Victims' Rights in Texas
Victim means a person who is the victim of an offense of sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, or injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual or who has suffered personal injury or death as a result of the criminal conduct of another. A close relative is a spouse, parent, adult brother/sister or adult child of a deceased victim or the guardian of a victim. As a victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim you are entitled to the following rights with the criminal justice system: