Victim/Witness Important Information

The Arlington Victim/Witness Program

The Arlington Victim/Witness Program

The Arlington Victim/Witness Program is operated by the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, supported by funding through Arlington County and a grant administered by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. This program can:

  • Answer questions about the court process
  • Inform you of case status
  • Explain your rights and your role as a victim or witness
  • Offer support and crisis intervention
  • Accompany you to court
  • Help you complete a Request for Confidentiality form
  • Arrange a courtroom tour
  • Talk to your employer about time off for court proceedings
  • Help you request restitution
  • Refer you to community resources, social service agencies or counseling
  • Assist you in filling out an application for the Virginia Victims Fund
  • Guide you in preparing your Victim Impact Statement
  • Show you how to request notifications regarding the person accused of the crime
  • In most felony cases involving crimes against individuals, a Victim Specialist will be assigned to work with you throughout the criminal justice proceedings.
    • Call 703-228-4410 and ask to speak with a Victim Specialist.
    • Services are available in Spanish.


Questions?  Call the Arlington Victim/Witness Program in the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney at 703-228-4410 and ask to speak to a Victim Specialist.


Definition Of A Victim

A victim is anyone who has suffered physical, emotional or financial harm as a result of a crime. 


What Rights Do I Have As A Victim/Witness?

Crime victims and witnesses have important rights:

  • To be informed of your rights
  • To be treated with dignity, respect, and sensitivity
  • To receive authorized services and protection of privacy
  • To have the opportunity to be heard at all critical stages of the criminal justice process
  • To make the courts aware of the full impact of the crime


Confidentiality: Victims have the right to request that courts, police departments, sheriff’s offices, prosecutors, and the Department of Corrections not disclose their home address, telephone number, or place of employment.  To request confidentiality, file the form “Request for Confidentiality by Crime Victim” (DC-301) with the Court or Commonwealth’s Attorney. Ask the Victim Assistance Program or others for help with the form.



What Assistance and Services Are Available To Victims/Witnesses?

Assistance and services are available to crime victims:

  • Compensation for Victims: If you were physically injured during the crime or you are the surviving spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, or child of a victim who was killed because of a crime, then you may be compensated for certain unreimbursed losses such as loss of earnings, medical expenses, or funeral expenses. Victim/Witness Program staff can explain how to apply and assist you with the application. Victims may contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund directly by calling 800-552-4007.
  • Compensation for Witnesses: Victims and witnesses traveling from out of town may be entitled to payment for mileage, tolls, meals, and lodging for each day in court.
  • Restitution: The Court may order a defendant to repay you under certain circumstances, at least partially, for your losses.
  • Cell phone: Arlington County’s Emergency Cell Phone Program collects cell phones donated by private citizens and local businesses for use by victims of crime, primarily the elderly and victims of domestic violence and stalking. These phones can be used to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
  • Property Return: To assist in the investigation and prosecution of certain crimes, law enforcement authorities may hold your property as evidence. In some cases, evidence may be photographed and returned; in other cases it may be held until after the trial and any appeals.
  • Missed work: If you are subpoenaed to court and you give reasonable notice at your workplace, your employer may not fire you, discipline you, or require you to use vacation or sick leave in order to go to court. Employers are not, however, required to pay you for your time in court.


    Victims can be assisted with appearances in court:

  • Closed Circuit Television: To reduce the trauma experienced by child victims when they must testify, Virginia law allows the use of closed-circuit television in certain criminal proceedings. These include preliminary hearings involving alleged offenses against children aged 14 or younger in kidnapping, sexual assault or family cases.
  • Closed Preliminary Hearing: In cases of sexual assault, preliminary hearings may be closed to the public.  Speak to the prosecutor to find out if your preliminary hearing can be closed.  However, trials are open to the public.
  • Interpreters: If you cannot speak English or you are hearing impaired, a court-approved interpreter may be appointed to assist you during the criminal justice process at no cost to you.


Victim Notification

Victim Notification

Victims of crime have the right to be notified of many changes in the status of the person who caused them harm. Victims must provide contact information to be notified. Forms are available to provide a current address and telephone number. The Arlington Victim/Witness Program can help people complete forms to receive updates about:


  • Court Dates: If you wish to be notified in advance of the scheduled preliminary hearings, trials, or sentencing hearings, give the Commonwealth’s Attorney your name, current address, and telephone number.


  • Release status: You will be notified of a defendant’s release, escape, transfer, legal change of name, or discharge from custody. If the defendant is in the Arlington County Detention Facility (usually under 12 months in jail), a form must be filed with the Arlington Sheriff’s Office. If the defendant is in state prison, forms go to the Victim Services Unit of the Virginia Department of Corrections (phone 800-560-4292). Additional information may be needed, such as the prisoner’s name, date of sentencing, and type of offense.


  • Appeals to the Virginia Court of Appeals or Petitions for Writ of Habeas Corpus: As the victim in a case, you can be notified if and when an appeal to the Court of Appeals of Virginia is considered, or a when a habeas corpus petition has been filed. Send the Victim Information Sheet (Spanish) to the Victim Notification Program in the Virginia Office of the Attorney General. Or you may contact the Attorney General’s Office by telephone at 804-371-7763 or 800-370-0459.