Crime Victims

Bill of Rights

Dear New Yorkers,

Victims have rights — rights to information, notification, and in some cases compensation.

For more than 50 years, New York has worked to ensure these rights are protected. Law enforcement and prosecutors are required to make sure that victims and their families are treated fairly and respectfully during the criminal justice process. Those rights continue even after the offender is sentenced.

My office is committed to protecting the rights of crime victims and their families. This guidance highlights some of those rights, and provides information on other resources for crime victims. If you have questions about how these rights apply to you, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.

New York State Attorney General Signature
Headshot of Attorney General Letitia James

Victims have the right to:

  • Receive a free copy of the police report, even if there was no physical injury.
  • Be notified of criminal proceedings. Victims who provide a current address and telephone number to the prosecutor have the right to be notified of all of the following regarding the accused:
    • arrest
    • first appearance before a judge
    • release from jail while the criminal proceeding is pending
    • entry of a guilty plea
    • trial and sentencing
    • maximum and minimum terms of imprisonment if the offender is sentenced to prison
    • any parole hearing dates
  • Make a victim impact statement at the time of sentencing in a felony case. This statement allows victims to express and share their feelings about the crime and how the crime has affected them and their families.
  • Obtain a waiver of fees for replacing driver’s license, permit, registration, and license plates that were lost or stolen as a result of a crime.
  • Have law enforcement and the prosecutor inform employers that the criminal case may require work absences or to explain the circumstances of the crime to creditors.
  • Be free of penalty by an employer when appearing as a witness in a criminal proceeding, when consulting with prosecutors, or when exercising other rights under the law. A violation of this law by an employer is a B misdemeanor.
  • File for victim compensation and assistance with the New York State Office of Victim Services:
    • Victims suffering physical injury or relatives of murder victims are entitled to out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the crime. These expenses may include the repair or replacement of damaged property, payments for loss of earnings or support, medical and counseling bills, crime scene cleanup, or funeral expenses.
    • Crime victims may also be eligible for transportation expenses incurred for necessary court appearances.
    • Victims of kidnapping, stalking, and unlawful imprisonment may be eligible for an award to cover loss of earnings or support, unreimbursed costs for counseling, rehabilitative training, and the costs of damaged essential personal property and security devices.
    • Claims must be filed within one year of the crime or within one year of the victim’s death.
    • Victims can obtain a claim form from the police, the prosecutor, a hospital emergency room, the Office of Victim Services, or the Office of the New York State Attorney General.
    • Assistance is also available from other programs, such as rape crisis centers and domestic violence and child abuse programs. Ask the prosecutor’s office for referrals.
  • Request restitution and have the prosecutor present this request in court. A victim may ask the defendant to pay back what was lost due to the crime. The restitution amount is based on any proof a victim might have (records, receipts) of any items the victim has lost as a result of the crime. Restitution may be a part of the defendant’s sentencing.
  • Be free from intimidation, threats, or harassment. Intimidating a victim or a witness is a felony, apart from any charges the accused may already face. If a victim is threatened or their property is damaged by anyone connected to their case, the victim should contact the prosecutor’s office and law enforcement immediately. In cases involving family violence or other violence, an order of protection may be requested.
  • Receive notice of discharge, release, or escape of an offender from a correctional facility:
    • The prosecutor has a form to be completed to help victims stay informed.
    • The New York Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) system provides up-to-date information about the custody status of offenders via the telephone or internet.
    • Crime victims and other New Yorkers can call 1-888-VINE-4NY or (1-888-846-3469) or connect to to secure information about incarcerated defendants.
    • By providing an inmate’s identification number or date of birth, which can be obtained from the prosecutor, victims can learn sentencing and release information.
    • Victims may also register with VINE for automatic notification by telephone when the inmate is released.


Crime Victims Assistance

New York State Office of Victim Services 

New York State Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline 

New York State Domestic Violence Hotline 

New York State Office for the Aging Senior Citizen Hotline