Victim Rights

To protect the interests of crime victims and witnesses in Illinois, the General Assembly passed the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act in 1984. Subsequently, in 1992, the statutory rights afforded to the victims and witnesses of violent crime were amended to our state’s Bill of Rights. The basis of the act is to afford victims and witnesses the right to be treated with respect, fairness and dignity. The spirit of the law is also intended to make the system more just. In 1994, these rights were extended to include victims and witnesses of juvenile offenders.

Article I. Section 8.1 of the Illinois Constitution provides:

Crime Victims*, as defined by law, shall have the following rights as provided by law:

(1) The right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process;

(2) The right to notification of court proceedings;

(3) The right to communicate with the prosecution;

(4) The right to make a statement to the court at sentencing;

(5) The right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment and release of the accused;

(6) The right to the timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused;

(7) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused through the criminal justice process;

(8) The right to be present at the trial and all other court proceedings on the same basis as the accused, unless the victim is to testify and the court determines that the victim's testimony would be materially affected if the victim hears other testimony at the trial;

(9) The right to have present at all court proceedings, subject to the rules of evidence, an advocate or other support person of the victim's choice;

(10) The right to restitution.

The Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act requires that:

A statement and explanation of the rights of crime victims shall be given to a crime victim at the initial contact with the criminal justice system by the appropriate authorities and shall be conspicuously posted in all court facilities.

“Crime Victim” has been defined in the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act to mean victims of violent crime as well as victims of misdemeanors, which result in death or great bodily harm to the victim. 725 ILCS 120/3.

Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office
Rights of Violent Crime Witnesses in Illinois

Article I. Section of the Illinois Constitution provides:

Witnesses*, as defined by law, shall have the following rights as provided by law:

(1) To be notified by the Office of the State’s Attorney of all court dates within a reasonable amount of time prior to the proceeding, and to be notified of the cancellation of any scheduled court proceeding in sufficient time to prevent an unnecessary appearance in court, where possible;

(2) To be provided with appropriate employer intercession services by the office of the State’s Attorney or the victim advocate personnel to ensure that employers of witnesses will cooperate with the criminal justice system in order to minimize an employee’s loss of pay and other benefits resulting from court appearances

(3) To be provided, whenever possible, a secure waiting area during court proceedings that does not require witnesses to be in close proximity to defendants and their families and friends;

(4) To be provided with notice by the Office of the State’s Attorney, when necessary, of the right to have a translator present whenever the witness’ presence is required.

The Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act requires that:

A statement and explanation of the rights of crime victims shall be given to a crime victim at the initial contact with the criminal justice system by the appropriate authorities and shall be conspicuously posted in all court facilities.

“Crime Witness” has been defined in the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act to mean any person who personally observed the commission of a violent crime and who will testify on behalf of the State of Illinois in the criminal prosecution of the violent crime.

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