Victim Bill of Rights
The Massachusetts Victim Bill of Rights (M.G.L. c. 258B) provides the following rights and services to crime victims and survivors in order to ensure a meaningful role for them in the criminal justice system. While the Bill of Rights applies to all crimes, victims and survivors of violent crimes are given priority status for services.
The following is a list of some of the Victim's Rights:
The Right to be Informed about Victim Rights and Services in the Criminal Justice System:
You have the right to be informed of how a criminal case progresses through the system, what your role is in the process, what will be expected of you, and why.
You have the right to be informed of rights and services available to victims in the criminal justice system.
You have the right to assistance in applying for social services, financial assistance and certification to receive information about an offender.
The Right to Receive Specific Information about the Criminal Case Involving You:
You have the right to be updated on significant developments in the case.
You have the right to be notified in a timely manner of any changes in schedule for court appearances for which you have been ordered to appear.
You have the right to be notified of the final disposition of the case, including an explanation of the type of sentence imposed and a copy of the conditions of probation, if any.
You have the right to be notified by the offender's supervising probation officer whenever that offender seeks to change a restitution order.
The Right to be Notified of an Offender's Release or Status While in Custody:
Upon request, you have the right to advance notification whenever the offender is moved to a less secure correction facility.
Upon request, you have the right to advance notification whenever the offender receives a temporary, provisional or final release from custody.
Upon request, you have the right to immediate notification whenever the offender escapes from custody.
You have the right to be informed by the Parole Board of the offender's parole eligibility.
If eligible, you have the right to obtain additional information about the offender, such as a criminal record or the offender's compliance with the terms of a sentence.
The Right to Other Protections in the Criminal Justice System:
You have the right to request confidentiality during the court proceedings for yourself and family members on personal information such as home address, telephone number, school and place of employment.
You have the right to certain protections by law enforcement from harm or threats of harm caused by your cooperation with the court process.
You have the right to be provided with a safe and secure waiting area, which is separate from the defendant and the defendant's family during court proceedings.
You have the right to a prompt disposition of the criminal case involving you.
You have the right to refuse or agree to participate in interviews with the defense team before trial, or to set reasonable conditions on the conduct of any such interview if you choose to be interviewed.
You have the right to request intercession by the prosecutor's office with your employers or creditors if the crime or your involvement in the court process causes problems in meeting work or payment obligations.
If you are a survivor of a homicide victim, you have the right to bring a small picture of your loved one into the courtroom.
You have the right to receive referrals for assistance to statewide resources and local social service agencies.
You have the right to have property seized as evidence returned to you as soon as possible once it is no longer needed for law enforcement purposes.