Victim / Witness Assistance Program

Victim and Witness Assistance Program


The Charlottesville Victim/Witness Assistance Program is designed to ensure that victims and witnesses of criminal offenses will receive fair and compassionate treatment throughout the judicial process.

Crime Victim & Witness Rights

As a victim or witness of crime, you have certain rights under Virginia’s Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act. As a victim of a crime, you may be entitled to the following information:

Information About

  • Your rights as a victim/witness of a crime
  • The criminal justice process and your role as a victim/witness
  • Protective orders and other forms of protection
  • How to obtain a warrant if one has not been issued
  • Financial assistance, including the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund and restitution
  • Address and telephone confidentiality
  • Availability of separate waiting areas during court proceedings

Notification of

  • Changes in court dates
  • Significant developments in a case such as possible plea offers
  • The defendant’s custody status and bond conditions if released from jail
  • Opportunity to prepare a written Victim Impact Statement prior to sentencing of a defendant

Assistance with

  • Obtaining a protective order and other forms of protection
  • Filling out forms for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund
  • Referrals to local resources
  • Understanding a defendant’s bond conditions
  • Receiving intercession services with your employer
  • Receiving the services of an interpreter


Threatening a victim or a witness is a crime in Virginia. If you are threatened by the defendant or anyone else in regard to your testimony, call your local police department immediately and notify the Victim/Witness Program at 434-970-3176.


  • If you are subpoenaed, we can help you with understanding;
  • The requirements of a subpoena and testifying in court; interceding with your employer if you are having difficulty taking off work to attend court.

Tips on Testifying

  • Be Prepared: Try to recall what happened and picture the scene and the objects there. Don’t try to memorize your testimony; simply tell what happened in your own words.
  • Speak Clearly and Loudly: If you did not hear the question or understand it, ask the attorney to repeat it.
  • Answer Only the Question Asked of You: Stop immediately if the judge interrupts or an attorney objects to a question.
  • Do Not Guess or Speculate: If you don’t know the answer, say so. If you give an estimate of time or distance, be sure everyone knows you’re estimating.
  • Tell The Truth: Don’t pause to try and figure out if your answer will hurt or help the case. Just answer to the best of your recollection.
  • Be Courteous: Try to remain calm and do not lose your temper. Always be polite.
  • Dress For Court: Dress comfortably and appropriately (shorts, t-shirts are not good choices however, it is not necessary to dress in a suit). It is often cold in the courtrooms so you may want to bring a sweater with you.