Victim Assistance

Victim Rights

In Ohio, when prosecuting criminal charges, the county prosecutor must represent the interests of the citizens as a whole, not just those of the victim alone. For this reason, the victim of a crime is not legally considered to be an official party to a criminal or juvenile case. That fact, combined with the numerous constitutional and other legal rights provided to criminal defendants, occasionally results in victims of crime feeling as if they are powerless participants in the criminal justice system. In response to this, it is part of the mission of the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office to ensure that the rights of victims are also acknowledged and protected to the fullest extent possible under the law.

Article I, Section 10(a) of the Ohio Constitution provides that “[v]ictims of criminal offenses shall be accorded fairness, dignity, and respect in the criminal justice process, and, as the general assembly shall define and provide by law, shall be accorded rights to reasonable and appropriate notice, information, access, and protection and to a meaningful role in the criminal justice process.”

Chapter 2930 of the Ohio Revised Code sets forth detailed guidelines with regard to victims’ rights. In particular, victims should be aware of the following information.

  • A victim has the right to be notified of information regarding the case. In Allen County, the Crime Victim Services agency handles this victim notification. A letter including the name of the defendant or juvenile, the offense, and the case number should be sent to each victim along with a return form to request notification. It is then the responsibility of the victim to request notification, if desired, and to maintain a current address or phone number with Crime Victim Services.
  • A victim has the right to attend any hearing where the defendant or juvenile offender is present, although the victim is not required to attend unless subpoenaed as a witness.
  • The employer of a victim cannot take punitive action such as discharge or discipline against a victim for attendance at, or preparation for, court hearings. A violation of this law by an employer is contempt of court.
  • A victim has the right to ask the prosecutor to seek an order of restitution for financial loss or damage caused to the victim as a result of the crime.
  • A victim has the right to make a written statement to be presented to the court for the judge’s consideration prior to sentencing.
  • A victim also has the right to appear at a defendant’s sentencing and to give an oral victim impact statement to the court at that time.

Victim Support and Services

In Allen County, Crime Victim Services is a United Way-based victim assistance agency that provides a wealth of essential information and support to victims of crime. Crime Victim Services advocates on behalf of victims and assists in providing victims with accurate information about their rights.

Among other services, Crime Victim Services provides the following assistance:

  • accompanying victims to court
  • explaining court procedures
  • informing and updating victims on case status
  • providing emergency transportation to court
  • connecting victims with the Ohio victim compensation program
  • providing referral information for health, safety and/or counseling issues

Contact Information:

Crime Victim Services
330 North Elizabeth Street, 2nd Floor
Lima, Ohio 45801

Phone: 419-222-8666
Toll-Free: 1-877-867-7273
Fax: 419-227-7478