OJP Logo

Office of Justice Programs

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Resolving Complaint On Your Own

Strategies Before Filing a Complaint With the Crime Victim Justice Unit.

A difference of opinion or misunderstanding is often resolved by taking the time to talk and listen. Here are some basic steps you can take to address problems and concerns with an individual or agency:

Read everything sent to you

Review the documents given or sent to you by police, prosecutors, probation officers, or the court. If you do not understand the document, contact the agency that sent it.

Ask questions

If you do not understand why something happened, ask for an explanation. Do not be afraid to ask about the relevant rules, policies, or laws.

Keep records

Relying on memory is not always the best method of recordkeeping. Take notes of conversations, ask for the names and titles of people you speak to, and keep copies of all correspondence.

Prepare yourself

Before calling an agency, review any documents and have your questions ready. When emailing, keep your email brief and organized, using bullet points for easy reading. Avoid extensive attachments. In your communications, be clear about the questions you are asking and what you want.

Leave messages

Remember that people may not be able to respond to you right away. For voicemails, leave a complete message about why you are calling along with your contact information and a good time to reach you. For emails, allow several business days for a response before resending your email or contacting someone else at the agency. With a prosecutor’s office, it is often easier to contact the victim advocate (if there is one) rather than the attorney in charge of the case.

Go through standard complaint procedures

Victims of crime with complaints have the option of relying on routine complaint methods. The most common method is to go through the chain of command and ask to speak to the person’s supervisor. In addition, law enforcement agencies in Minnesota are required to have a citizen complaint procedure. In some jurisdictions, that procedure is posted on their website and/or they may have a standard form available. In other jurisdictions, there is no standard form, and a victim must submit a complaint directly to the police chief or sheriff.

Rely on the CVJU and local advocates

CVJU staff is still available to answer questions and provide guidance about how to handle a problem with a criminal justice agency or professional. In addition, the CVJU encourages victims to rely on a local victim advocate to provide information about the case as well as explanations about the process.


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