Victim / Witness Services

The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office takes very seriously its obligations to crime victims.  The office has victim-witness coordinators whose job is to assist victims and witnesses in dealing with the stress and difficulties that come from being a victim of a crime or a witness to a crime.  Our office strives to offer the best assistance possible and works to guide individuals through the often confusing legal system as easily as possible.   Our office also closely coordinates with other victim services organizations including the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois and Call for Help, Inc. to offer the most comprehensive victim services possible.

On November 4, 2014, the Illinois Constitution was amended to include a section on Crime Victim’s Rights.  Those rights include:

  1. The right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy and to be free from harassment, intimidation, and abuse throughout the criminal justice process.
  2. The right to notice and to a hearing before a court ruling on a request for access to any of the victim's records, information, or communications which are privileged or confidential by law.
  3. The right to timely notification of all court proceedings.
  4. The right to communicate with the prosecution.
  5. The right to be heard at any post-arraignment court proceeding in which a right of the victim is at issue and any court proceeding involving a post-arraignment release decision, plea, or sentencing.
  6. The right to be notified of the conviction, the sentence, the imprisonment, and the release of the accused.
  7. The right to timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused.
  8. The right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process.
  9. The right to have the safety of the victim and the victim's family considered in denying or fixing the amount of bail, determining whether to release the defendant, and setting conditions of release after arrest and conviction.
  10. The right to be present at the trial and all other court proceedings on the same basis as the accused, unless the victim is to testify and the court determines that the victim's testimony would be materially affected if the victim hears other testimony at the trial.
  11. The right to have present at all court proceedings, subject to the rules of evidence, an advocate and other support person of the victim's choice.
  12. The right to restitution.

​Individuals who have been victims of domestic violence can seek help through the Court system.  This is called an Order of Protection.  An order of protection is a court order which restricts an abuser and only is available to family or household members, this includes people with a dating relationship.   An order of protection may:

  • prohibit the abuser from continuing threats and abuse (abuse includes physical abuse, harassment, intimidation, interference with personal liberty, or willful deprivation)
  • bar the abuser from a shared residence;
  • order the abuser to stay away from the victim and other persons protected by the order and/or bar the abuser from the victim’s work, school, or other specific locations;
  • require the abuser to attend counseling;
  • prohibit the abuser from hiding the child of the victim from the victim or taking a child out of state;
  • require the abuser to appear in court or bring a child to court;
  • give the victim temporary physical or legal possession of children;
  • specify visitation rights (if and when visitation is awarded);
  • bar the abuser from accessing child's records;
  • award certain property or bar the abuser from damaging, destroying or selling certain personal property;
  • require the abuser to pay support for minor children, require the abuser to pay for losses suffered from the abuse, and/or require the abuser to pay for victim or children's shelter or counseling services;
  • require the abuser to turn weapons over to local law enforcement; 

To obtain an Order of Protection:
Orders of protection can be applied for Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m.  to 11:00 a.m. in Courtroom 305 of the St. Clair County Courthouse, with hearings on those applications in the afternoon of the same day.  Personnel from the Violence Prevention Center and Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation are present in that courtroom to assist people in filling out the necessary paperwork.

Additional Resources:

The Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois:
For more than 30 years the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois has been dedicated to providing comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence and their children. The Center provides free, confidential services to St. Clair, Monroe and Randolph Counties in southwestern Illinois.
http://www.vpcswi.org/
24 Hour Hotline: 618-235-0892

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation:
Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation’s mission is to provide low income and senior residents of central and southern Illinois with high quality civil legal services in order to obtain and maintain their basic human needs. Land of Lincoln’s goals in family law cases are to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and their children, from further abuse; and to achieve safety and/or stability for children in custody determinations.
http://lollaf.org/?page_id=87

Victims of sexual assault deserve prompt attention and support from law enforcement, the criminal justice system as a whole, and all available victim services resources.  If a victim knows her attacker, and the attacker is a family or household member, then the procedures outlined in the Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection section above would apply.  If the victim knows who the attacker is, but it is not someone with whom the victim has a family or household member relationship, then the victim can apply for a civil no-stalking, no-contact order also in Courtroom 305 in the same way as someone applies for an Order of Protection.  The procedures for obtaining both orders are very similar.

Additional Resources:

Call for Help, Inc.
Call for Help, Inc. helps people overcome a variety of personal crises, ranging sexual assault and poverty, to homelessness and mental illness. We change lives by giving people skills and support that empower them to overcome emotional and physical crisis.  Call for Help offers response, advocacy, and support for sexual assault victims 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
http://www.callforhelpinc.org/
24 Hour Sexual Assault Victims Care Hotline: 618-397-0975

The Crime Victim Compensation Act was established by the Illinois General Assembly in 1973 with the primary goal of helping to reduce the financial burden imposed on victims of violent crime and their families. The Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Program can provide innocent victims and their families with up to $27,000 in financial assistance for expenses accrued as a result of a violent crime.

More information, as well as downloadable resources and applications can be found at: http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/victims/cvc.html