Crime Victim Justice Unit
The Crime Victim Justice Unit (CVJU) is a victim rights compliance office. It seeks to ensure that crime victims in Minnesota are treated appropriately and that their statutory rights are upheld. The CVJU has the authority to investigate complaints from crime victims about decisions and actions of criminal justice professionals. The goal is to promote the highest attainable standards of competence, efficiency, and justice for crime victims.
Information and Referral
Assistance in Navigating the Criminal Justice System
Information about procedures and practices of all aspects of the criminal justice system.
Explanation of the roles of law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and others.
Filing a Complaint
Victims of crime who feel that their rights have been violated or that they have been mistreated by a member of the criminal justice system may contact the CVJU to request assistance or make a complaint.
Fill-in PDF form: Complete the form electronically. Use the tab keys or mouse to complete entries on the form. Print, sign, and mail, fax, or scan/email the form to the CVJU.
Form in Word: Print off and provide the requested information by typing or hand writing. Sign and mail, fax, or scan/email the form to the CVJU.
Individuals interested in filing a complaint are encouraged to contact the CVJU to ensure that the complaint falls within the CVJU's authority.
The CVJU has the authority to investigate complaints of victim mistreatment and statutory rights violations by law enforcement officers, prosecutors, probation officers, jail/correctional facilities, and organizations providing services to victims. The CVJU does not have the authority to investigate judges.
Resolving Complaints on Your Own
The CVJU encourages victims to first take steps to resolve the complaint on their own before submitting a complaint.
History of the CVJU
The CVJU has its roots in the Office of Crime Victims Ombudsman (OCVO), which was created in 1985 with the mission to investigate complaints of statutory victim rights violations and victim mistreatment. It was the first such office in the country. In 2003, as part of a statewide reorganization, OCVO’s responsibilities were assumed by the CVJU, a unit of the Office of Justice Programs in the Department of Public Safety. Minnesota remains one of a handful of states with a formalized victim rights compliance office.
The CVJU derives its authority specifically from Minnesota Statutes sections 611A.72-74. This statute gives the CVJU, through the commissioner of Public Safety, broad powers to investigate “elements” of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, probation departments, court administration, and victim advocacy programs.
Although Minnesota’s compliance effort no longer carries the title of ombudsman, it operates under the same principles. That is, the CVJU provides an avenue of redress for citizens to complain about their government. When conducting investigations into victim complaints, the CVJU takes a neutral role. The CVJU is not an advocate for the victim or a defender of the criminal justice system, but is an advocate for fairness. When the CVJU uncovers problems, it seeks to work with an agency to find solutions rather than taking a punitive stance.
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Click here for a roster of victim rights compliance and enforcement programs in other states.