Victim/Witness Program

Services Available to You

Testifying in a case is a significant responsibility and we at the Victim Services Unit understand how intimidating the criminal justice system can be at times. We appreciate your patience and cooperation and will work to keep you informed throughout all stages of the criminal justice process. To accomplish this goal, we would like for you to know about the many services available to you through our office. These services are routinely offered to victims and witnesses of violent crime and are available to victims and witnesses of other crimes upon request.

Initial Contact Letter

As a victim or witness to a violent crime, you should receive a contact letter from the Victim Services Unit within one week of your incident. This letter will provide you with the names and phone numbers of the prosecutor and victim/witness advocate assigned to your case and will include a copy of our Victim/Witness Handbook, a brochure that contains general information about our office, the criminal justice process, and the various services available to you.

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Initial Phone Contact

Once the initial contact letter is mailed, you will receive a phone call from one of our victim/witness advocate. Your victim/witness advocate will answer any questions you may have about your case, upcoming court events, and the various services available to you. We will also verify your contact information (telephone number and address) so we will be able to keep in touch with you throughout all stages of the criminal justice process. During this initial phone call, an appointment will be set up between you, the prosecutor, and your victim/witness assistant to further discuss the details of your case.

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Victim/Witness Interview

As a victim/witness, you may be experiencing feelings of confusion, fear, or anger about the crime or the criminal justice process. This meeting serves as an opportunity for you to meet with the prosecutor and victim/witness advocate assigned to your case to ask any questions you may have or to learn more about the criminal justice process. In this meeting, the prosecutor will review the facts of your case, answer and ask any additional questions, and discuss your opinion of how the case should be handled. If your presence is necessary at an upcoming court event such as a preliminary hearing or trial, a subpoena may be issued to you during this interview.

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Jail Notification Form

Our office can assist you in submitting a Jail Notification Form to the Newport News City or Regional Jail Authority if you would like to be notified of a defendant’s release/discharge from jail or transfer from one jail to another. Once you complete this form, submit it to your victim/witness advocate and a copy will be provided to the Jail.

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After Hours/Next Day Docket Information (Hotline)

Sometimes court proceedings cannot take place as scheduled. The Victim Services Unit will make every effort to notify you in advance, but may not be successful. By calling (757) 926-7490 the evening before your court date, you can confirm whether you have to appear in court. A tape-recorded message will announce which witnesses are needed in court the next day, listed by case name. This service is available after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and continuously on weekends and holidays. We encourage you to use this resource; calling this number may save you an unnecessary trip to the courthouse!

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Case Disposition Information

At your request, once a defendant’s guilt is determined and he/she is sentenced, the Victim Services Unit can contact you by phone (if you were not present at the sentencing) to notify you of the outcome of the case.

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Virginia Department of Corrections (prison) Notification Form

After a defendant is convicted and sentenced to the Virginia State Penitentiary, our office can assist you in submitting a Notification Form to the Virginia Department of Corrections. Filling out this form ensures that the Virginia Department of Corrections will notify you of the offender’s transfer from one prison to another, an escape from prison and recapture, release or discharge of the offender, or any change in the offender’s name while in custody. If the offender is incarcerated at the local jail, a copy of the form will be forwarded to that facility.

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Virginia Department of Corrections VINE Service

VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) is a toll-free, 24-hour, anonymous, computer-based telephone service that provides victims of crime with information about an inmate’s status and notification when an inmate is released, transferred, or escapes from a correctional facility. The service, once a victim registers, will automatically call you when or if one of the above events occurs. For more information about the VINE program, please call our office or the Office of Victim Services at the Virginia Department of Corrections (1-800-560-4292).

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Attorney General’s Notification of an Appeal

Upon request, the Attorney General’s Office will notify you if a convicted felon is granted an appeal. Their office will also provide you with the date, time, and location of any scheduled hearings and will inform you of the court’s decision. Our office can assist you in submitting this form to the Attorney General’s Office.

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All documents accessed through this web site are provided for your convenience and should be printed, filled out, and submitted to the Victim Services Unit . We are unable to accept electronic submissions of these forms at this time. If you need help filling out any of the above forms, please give our office at call at (757) 926-7443.