The Victim's Rights Law

The Victim Rights Law, M.G.L. c. 258B, provides certain rights to victims of crime, their family members and witnesses. If you are involved in the prosecution of a criminal case, it is particularly important to know and understand your rights. Victim Witness Advocates are located in each court and are available to help you understand your rights. Always be sure to provide the advocate or the prosecutor with your most current address and telephone number.

The following is a summary of rights contained in the Victim Rights Law.

Some of these rights may apply to you:

  • to be informed about the criminal case and how it progresses through the court system;
  • to receive timely notice of court dates and continuances;
  • to speak with a prosecutor about the case;
  • to be notified of the final disposition of the case and an explanation of the sentence imposed;
  • to be present at court proceedings unless you are required to testify and the judge determines your testimony might be influenced by your presence in the court;
  • to give a Victim Impact Statement prior to sentencing to inform the court of the crime's physical, emotional and financial impact on you and your opinion regarding the sentencing of the defendant;
  • to be informed of financial assistance including restitution and the Victim Compensation Program.

For more information about your rights, you can contact a Victim Witness Advocate or go to the website for the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance at: www.mass.gov/mova