In each of the 21 county prosecutors’ offices there is an office of Victim-Witness Advocacy. The job of each office is to help crime victims and to make sure all of the victims’ rights are met. These offices are staffed with trained professionals who are Victim-Witness Advocates. Listed below are some of the services offered to victims of crime by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office of the Victim-Witness Unit.
- Provide information about the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems
- Provide information on the status and disposition of the case in which you are involved
- Assist with crisis intervention
- Provide transportation if subpoenaed to appear in court
- Provide a secure waiting area before and after court appearance
- Assist with the return of property held in evidence when possible
- Assist with completing and providing a Victim Information and Impact Statement
- Accompaniment to Grand Jury, criminal proceedings, juvenile proceedings
- Provide child care, if necessary, while you are testifying
- Assist with applications to the Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO)
- Assist in requesting restitution to be submitted to the court
- Provide employer, school and creditor letters for court attendance
- Provide counseling referrals for issues that are directly related to the crime or court appearance
- Provide referrals to social service agencies
- Assist with registration in VINE and/or Parole to receive notification when a defendant is released from custody
- Arranging for interpreting services
- Arranging for Serological Testing
Criminal Justice Orientation and Information
Victim-Witness Advocates of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Victim-Witness Unit will explain the criminal justice system so that victims and/or witnesses will know what to expect. If asked, Victim-Witness Advocates may take a victim or witness to the courtroom before the criminal proceeding or grand jury hearing so that they are familiar with what will take place at trial.
Victim Information and Impact Form
As the victim, you will have several chances to complete a Victim Information Form and Impact Form to explain how a crime affected you. The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Victim-Witness Unit will send you a Victim Information Form with the initial contact letter. Advocates are available to help you fill out the form and prepare both a written and/or verbal statement.
Counseling and Support Services
The Victim-Witness Advocates are trained to help you deal with the initial shock of the crime and the possible emotional experience often associated with crime. If you feel that you would like to talk to someone on a regular basis, the advocates can help you find a mental health counselor who may or may not charge you for services. Several county programs sponsor support groups for sexual assault victims and homicide survivors. Advocates can also refer victims with locating emergency clothing, shelters and/or local food banks.
Case Status Notification
The Victim-Witness Unit will notify victims of specific events related to their case and possible delays in proceedings. Sometimes this is done by telephone, but most often notification is done by email or mail.
You do not have to wait for the Victim-Witness Unit to contact you. If you want to know what is happening with your case, please call the Victim-Witness Unit at (732) 431-6459 and someone will assist you.
If you are called to testify, you can contact the Victim-Witness Unit to discuss possible transportation arrangements. Maintain all receipts for tolls, bus or taxi fare for possible reimbursement.
Advocates are available to assist you with navigating the criminal justice process. Advocates will offer assistance with directions, navigating through the courthouse, allow you access to a secure, private waiting area and attend proceedings with you to explain the process, as well as provide emotional support.
Victim-Witness Waiting Area
The Victim-Witness Unit provides a private and secure area where you can stay while you are waiting to go to court.
The Victim-Witness Unit can help you with caring for your children if you need to come to court. You should try to leave your children with family or friends first. This is more comfortable for your children since you may be in court all day. However, if you cannot find someone to watch your children, you should call the Victim-Witness Unit in advance to let them know you will need assistance. They will help you arrange for child care.
Financial Referrals and Assistance
Upon sentencing, restitution is the money a judge orders the defendant to pay the victim for the reimbursement of out of pocket expenses as a result of the crime. The Victim-Witness Unit can help you complete the Victim Information and Impact form along with supporting documentation for out of pocket expenses. This information will be used by the assistant prosecutor, the probation department and the judge to decide how much restitution the judge may order the defendant to pay you. You must provide documentation to support your losses and restitution cannot be ordered for an amount greater than the actual amount of losses you suffered.
Victims of Crime Compensation Office
Victims of crime in New Jersey may be able to receive monetary assistance from the NJ Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO). The VCCO can pay for lost wages, medical expenses, counseling expenses, nursing care, child care, and funeral expenses to the degree that they are not covered by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, Workers Compensation, or Charity Care. In other words, other sources of compensation must be used before VCCO can help.
The type of crimes that VCCO generally covers include assault, homicide, kidnapping, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence and other violent crimes.
Information and applications for VCCO assistance are available online at http://www.state.nj.us/victims.
You may contact VCCO at:
Victims of Crime Compensation Office
50 Park Place
Newark, New Jersey 07102
877-658-2221 or (973) 648-2107
Employer, School and/or Creditor Assistance
The Victim-Witness Unit can help you if you are having difficulty at work or school because of the crime or because you had to take time off for court. They can write letters and make phone calls explaining the need for your court appearance. They can offer guidance on how to manage creditors if you are not able to pay some bills on time as a result of the crime.
Property Return Assistance
The Victim-Witness Unit can also help you to get personal items back which were retained for evidence. Most items cannot be returned until 45 days after the conclusion of the criminal case.
VINE (Victim Information Notification Everyday)
The New Jersey VINE Service will alert you if an offender is in custody in the State of New Jersey and will give you other important information. VINE will also let you register telephone numbers or email addresses where you can be notified if an offender is released or transferred. You may contact the Victim Witness Unit for assistance with registration, contact updates, or changing your PIN. To find an offender or register with VINE you may visit, https://www.vinelink.com/#/home/site/31000
The Victim-Witness Unit is available to assist you with parole registration. If you are registered with the New Jersey State Parole Board, they will notify you when the defendant is going to be considered for parole. For more information regarding the New Jersey State Parole, please visit, http://www.state.nj.us/parole/
Serological Testing for AIDS/HIV
If you came in contact with any bodily fluid of your attacker, such as blood, spit or semen, or if your attacker pricked you with a drug needle, you can ask the court to order the defendant to have a test for HIV or AIDS. A Victim-Witness advocate can help you. You should also call the Victim-Witness Unit or the local health department to get information about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. A victim-witness advocate can help you find a place where you can get free, confidential testing.