In 1990, the people of Arizona voted to amend our state constitution to give rights to victims of crime. If you become a victim of a crime or you witness one, you will probably be upset, nervous and worried. You may also be confused by the legal system.
The Santa Cruz County Attorney's Office now coordinates several programs to provide assistance to victims and witnesses. We want to help you better understand how your role as a witness is a vital part of seeking justice.
The Santa Cruz County Attorney's Victim Services Program began operating in 1985. The program is designed to assure that victims and witnesses of crimes are treated with dignity and respect. Being victimized can be overwhelming, frightening and confusing. Our staff and volunteers are here to provide information, support and assistance to victims and witnesses of a crime.
The Victim Services Program provides 2 types of services:
Criminal justice system support
Victim compensation information and assistance
This service is available to assist victims and witnesses through the criminal justice system.
Case status information
Criminal justice system advocacy
Information about victim rights and responsibilities
Referrals to community agencies
Written information on the criminal justice system process and hearings
Victim compensation began in Arizona to relieve victims of some of the financial stress they experience when victimized. The State of Arizona collects fines from convicted felons to fund Victim Compensation. In Santa Cruz County, a Board comprised of five local volunteers reviews claims and disburses funds to eligible victims. Information about Victim Compensation and assistance with completing claim forms are available through the Victim Services Program. Only victims of personal or violent crimes are eligible to receive these funds.
Loss of wages
Medical / Dental expenses
Volunteers are crucial, and without them many services could not be provided. In order for the program to be successful, volunteer advocates are needed. Volunteers are extensively trained in communication skills, community resources, vicitimology, and dealing with people in crises.
Volunteer are needed to provide:
Court related services
Crisis intervention counseling
Office work and research
Referrals to the Santa Cruz County Attorney's Victim Services Program may originate from victims, law enforcement officers, prosecuting attorneys, judges and social service agencies. We encourage victims or other community members to call for information about the program. All services are free of charge.