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Victims Services

 Important Guidelines for Victims

  • Criminal cases are prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office on behalf of the People of the State of New York. Victims, therefore, do not need their own attorneys. 
  • As a witness for the State, a victim has certain responsibilities to assist with the prosecution of a criminal case. These responsibilities may include signing an affidavit and providing testimony at grand jury and at trial. 
  • A victim is under no obligation to speak about the facts of the case with anyone other than a representative of the District Attorney's Office. If someone contacts you concerning the case, make sure that you ask them to identify themselves. 
  • If you decide to answer a question, you must tell the truth. 

If others advise you not to appear in court, or if you are threatened or harassed, immediately contact law enforcement. You can also seek assistance from the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case or our victim advocate in our office by calling 315-379-2225

Crime Victims' Rights

Victims have certain rights in the criminal justice system. Depending upon the type and disposition of the case, a victim may be entitled to:   

  • Make a statement to the Department of Probation for consideration by the judge when determining the defendant's sentence. 
  • Make an oral statement to the court at the defendant's sentencing (for Felony cases only). 
  • Request that restitution be considered as part of the defendant's sentence. 
  • Be notified of the final disposition of the case. 
  • Make a written or oral statement to the New York Division of Parole for consideration when determining whether to parole an inmate from a state correctional facility.
  • Receive an automated and/or written notification of the release of an inmate from a city or state correctional facility (you must register with VINE at or by calling 1-888-846-3469 in NY State.) 
  • Protection from employer dismissal or penalties for attendance as a witness at a criminal action, as long as the employer is notified at least one day in advance. Wages, however, may be withheld for the period of time the witness attends the criminal action. 

Information for Witnesses and Victims of Domestic Violence

Every year, 6 million people nationwide are victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence can involve physical, verbal, emotional, economic, or sexual abuse. The abuser may be your husband, wife, domestic partner, parent, or child, or any other household or family member. These questions and answers will give you information on domestic violence, and tell you how the District Attorney's Office can help. 

I want the abuse to stop. What should I do?

  • First and foremost, you should call 911 for help immediately. If you are unable to do so, you should go to a police station nearest to where the abuse has occurred. You should also seek medical attention and have photographs taken of your injuries. Remember, any evidence of the abuse, such as broken furniture, a ripped telephone cord, or torn clothing is helpful in the investigation and prosecution of your case. 

My abuser has been arrested. What happens now?

  • After arrest, the abuser will appear before a judge. This process is called an arraignment. An attorney will represent the abuser, and an Assistant District Attorney will represent the People of the State of New York. The case against the abuser is brought in the name of the People of the State of New York, not your name. At arraignment, the judge can set bail, hold the abuser in jail without bail, or release the abuser who must then return to court on a future date. Usually the abuser is arraigned within 24 hours. 
  • BEWARE: The abuser may be released at any time after arraignment. 

What do you mean my abuser can be released? Don't I get any protection?

  • At arraignment, the Assistant District Attorney can ask the judge to issue an order of protection. An order of protection is a court order that can limit the abusers contact with you or can instruct the abuser to refrain from having any contact with you whatsoever. In addition, it can order him or her to refrain from certain conduct, including harassing, intimidating, threatening, assaulting, or stalking you. If the abuser violates the order of protection, he or she can be re-arrested.

  Now that I have this order of protection, how safe am I?

  • An order of protection cannot guarantee your safety. Therefore, it is important to have a safety plan. Our office can assist you in obtaining court-related information and social services to help provide for your safety and ease any emotional trauma.
    • Obtain case information
    • Arrange to speak with the Assistant District Attorney assigned to your case
    • Obtain a copy of the order of protection issued in your case
  • In addition, our office can help you obtain a variety of other services including: 
    • Referrals to battered women's shelters
    • Individual or group counseling
    • Assistance with requesting restitution
    • Advocacy with other agencies on your behalf
    • Assistance in completing and filing claims with New York State Crime Victims Board
    • Assistance with writing and submitting victim impact statements

Can you still help me, if I don't want my abuser arrested?

  • In order to proceed in Criminal Court, you must have a criminal case, and a criminal case requires an arrest. However, you also have the option to file a petition with Family Court when a family offense has been committed against you. Family Court is a civil court, and a proceeding in Family Court will not result in a criminal record for the abuser. In order to proceed in Family Court, you and the abuser must:
    • be related by blood,
    • be legally married,
    • be formerly married, or
    • have a child in common, or
    • be in an intimate relationship

New York State Domestic Abuse Hotlines

  • 1-800-942-6906, English
  • 1-800-942-6907, Spanish