Information gathered from Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority
The Illinois Constitution (Article I, Section 8.1) guarantees the certain rights for crime victims. Generally, victims have rights to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process and to obtain certain information from the criminal justice system.
The Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act (725 ILCS 120), commonly referred to as the Illinois Bill of Rights for Victims and Witnesses of Violent Crime or Victims Bill of Rights, implements, preserved, and protects those rights guaranteed by the constitution.
Any person who has been the victim of or the witness to a violent crime is covered by the Bill of Rights. This includes:
People who were injured or had their property damaged or last because of a violent crime or an attempted violent crime.
Immediate family members of homicide victims or of violent crime victims who are physically or mentally unable to exercise their rights,
Ay person who witnessed a violent crime and will testify for the prosecution at the criminal trial.
The Bill of Rights allows victims and witnesses to obtain important information at each step in the criminal justice process.
Certain rights are provided automatically to victims and witnesses. Other information is provided if the victim or witness asks for it in writing. When possible, information about a police investigation also may be provided to the victim upon request.
If you are a victim of a violent crime, you automatically have the right to:
Witnesses to a crime also have the right to be notified in advance of the date they must appear to testify and be given advance notice, when possible, of the cancellation of the court date.
Some information about your case will not be sent to you automatically, but you still have a right to know what is going on. You must ask in writing if you want:
A witness must request in writing to be notified if the offender escaped from prison and when the offender was later captured.
When a defendant is convicted of a violent crime, the Bill of Rights permits a victim to address the court on the impact of the crime.
Financial help may be available to victims of violent crime for medical expenses, counseling and losses as a result of crime. However, compensation may be reduced if you are eligible for reimbursement from any other source (except annuities, pension plans, and Social Security benefits payable to dependents of the victim). Victim compensation claims may be submitted to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
Victims and witnesses also have the responsibility to:
Use the Illinois Automated Victim Notification system. This system provides victims of crime and concerned individuals information regarding case and/ or custody status of offenses where the perpetrator has been incarcerated or charged with a crime. The toll-free, 24-hour automated telephone system provides two important services- information and notification.
To Use the Illinois Automated Victim Notification System call: