​​Crime victims: Know your rights

May 3, 2021

Justice scales and a gavel

​Crime has a different effect on every victim – there are no common reactions to crime and no one solution will work for all victims. But the fact is crime can change the physical, social, spiritual and financial areas of people's lives forever. Add a pandemic, and navigating an already challenging criminal justice system and accessing vital crime victim services becomes all the more difficult.

Fortunately, Minnesota provides crime victims with important rights as their case moves through the criminal justice system: notification, participation, protection and compensation. For example, as the victim of a crime, you have the right to be notified of your rights and the prosecution process. You have the right to participate in the prosecution of the perpetrator by providing input and informing the judge of the impact of the crime at key hearings. You have the right to ask for protections, such as having your identity withheld from the public in police reports and keeping your home address and phone number confidential in open court. And you have the right to apply for financial compensation for losses related to the crime.

Even getting to know your rights can be an overwhelming process, so if you're a crime victim, you don't have to go it alone. You can connect to a service provider in your community by visiting the Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs Services and Resources page. This help extends to culturally relevant resources for historically underserved groups, who are often overrepresented as crime victims. Having this support during the process can take away some of the fear and uncertainty that comes with being a crime victim.

Additionally, the Crime Victim Reparations Program provides financial help to victims and their families for losses experienced as a result of the crime. The financial help can assist families with expenses like funeral and burial costs, medical and dental bills, mental health counseling, and crime scene cleanup. Examples of crimes covered include homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and domestic abuse. You can find details about the program and application forms on the Crime Victim Reparations Program's web page.

Being the victim of a crime can be overwhelming enough without feeling like you have to navigate the system by yourself. But you don't have to. You have rights as a crime victim, and there are service providers ready to help you understand them and begin to heal.