Dependent Victims Bill of Rights
The King County Prosecutor’s Office will make reasonable efforts to ensure that dependent victims and witnesses are afforded the following rights:
- To have all proceedings explained in language which can be easily understood by the dependent person.
- With respect to dependent victims of sex or violent crimes, to have a crime victim advocate from a crime victim/witness program present at any prosecutorial or defense interviews with the victim. This subsection applies if practical and if the presence of the crime victim advocate does not cause any unnecessary delay in the investigation or prosecution of the case. The role of the crime victim advocate is to provide emotional support to the victim and to promote the dependent person’s feelings of security and safety.
- To have, whenever practical, a secure waiting area provided for the dependent person during court proceedings and to have a support person stay with the dependent person.
- To allow an advocate to make recommendations to the prosecuting attorney about the dependent person’s ability to cooperate with the prosecution and the potential effects of prosecution upon the dependent person.
- To allow an advocate to inform the court about the dependent person’s ability to understand the nature of the proceedings.
- To be provided information and referrals to agencies to assist the dependent person in dealing with the emotional impact of the crime and the legal proceedings.
- To allow an advocate to be present in court to provide emotional support to the dependent person during testimony.
- To inform the court as to the need to have other supportive persons present during the dependent person’s testimony.
- To allow law enforcement agencies to enlist the services of other professional personnel such as victim advocates or prosecutorial staff trained to interview dependent persons.
With respect to dependent victims of sex or violent crimes, to receive either directly or through the dependent person’s legal guardian, if appropriate, at the time of reporting the crime to law enforcement officials, a written statement of the rights of dependent persons. The statement may be paraphrased to make it more easily understood. The written statement shall include the name, address, and telephone number of a county or local crime/victim/witness program, if such a crime victim/witness program exists in the county.
Any party may request a preliminary hearing for the purpose of establishing accommodations for the dependent person consistent with their rights.
Photo by Ted Van Pelt, courtesy of Creative Commons.