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Office of Justice Programs

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety
 

Crime Victim Justice Unit

​The Crime Victim Justice Unit (CVJU) is a crime victim rights compliance office. We seek to ensure that crime victims in Minnesota are treated appropriately and that their statutory rights are upheld. We can investigate complaints from crime victims about decisions and actions of criminal justice professionals and agencies that work with crime victims. Our goal is to promote the highest attainable standards of competence, efficiency, and justice for crime victims.

The CVJU is not a victim advocate, but an advocate for the fair and and equitable treatment of crime victims and adherence to crime victim rights.

What can the CVJU do for victims of crime? 

Scales of justice

  • Provide information about your rights as a crime victim and how to advocate for them.

  • Assist with resolving concerns and look into complaints about possible violations of crime victim rights or mistreatment.

  • Connect victims with resources and assistance.

  • Answer questions about procedures and practices of the Minnesota criminal justice process.

Basic Inquiry

For questions about your crime victim rights and available resources, or to request assistance with a concern, please complete the online inquiry form:

Click here to submit a basic inquiry to the CVJU


Filing a Complaint

Individuals interested in filing a complaint are strongly encouraged to contact us to ensure that the complaint falls within the CVJU's authority. The CVJU team may also be able to suggest steps for resolving the complaint on your own or refer you to another agency with oversight authority.

The CV​JU can 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.

If you feel that your crime victim rights have been violated or that you have been mistreated, you may submit a complaint through the CVJU on-line form.

Click here to submit a complaint to the CVJU​​

You may also submit a complaint electronically with our fillable form (use the tab keys or mouse to complete the entries). This form can also be printed, completed by hand, and sent to the CVJU by mail, fax, or email.

Click here for the fillable CVJU complaint form


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, the CVJU was created to assume the OCVO's responsibilities. The CVJU is housed within the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs. 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, working on behalf of the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, broad powers to investigate elements of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement agencies, prosecutors' offices, 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, and considers inquiries and complaints in an unbiased manner. When the CVJU uncovers problems, it seeks to work with an agency to find solutions rather than taking a punitive stance.​​

CVJU Brochure

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CVJU Main Contact Info

Main line: 651-201-7310, 800-247-0390 (answered during business hours)

CVJU Email: cvju.ojp@state.mn.us​

CVJU Staff Contact Info

Suzanne Elwell, Director, 651-263-3135, suzanne.elwell@state.mn.us

Rebecca Kutty, Investigator, 651-248-0888, rebecca.kutty@state.mn.us

Carolyn Bryant, Investigator, 651-248-3902, carolyn.bryant@state.mn.us


Other States

Click here for a roster of victim rights compliance and enforcement programs in other states.