Victim Witness Assistance Unit
Center for Child and Family Advocacy
Jane McKenzie, Director
The Victim Witness Assistance Unit was created in 1975 to provide information regarding the practices and procedures of the criminal justice system to victims and/or witnesses. The unit assists victims, witnesses, and the Assistant Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney assigned to the cases.
The Victim Witness Assistants in the Adult Criminal Division assist victims in cases where the defendant is an adult accused of certain felony crimes. These crimes include sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, stalking, homicide, and others.
The Victim Witness Assistants in the Juvenile Division assist victims in cases where the person accused of a crime is a juvenile (criminal delinquency cases). They also assist victims in cases where the offender is a parent or caretaker and the court is looking at best placement for the child (abuse, neglect and dependency).
Duties of the Victim Witness Assistant include:
- Act as support person for the victims
- Accompany victims to court proceedings
- Act as liaison between the victims and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
- Provide information to the victims about the court system and advise them of their rights
- Make referrals to social service agencies (counseling, support groups, shelters, etc.)
- Notify victims of grand jury results, trial dates, continuances, bond hearings, sentencing dates, and any other hearings
- Assist victims in preparing Victim Impact Statements
- Provide victims with information and applications for Victims of Crime Compensation; can also assist victims in completing the application
- Obtain Temporary Protection Orders (TPO) in domestic violence and stalking cases
- Provide information regarding VINE(Victim Information and Notification Everyday)- the registration system for notification of an offender's release
- Obtain medical releases, medical records, autopsy reports, birth and death certificates for court
- Coordinate scheduling of medical personnel for testimony in court hearings
- Coordinate scheduling of interpreters for non-English speaking victims/witnesses
- Operate the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) for hearing impaired victim and/or witnesses
- Prepare out-of-state subpoenas and handle travel arrangements
- Assist in relocating witnesses in gang-related cases
- Provide victims with parole board information
The Victim Witness Assistant located at the Center for Child and Family Advocacy provides on-site assistance to victims of child abuse seen at the center.
The Victim Notification staff provides services and information to other felony crime victims. Upon indictment, victims will be notified of case information. If victims request, we provide notification of trial dates, continuances, bond hearings, sentencing dates, and other hearings.
If you are a victim of a felony crime in Franklin County and you have a question about your case, please call (614)462-3555 and ask for the Victim Witness Assistance Unit.