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Your rights and responsibilities as a crime victim

If you have been a victim of any of the crimes listed below (or, in the case of a murder, if a member of your family has been killed), Ohio law gives you a variety of specific rights before, during, and after the trial or juvenile proceeding.

  • Any felonious crime (i.e. murder, rape, kidnapping, felonious assault)

  • Aggravated menacing

  • Assault

  • Domestic violence

  • Intimidation of crime victim or witness

  • Menacing

  • Menacing by stalking

  • Negligent homicide

  • Vehicular homicide

  • Sexual imposition

For more information, see Picking Up the Pieces: Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Crime Victim published by the Ohio Attorney General's Office 

[See Ohio Revised Code Section 2950.01 (A)]


For more information on crime victim rights, visit

The proposed amendment is now pending before 113th congress (2013-2014) as house joint resolution 40.



MAY 9, 2002

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I am pleased to testify about my passionate desire to see H.J.R. 91 enacted as the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution. I have been Director for 17 years of a non-profit crime victim assistance program serving all types of victims with a Restorative Justice philosophy, and I helped draft Ohio’s Victims Rights Law and Constitutional Amendment. I am convinced that only a federal Victim Rights Amendment will cause essential victim rights to be meaningful, permanent, consistent, and accessible.

1. Right to Receive Information about Your Rights as a Crime Victim

The law enforcement agency investigating the crime and the local prosecutor are both responsible for providing you with the booklet Picking up the Pieces, upon their first contact with you. This is to ensure that you are aware of your rights as a crime victim. The law enforcement agency will also be providing you with important information about what is available in your area to further assist you in obtaining medical care, counseling, housing, emergency services, and other types of assistance. (ORC 2930.04]

2. Right to Appoint a Representative

As a crime victim, you may authorize a member of your family or another person to act as your representative during criminal or juvenile justice proceedings. Also, someone may act as a representative if the victim is a minor, incapacitated, incompetent, or deceased. This allows a family member, or another person whom you have chosen, to participate in the criminal justice system on your behalf and with the same rights you would have.

After being notified of who the authorized representative is, the prosecutor or the court must provide notices only to the representative. All rights by law for the victim must then be requested by the representative. [ORC 2930.02]

3. Right to Receive Current Information about the Criminal Investigation

As soon as practicable after its initial contact with you, the law enforcement agency conducting the criminal investigation must provide you with the following:

Business telephone number of the law enforcement officer assigned to investigate your case.

Office address and business telephone number of the prosecutor that is assigned to the case. [ORC 2930.04(B)]

4. Right to Be Notified When the Offender is Arrested or Released Before Trial

Law enforcement officials must notify you, within a reasonable time after the offender's arrest or detention, with the following information:

Name of the person(s) arrested, now called the defendant, if an adult, or alleged juvenile offender, if a juvenile.

Whether the defendant or alleged juvenile offender is eligible for pretrial release.

The telephone number of the law enforcement agency.

A telephone number to call to inquire if the defendant or alleged juvenile offender has been released.

If the prosecutor is notified that the defendant or alleged juvenile offender has committed or threatened to commit one or more acts of violence or intimidation against the victim, victim's family, or the victim's representative, the prosecutor may file a motion asking the court to reconsider the conditions of the bond or personal recognizance granted to the defendant, or to consider returned the defendant or alleged juvenile offender to incarceration or detention. [ORC 2930.05]

5. Right to Reasonable Return of Property

If your property has been taken as evidence, it will be safely held until it is no longer needed as evidence. Property seized as evidence may be released by the prosecutor or by the court hearing the criminal case against the defendant or alleged juvenile offender. In some cases, the property can be photographed by the law enforcement agency and returned to the owner. If the property is identified as being needed as evidence for the defense of the offender, it will be retained by law enforcement until the court can make a decision about its release, taking into account the victim's need for the property and the defendant's alleged juvenile offender's claim that the property is needed as evidence. [ORC 2930.11; 2933.41]

6. Right to Information From, and Meaningful Discussions With, the Prosecutor

The local prosecutor will notify you either verbally or in writing of the status of the case. If the juvenile court disposes of a case prior to the prosecutor's involvement, the court will notify the victim.

Additionally, the prosecutor or the court must confer with you, to the extent practical:

  • Before pretrial diversion is granted to the defendant or alleged juvenile offender.
  • Before amending or dismissing a charge.
  • Before agreeing to a negotiated plea.
  • Before a trial of the defendant by judge or jury or juvenile court hearing for an alleged juvenile offender.
If the prosecutor or court fails to confer with the victim regarding the above legal actions, the court, upon being notified of the failure, will note on the record the failure to confer and the reason. The failure to confer will not affect the validity of any action. [ORD 2930.06(A)]

In addition, after legal action against the offender has begun, the prosecutor or court will provide you, the extent practical, with the following:

Name of the offender, now called the defendant or alleged juvenile offender.

Name of the offense with which the defendant or alleged juvenile offender has been charged.

Case file number.

A brief explanation of the procedures involved in a criminal prosecution or delinquency proceeding.

A brief statement regarding your right to be present during all proceedings held throughout the prosecution of the defendant or alleged juvenile offender.

Procedures that can be taken if you become subject to threats or intimidation.

The name and business telephone number of the person to contact for further information regarding the criminal case.

Your right to have the victim's representation in exercising your rights and how the court decides, if necessary, who that representative will be.

Upon your request, the prosecutor or the court will provide you with a notice of any scheduled court proceedings and changes in the schedule. If you request this notification or any other notice available to you, it is important to keep the prosecutor or court informed of your address and telephone number throughout the process. [ORC 2930.06]

To the extent practicable and upon your request, the prosecutor will inform you if there is a motion, request, or agreement that will substantially delay the prosecution of the case. If you disagree with the proposed delay, the prosecutor will inform the court of your objections and the court will consider your objections prior to ruling on the motion, request, or agreement. [ORC 2930.08]

7. Right to Be Free From Intimidation

No one is permitted to threaten or intimidate you or your witnesses during any stage of the criminal justice process. A person who intimidates, threatens, or otherwise frightens you, a family member, or a witness should immediately be reported to law enforcement and can be charged with a criminal offense and prosecuted. The court can also order the person to stat away from you. The prosecutor may ask the court to refrain from identifying your address, place of employment, or similar identifying facts in the case file and during the criminal prosecution, unless it is used to identify the location of the crime. The court can order the transcript oaf the trial sealed to further protect you. [ORC 2921.04; 2945.04; 2930.07]

You may ask the prosecutor to file a motion requesting a court order to prohibit a person from intimidating you or a witness, or to prohibit a person from committing an offense against you, your ward, or your children. [ORC 2945.04]

8. Right to Meaningful Participation During the Trial

As a victim, you have the right to attend the trial and any related hearings or proceedings, excluding grand jury proceedings, unless the court finds that your exclusion is necessary to protect the defendant's or alleged juvenile offender's right to a fair trial. At your request, you may also be accompanied by a person to give you support. In an effort to prevent unwanted contact, the court, whenever possible, will provide a waiting area for the victim, the victim's representative, victim's family, and witnesses for the prosecution, that is separate from the area used by individuals attending on the defendant's or alleged juvenile offender's behalf. [ORC 2930.09 and 2930.10]

At your request, the prosecutor or the court will notify you of the outcome of the criminal or juvenile proceedings. If the offender is found guilty, the prosecutor will provide the following information:

The offenses of which the defendant or alleged juvenile offender was found to have committed.

The address and business telephone number of the probation office or other person preparing a pre-sentence or disposition investigation and victim impact statement.

Notice that you may make a statement about the impact of the offense to the person who completes a pre-sentence or disposition investigation report or to ta person who prepares the victim impact statement, and that this statement may be made available to the defendant.

Explanation of your right to make a statement about the impact of the offense at sentencing or disposition.

The date, time and location of the sentencing or dispositional hearing.

Any sentence imposed, including judicial release or modification after a defendant's or alleged juvenile offender's successful appeal. [ORC 2929.20(D); 2930.12]

9. Right to Make a Statement at Sentencing about the Impact of the Crime

A victim has a right to make a statement at sentencing or disposition in any felony criminal case or juvenile justice disposition in which the defendant or alleged juvenile offender caused, attempted to cause, threatened to cause, or created a risk of causing physical harm to him/her. In such a case, the court (prior to sentencing or disposition) shall order the preparation of a victim impact statement. The victim may provide either a written or verbal statement to the person preparing the victim impact statement and include the following information:

Explanation of the nature and extent of any physical, psychological, or emotional harm suffered by the victim as a result of the offense.

Explanation of the extent of any property damage or other economic loss suffered by the victim as a result of the offense, because the court may order the defendant or alleged juvenile offender to provider restitution for your losses.

An opinion regarding the extent to which, if any, the victim needs restitution for harm caused by the defendant or alleged juvenile offender as a result of the offense, and information about whether the victim has applied for or received any compensation for loss or damage caused by the crime.

A recommendation for an appropriate sanction for the defendant's or alleged juvenile offender's criminal or delinquent behavior.

In all criminal or juvenile cases in which a probation official or other person is preparing a pre-sentence or pre-disposition investigation report, the victim can make a statement regarding the impact of the crime and ask that a written statement be included in the report. The victim may present the statement in writing prior to the sentencing hearing and orally at the hearing. The court will take this statement into consideration after the defendant or alleged juvenile offender is convicted but before the sentence is imposed. The written statement of the victim is confidential and is not a public record. It will be shared with the defendant or alleged juvenile offender and the defense attorney, but collected upon sentencing. [ORC 2947.051; 2951.03; 2930.12; 2930.13; 2930.14]

10. Right to Participate in Criminal Proceedings Without Jeopardizing Employment Status

Ohio law prohibits employers from firing you if you miss work to attend a grand jury, delinquency, or criminal proceeding that you are subpoenaed to attend. Your employer is not required to pay you for time you didn't work. However, if you are subpoenaed because of a crime that happened at work or if the accused is your employer, your employer cannot decrease or withhold your pay when you miss work to obey the subpoena. In addition, you cannot be discharged, disciplined, or retaliated against for participating, or the prosecutor's request, in the preparation of the criminal case against the offender. An employer can be found in contempt of court for taking such action. [ORC 2151.211; 2939.121; 2945.451; 2930.18]

11. Right to Receive Notice if Violent Offender Escapes Custody before Trial or Sentencing

If a person indicted or charged with an offense of violence escapes custody before trial or sentencing, the county prosecutor will notify you.

12. Right to Receive Information After Sentencing

Upon your, request, the prosecutor will notify you promptly after sentencing of the defendant's:

  • Term of incarceration or commitment.
  • The name of the agency that has custody of the defendant.
  • The defendant's or alleged juvenile offender's expected date of release.
Additionally, upon your request, the prosecutor will notify you of any motions for early release or motions for modification of the offender's sentence. This includes notice of the offender's filing of an appeal of the sentence or disposition. If an appeal is filed, the prosecutor will provide the following information:

A brief explanation of the appellate process and possible disposition of the case.

Whether the defendant or alleged juvenile offender has been released on bail or recognizance pending the outcome of the appeal.

The time, place, and location of the appeal hearing and any changes in the schedule or location.

The result of the appeal.

If the case, upon appeal, is returned to the trial or juvenile court, the victim is returned to the trial or juvenile court, the victim retains all rights previously available in the original court. [ORC 2930.15] When these legal actions are considered by the court, you will be permitted to make an additional statement concerning the effects of the crime and your opinion on whether or not the defendant or alleged juvenile offender should be released.

13. Right to Information and Input about Defendant's Incarceration and Parole Status

It is your responsibility to keep the agency that has custody of the defendant informed of your current address and telephone number if you want to receive notices from that agency. [ORC 2930.16; 5139.56 (HB10} Once you are registered in their notification system, the custodial agency will keep you informed of:

Your right to submit a statement prior to a decision to grant parole, furlough, pardon, transitional control, post-release control, commutation of sentence or other form of release.

Notice if the offender is permitted to serve a portion of the sentence as a period of electronically monitored early release.

The offender's escape from custody or absence from a mental retardation, or developmental disabilities facility, and additional notice when the offender is returned to custody or the facility.

The death of the defendant or alleged juvenile offender.

The offender's release and conditions of the release [ORC 109.42 (SB 111); 2151.38 (HB 1), 2929.20; 2930.17; 2967.12; 2967.26; 2967.27; 5120.073; 5139.561 (HB 1)]

Questions or concerns about the status of a defendant under the custody of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction should be directed to:

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
Office of Victim Services
770 W. Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43229
1-888-842-8464 (toll-free) or 614-728-1976

Questions or concerns about the status of an alleged juvenile offender under the custody of the Ohio Department of Youth Services should be directed:

Department of Youth Services
Office of Victim Services
51 N. High Street-8th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
1-800-872-3132 (toll-free) or 614-644-6416

To receive notification regarding an offender in Ohio, see the information on the VINE System (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) at 1-800-770-0192 or visit

14. Rights After Being Victimized By a Juvenile Offender

If you have been victimized by a juvenile offender who has been found to be delinquent by a judge or magistrate, you have the following additional rights:

The juvenile court will notify you and all victims of your right to recover damages. [ORC § 2151.355(F) (G)]

You can file a civil action to recover $10,000 or less and costs from the delinquent child's parents for willful and malicious assault, willful damage to property, or damage due to a theft offense. [ORC § 3109.09; 3109.10]

The juvenile court will notify you and all other victims of their rights to file an application with the Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Program. [ORC 2151.355(F){a)]

The court will order the preparation of a victim impact statement if the crime is classified as a felony. [ORC 2151.355(G) (H) (HB 3)]

The court may require the parent or custodian of a juvenile to post a bond to ensure the faithful discharge of the conditions of the juvenile's probation. The bond may be forfeited by the court to pay damages caused by a child when the delinquency of the child or child's violation of probation is found to be proximately caused by the failure of the child's parent or custodian to subject the child to reasonable parental authority or to Faithfully discharge the conditions of probation. [ORC 215J.411]

The court may impose the following punishments if the juvenile offender is found to be delinquent:

The court may order the child to pay you for damaged property or for the value of stolen property. You could be paid in cash or through labor that equals the value of the property that was damaged or stolen.

The court may order the child to perform community service work.

The court may place the child on probation.

The court may commit the child to the temporary custody of an institution or facility, camp, or school.

The court may order the child be place3d in the custody of the Ohio Department of Youth Services.

The court may impose a fine.

The court may impose a period of electronically monitored house detention.

The court may order or impose any or all of the above-mentioned consequences. [ORD 2151.355]

15. Right To Request An Anti-Stalking Protection Order

If anyone makes you believe you will be physically harmed or causes you mental distress, that person can be charged with menacing by stalking; however, the offender must exhibit this behavior at least twice in a short period of time. After the charge of menacing by stalking has been filed, you may request the court to issue an anti-stalking protection order. Under a different law, a person who comes onto your property in order to make you believe that you will be physically harmed or to actually harm you can be charged with aggravated trespassing. [ORD 2903.211; 2903.213; 2903.214; 2911.211]

16. Special Rights of Victims Of Sexual Abuse

Sexual assault and rape are violent crimes that often leave victims feeling alone and frightened. Sexually violent crimes are difficult, in part, because victims must discuss very intimate details of the crime. Knowing what may happen ahead of time can often reduce anxiety and help you get through the process more comfortably.

The following are the most commonly asked questions regarding sexual assault.

Who Will Pay My Medical Expenses?
If medical personnel conduct an examination for the purpose of gathering evidence, The Crime Victims Reparations Fund will pay for it, including any associated laboratory tests and antibiotics administered as part of the examination. The hospital will bill the Attorney General directly for the cost of the examination and the bill well be paid by the Attorney General regardless of whether you report the crime to law enforcement. You or your insurance company will be responsible for any additional medical treatment you receive. You may be eligible for compensation for expenses not covered by insurance or other sources through the Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Program.

Is there mandatory testing of the offender for sexually transmitted diseases?
Yes. Upon the request of the prosecutor or victim, the law enforcement agency or court with authority will require the alleged offender to be examined for sexually transmitted diseases. [ORC 2907.27]

Will I find out if the offender has any sexually transmitted disease?
Yes. The law enforcement agency will notify you if the alleged offender has any sexually transmitted disease. The results of an examination of the alleged offender for the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) will be given to the court and the court will notify you that the results are available if you ask to see them. If the offender is a child, a probation officer will notify you of any detected sexually transmitted diseases. [ORC 2151.14; 2907.27; 2907.30]

Will my name be given to the news media?
You have the right to ask the judge to order that no information on the police report be released. All names and details will remain confidential until after a preliminary hearing or an arraignment, or until the case is dismissed. The agencies involved, including the media, have adopted policies that may prevent revealing your identity. [ORC 2907.11]

How much of my personal history will be made public during the trial of the offender?
Only the judge can determine whether or not you will have to answer questions about your personal sexual history. The judge will make that decision before such questions are asked in open court. [ORC 2907.02 (D)(E)(F)]

Can I be notified of the location, including the street address and city, of the offender that committed the crime against me?
A victim of the following offenses may have a specific right to the notification of the offender's residential location:

  • Aggravated Murder
  • Murder
  • Felonious Assault
  • Involuntary Manslaughter
  • Kidnapping, Abduction
  • Unlawful Restraint
  • Criminal Child Enticement
  • Rape
  • Sexual Battery
  • Corruption of a Minor
  • Gross Sexual Imposition
  • Felonious Sexual Penetration
  • Compelling Prostitution
  • Pandering Obscenity Involving a Minor
  • Pandering Sexually Oriented Matter Involving a Minor
  • Illegal Use of a Minor Nudity-Oriented Material or Performance
  • Endangering Children
Under Ohio law, if an adult offender is found to be guilty of a sexually oriented offense, and if the offender has been determined to be a habitual sex offender, or a sexually violent predator by a court, the offender upon release from incarceration must register with the Attorney General's Office. After the released offender has registered, the office will notify the county sheriff that the offender is residing in that county. Upon the request of the victim to the Attorney General's Office, the sheriff of the county where the offender is located will notify the victim of the name and address of the offender within 72 hours of the offender's registration . In addition, the victim will be notified of any other relocations or known additional addresses of the offender. If the victim of a sexually violent predator or habitual sex offender desires to discontinue the notification, the victim must provide the sheriff with a written request. [ORC 2950.10 (A)]

17. Special Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence

When a loved one hurts you, it can be embarrassing, confusing, and sometimes life-threatening. No one has the right to hurt you, your children, or another family member. You have a right to be safe from harm. Getting help is the first step toward a safe future. This section reviews information that may be helpful if you have been a victim of domestic violence.

Is Domestic Violence Considered a Crime?
Yes. In Ohio, it is a crime to harm or threaten to harm a spouse or a person living as a spouse, former spouse, child or sibling, parent or person with whom you have a child. If you are the victim of such threats or abuse, you or a local law enforcement officer or prosecutor may file a domestic violence charge. After a domestic violence charge is filed, you or the officer may also ask the court to issue a Temporary Protection Order. A Temporary Protection Order may be issued by a judge in a criminal domestic violence case to order the defendant to stay away from you while the criminal charge is pending. If you have to go to court for a hearing in a criminal case, you have the right to be accompanied by a victim advocate. Check with your local prosecutor's office or domestic violence shelter to find out how to contact an advocate in your area. [ORC 2919.25; 2919026; 3113.31]

What Can I do to Protect My Family and Myself?
Your local shelter, domestic violence advocacy program, victim witness program, or a private attorney should be able to explain all available courses of action to protect you, your family, and your possessions. Protection orders ate helpful sometimes but will not guarantee your safety. Your local domestic violence shelter should have information on developing safety plans to assist you an emergency.

Are All Protection Orders the Same?
No. There are three different kinds of protection orders.. Criminal courts can issue a Temporary Protection Order or an Anti -Stalking Protection Order depending upon the type of criminal charge and your relationship to the defendant. Civil (domestic) court can issue a Civil Protection Order (CPO).

Domestic court has the responsibility of terminating marriages, determining custody of children, and providing for a fair division of marital property. The court also has the responsibility of providing protection to victims of domestic violence. A petition for a CPO can be filed with a domestic relations court. Depending on your court, you mayor may not need an attorney to assist you in obtaining a CPO, which can last for up to five years. You also do not need to be getting a divorce to ask for a CPO. Check with the domestic relations court, shelter, or victim advocacy program in your community to find out how to obtain a CPO. [ORC § 3113.31]

Who Can Help Me With Domestic Violence Problems?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, contact a domestic violence shelter, your local police department, a victim/witness program, local advocacy program, local children's services agency, or prosecutor's office for information and advice. The Ohio Domestic Violence Network has a toll-free, 24-hour, information line to help you locate a shelter or other services in your area. Many domestic violence shelters offer counseling or support groups. In addition, most counties in Ohio have victim advocates that will assist domestic violence victims during the arrest of the offender and subsequent court proceedings.

How Can My Children Go To School If We Are In a Domestic Violence Shelter?
If you and your children are forced to leave your home and go to a domestic violence shelter, Ohio law provides that your children may attend school free of tuition in the school district where the shelter is located. [ORC § 3313.64]

18. Special Rights of Victims of Child Abuse

Children have the right to grow up free of abuse. Child abuse is a crime; however, thousands of children are physically or sexually abused in Ohio each year. Many children are reported missing due to parental kidnapping, stranger abduction, or running away. The following are answers to some of the more common questions:

What should I do if I suspect a child has been abused?
Every Ohio county has a 24-hour hotline for reporting suspected child abuse. The hotline will be answered by the children services agency or by a county department of human services, depending on the county where you're calling. Get the local number from your telephone directory or by calling directory assistance. If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call your local law enforcement agency. [ORC § 2151.421 (B)]

Do I have to give my name when I report child abuse?
In Ohio, you can report without giving your name. You should provide the child's name, address, age, parent's name, and the reason you suspect abuse. By providing this information, you help the agency locate the child quickly. An investigation is more difficult to conduct when vital information is missing. [ORC 2151.421(H)(1); 2151.421(C)]
If my child Is a victim of abuse, who will interview the child?
Staff of the children services agency, law enforcement, and if abuse has been substantiated. The prosecutor will interview the child. Many counties in Ohio combine the interview process so the child will be interviewed only once. [ORC § 2151.421(1)]

Will the family of a sexually abused child be updated on the location of a sexual offender?
It is quite possible that the child and family of a sexually abused child can be notified of the offender's release from incarceration, and the current residence of the offender. To determine whether or not you are eligible for this notification, please refer to page 26 of this booklet. [ORC 2950. 10(A)]

If my child is missing, what should I do first?
File a police report promptly, whether you believe that the child may have run away, been abducted, or taken by someone who knows the child. Be prepared to give the law enforcement agency any information you may have that will help them locate the child. The Ohio Missing Children Clearinghouse administered by the Juvenile Justice Section of the Ohio Attorney General's Office may also be of assistance to you, after contacting local law enforcement. [ORC 2901.30]

19. Rights of Victims to Offender's Movie or Book Profits

Under current Ohio law, the Ohio Court of Claims administers special accounts that hold profits from the sale of an offender's publication rights. These accounts prevent criminals from making money from their crimes by selling their stories to book publishers or filmmakers. In addition, the law prevents agents or family members of the offender from benefitting from the crime through this type of transaction. Victims of violent crimes, or their family members who meet specific conditions, should be aware that separate accounts held in the name of an offender may exist and that these funds may be available to them. [ORC 2929.25; 2969]

20. Right To Compensation For Economic Losses Resulting From Crime

In 1976, the Ohio Legislature enacted the Crime Victims Compensation Act. This law helps innocent victims of violent crime recover their economic losses suffered as a result of the crime. In 2000, SB 153 expanded benefits for some crime victims, and streamlined the application process. Victims of violent crime must apply for compensation and must meet certain eligibility requirements. This section answers some of the most commonly asked questions about crime victims compensation.

Can I get help paying bills related to my being a crime victim?
The Ohio Crime Victims Compensation Program may help you pay specific expenses that are not covered by insurance or other benefits if you are in one of the following categories:

  • A victim of violent crime [including OMVI).
  • A dependent of a deceased victim.
  • A parent or guardian of a crime victim if you are responsible for the victim's expenses.
  • Someone who has taken legal responsibility to pay the expenses incurred due to a crime. [ORC § 2743.51]
  • An immediate family member of a victim of homicide, sexual assault, domestic violence or permanent life altering condition resulting from crime.
What type of expenses will the compensation fund cover? An award may be made for:
  • All medically necessary expenses for treatment and care of the victim that are not covered by insurance.
  • Funeral expenses.
  • Loss of income.
  • Counseling costs.
  • Other costs as specified under law.
(Awards are not usually made for property loss or for pain and suffering.) [ORC § 2743.51] All payments for expenses eligible for compensation will be made directly to the service providers. If, however, at the time of applying for compensation, you have paid some or all of the expenses, you (rather than the service provider) will directly receive reimbursement for the paid expense(s). You will also receive direct payment for any unreimbursed loss of income you may have and certain other types of economic loss that you personally incur. If I am awarded money in a civil lawsuit, how will that affect my claim? If the money awarded is for expenses already reimbursed by the compensation program, you will have to pay the program back. You may be ineligible for additional payments from the program because of the earlier civil suit award. [ORC § 2743.72] When must I file an application for compensation? You must file within two years of the date the crime occurred. A juvenile victim must file an application before reaching the age of 20. [ORC § 2743.56 (C)] Can I file for compensation if the crime occurred outside Ohio? It is preferred that you file first in the state where the crime occurred. If compensation is unavailable, you may qualify for compensation under the Ohio Crime Victims Compensation Program. [ORC § 2743.51 (A)(2)] If I am not an Ohio resident, can I still file? Yes, if the crime occurred in Ohio, but only if you are a resident of the United States, or a resident of a foreign country that will compensate crime victims who are residents of Ohio. [ORC 2743.51(A)(1)] I didn't file a police report when the crime occurred. Can I still get compensation? The crime must be reported to a law enforcement agency within 72 hours after it occurs. If not reported within 72 hours, you must show a good reason for the delay. You must cooperate with the law enforcement officer or agency assigned to investigate the crime to be eligible for compensation. [ORC § 2743.60] Can my criminal record affect my eligibility to receive compensation? Yes. Anyone engaged in or convicted of violent felonious criminal activity, including drug-related offenses, 10 years before, during, or after the crime for which they seek compensation cannot benefit from Ohio's Crime Victims Compensation Program. Neither can anyone convicted of child endangering or domestic violence. When reviewing a claim, program specialists will look for evidence of felonious criminal conduct. [ORC § 2743.60 (E); 2743.60 (F)(1)(2)] How do I apply for compensation? Call the Attorney General's Crime Victims Services Section Hotline at 1-800-582-2877 or apply online by visiting Many county prosecutors and victim assistance programs also have applications available. Do I need an attorney to fill out the claim for me? An attorney can help you fill out the claim, but it is not required. An attorney cannot charge you for helping to file your application or for legal representation during the application process. The Compensation Fund will pay attorney fees related to your application. [ORC § 2743.65) What can I do if I disagree with the decision of the Attorney General? You have the right to request the Attorney General to reconsider the decision. The Attorney General will review any new information provided, and issue a final decision. You have the right to appeal the decision to the Court of Claims, if you still disagree.[ORC 2743.59(F); 2743.55(C); 2743.61] Does the death of a victim due to the crime make the application process take longer? Yes. If a victim dies because of the crime, a portion of the maximum award will be "frozen"until two years after the victim's death. This is to allow all individuals who may have expenses due to the crime the opportunity to file an application.

21. Other Assistance to Victims

In Ohio, numerous statewide organizations and local agencies exist to assist you in dealing with the emotional, financial, and legal consequences of your victimization. Most counties have a prosecutor-based victim witness program, and many have rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, child abuse treatment centers, homicide survivor support groups, and programs that help victims of drunk drivers.

You may want to contact your city or county prosecutor's office to ask if a victim assistance program operates in your area. You may also contact:

Office of the Attorney General
1-800-582-2877 or 1-877-584-2846 (877-5VICTIM)

The Identity Theft Verification Passport Program provides victims of identity theft with a way to demonstrate that their identities have been stolen and to begin rehabilitating their credit history and identifying any fraudulent criminal charges. Information about the Passport program is available by calling 888-694-3463 or visiting

The Ohio Missing Children Clearinghouse collects information about missing children in Ohio in order to assist law enforcement in their searches. The Clearinghouse issues missing child and adult alerts and works to educate the public about missing and abducted children. More information is available by calling 800-325-5604 or visiting

On April 4, 2009, Ohio's first human trafficking law went into effect, which puts tougher penalties on criminals who force women and children into involuntary servitude, prostitution or sex trafficking rings. Recent reports estimate that between 100,000-300,000 American youth are at risk of being trafficked for sex. Ohio is a recuitment, transit and destination state for victims and cases are being identified throughout the state. For more information on human trafficking contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center: A Program of the Polaris Project at 888-373-7888 or visit

Grievance procedures against an attorney

If you have a grievance or wish to file a complaint concerning misconduct against an attorney, judge or magistrate, there is a procedure to follow. Contact the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohio for the appropriate form. They are located in Columbus and can contacted by:

Phone: 614-461-0256
Toll free: 1-800-589-5256
Fax: 614-461-7205

Victim Rights Under Ohio Revised Code

For more information on crime victim rights, visit

Regarding the proposed amendment pending before
113th Congress (2013-2014) as house joint resolution 40

Statement from David L. Voth to Constitution Subcommittee to the Committee of the Judiciary



MAY 9, 2002

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I am pleased to testify about my passionate desire to see H.J.R. 91 enacted as the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution. I have been Director for 17 years of a non-profit crime victim assistance program serving all types of victims with a Restorative Justice philosophy, and I helped draft Ohio’s Victims Rights Law and Constitutional Amendment. I am convinced that only a federal Victim Rights Amendment will cause essential victim rights to be meaningful, permanent, consistent, and accessible. Victims rights must be meaningful.

When people say they believe victims should have rights, but they don’t need to be listed in the U.S. Constitution, I ask, “Which victim right is not important enough to protect?”

Which victims’ rights should a government official have the power to grant or withhold when you are raped? Should a government official be allowed to deny change of plea schedule information to a grieving mother of a murdered child seeking justice for the most traumatic and evil event in her life? Should the government be allowed to disregard the safety of a domestic violence or stalking victim when making release decisions, or to disregard the impact of months and years of delays on a sexually assaulted child? Should a permanently disabled drunk driving victim have a right to be heard no matter who the prosecutor is or in which state the crime happened? Should restitution for victims be requested by prosecutors and ordered by judges? For victims’ rights to be meaningful they must be articulated in our Constitution.

Victims rights must be permanent.

Our founding fathers presumed rights for victims. They were able to hire a constable and prosecutor to seek justice, but now victims are at the mercy of the government which exclusively operates this process. Victims should not control or veto investigations, arrests, or the court sentence. Neither should victims be ignored. The middle ground between victim control and ignoring the

concerns of victims is the point of this amendment. Many victims tell me, “I felt treated like the criminal!,” and I respond, “I know what you mean, but I wish you were treated as well as the criminal.” The void of victim protections has been periodically considered and changed by court rules, legislation, and state constitutional amendments. The only enduring solution for victims’ rights is to delineate them in our national charter.

Victims rights must be consistent.

The ragged patchwork of victim rights provisions is not fair or respectful to citizens who call police and are willing to testify in order to hold law breakers accountable. Even federal victim rights laws only apply to victims in federal crimes, leaving out 98% of America’s crime victims. An average of 50% of victims say they would not report the same crime again because of how poorly they were treated. Americans deserve a core of consistent rights, upon which the states may add.

I think Judge Randall Basinger, a respected judge in Putnam County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court, and instructor of Constitutional Law at Bluffton College, spoke for all judges when he noted that a Victim Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would result in more uniform victims rights in courts across the nation and more systemic balancing with similar defendants rights.

Prosecutors and judges should not differ so widely in implementing similar victims rights. Courts should not ignore victims’ rights just because they fear violating defendants rights. Courts allow the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial to be routinely abused as a ploy to exclude victims by simply handing them a subpoena as a potential witness. Defendants have a right to a “public” trial, not a private one, and a right to “confront” witnesses, not to exclude them. Only with a floor of rights in the Victims Rights Amendment will courts be able to consistently balance defendants’ interest in avoiding a speedy trial with the victims “interest in avoiding unreasonable delay.”

Victims rights should be accessible.

The Amendment provides legal standing to be heard, now lacking in the patchwork of rights and remedies across this nation. Without the right of victims to ask for enforcement of their rights, the Amendment is a beautiful rescue buoy thrown just out of reach of the victim. Citizens should not have to turn over to the government all their interests in such personal and pivotal proceedings without some “due process” for their concerns.

In conclusion, the right of victims to have a voice in the justice process is an American justice value which was assumed by our Constitutional authors, but is now twisted in a practice of pre-emptive defendant rights over disjointed victim rights. Victims should have Constitutional status for their essential rights to be meaningful, permanent, consistent, and accessible.
David Voth
Crime Victim Services
Web site:
Tel: 419-222-8666

Why do we need a U.S. Constitutional Amendment protecting crime victims' rights?

It's a Matter of Fundamental Rights. When someone becomes a victim of crime, that person has fundamental interests in the proceedings against the perpetrator. In the criminal justice context, all affected individuals except the victims (e.g. offenders, the public, the media), are afforded some basic constitutional rights. In this way, the crime victims' rights amendment will do no more than secure for crime victims the same type of rights that are secured for others elsewhere in the Constitution.

Uniformity- Victims' Rights Shouldn't Depend on Which Side of the State Line a Crime Occurred. While states have made progress in terms of treating victims with respect and dignity in the criminal justice process, the result has been a patchwork of rights. As it currently stands, victims' fundamental rights to participate vary widely across the states, between the states and federal level, and between criminal, military and juvenile courts. Just as there is a national platform of rights for criminal defendants, so too should there be for the victims of crime. This cannot happen until we amend the Constitution to provide for crime victims' basic rights.

Statutes Are Insufficient to Protect Victims' Rights. Studies have demonstrated that even though every state has enacted statutes designed to protect victims' rights, these rights are often ignored or violated. The most recent study, funded by the National Institute of Justice, found that even in states with strong victims' rights laws, only about half of all victims surveyed were notified of plea negotiations, and only half of the victims surveyed were notified of sentencing hearings, notice that is essential if victims are to exercise theirs rights to attend and be heard at these proceedings.

State Constitutional Amendments Are Also Insufficient. Until victims' rights are recognized in the Constitution, their rights will always be subordinate. As it stands, when confronted with a need to reconcile the constitutional rights of a defendant with a statutory right of a crime victim, judges often find it much easier to simply ignore the legitimate interests of the victim. By contrast, when other competing constitutional rights come up against each other- such as the media's right to freedom of the press with a defendant's right to a fair trial- the court has discretion to craft a balance appropriate to the case. The amendment would require courts to engage in this careful and conscientious process to determine whether a particular victim's participatory right would indeed violate the defendant's rights.

Victims' Rights Serve the Interests of Justice. To operate effectively, the criminal justice system is dependent on the participation of victims to report crime committed against them, to cooperate with law enforcement authorities investigating those crimes, and to provide evidence at trial. Victims are much more likely to cooperate fully with this process if they know they will be treated with dignity and that their rights will be respected. Protecting victims' rights will make the system function more smoothly, and increase both the victim's and the public's faith in the administration of justice in America.