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Victim Information and Assistance

Being the victim of a crime is traumatic. You may feel isolated and confused, and not know where to turn for practical advice or support.  This web page highlights community resources available to assist you and explains your rights, as a victim under Arizona law.  It will help you to understand your rights, the procedures for exercising them, and who may assist you further.

Victim Assistance

Agencies and Services

Organizations such as victim assistance programs, sexual assault centers, child abuse treatment programs, support groups and domestic violence shelters are established throughout the state to help crime victims regain control over their lives.  Some of the services are listed below.  They provide emergency and long-term support to victims and their families.  Services which may be available include:

  • Emergency safe homes or shelters
  • 24-hour crisis telephone lines
  • Follow-up crisis and long-term counseling
  • Advocating for your needs and rights
  • Accompanying you to medical examinations
  • Transportation
  • Child care

For certain sexual offenses, costs for medical examinations that are done to preserve evidence may be paid for by the Prosecuting Agency.  Check with a victim/witness program advocate in your County for more information.

See “Information and Resource Numbers” for a list of the agencies that can provide victim assistance services.

Victim Compensation

If you are the victim of a violent crime or the next of kin of a victim who has died as the result of a criminal act, you may apply to the county’s Crime Victim Compensation Program to recover certain expenses.  You should file you claim in the county where the crime occurred.  Some expenses you may be able to recover include:

  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Mental health counseling
  • Lost wages
  • Funeral costs

The Crime Victim Compensation Program does not compensate for loss of property or property damage.  There are conditions which must be met to be eligible for compensation, and eligibility does not guarantee an award.  To obtain an application or receive more information on Crime Victim Compensation, contact your county Victim Compensation Coordinator (see “Information and Resource Numbers”).

Domestic Violence

If you are the victim of domestic violence, you may seek a protective order.  Orders of Protection prohibit spouses, ex-spouses, persons with a child in common or pregnant by the other person, persons living together, now or in the past, and close relatives from harming each other and/or from contacting you.  Injunctions Against Harassment can be sought when there has been a series of harassing attacks.

A petition for a protective order (available at any court) can be filed, with or without a lawyer, in and Justice, City, Superior or Tribal Court.  If you are a party in an ongoing case involving legal separation, divorce, paternity/maternity, child custody, child/spousal support, or if the juvenile defendant is under the age of twelve, you should apply to any Superior Court location.

When the court is not open, you may request and Emergency Order of Protection through a law enforcement officer.  Emergency Orders of protection are valid until the close of the next court business day.

A protective order can prohibit the abuser from:  having any contact with you and/or other persons, committing further offenses, going to your residence (even if the abuser has been living at this address), going to other locations, and/or possessing or purchasing a firearm.  If you see a protective order, you may request that your address and/or other locations are kept confidential.

There is no filing fee to request a protective order.  There is no service fee for Orders of Protection or Injunctions Against Harassment involving dating relationship.  Law Enforcement shall not require a prepayment of service fees on other injunctions.  You may request that the course waive service fees for these other injunctions.  You may have your protective order served by a private process server for a fee.

If there is a firearm present in a domestic violence matter, and a law enforcement officer determines that you or others could be exposed to serious injury or death, the firearm may be taken and held by the law enforcement agency.  To ensure that you, as the victim, are notified of the release of a firearm that has been seized, you must provide the law enforcement agency with any change of address or phone number.

Victim's Rights

As a victim of crime in Arizona, you have a Constitutional right to be treated with fairness, respect and dignity and to be free from intimidation, harassment or abuse throughout the criminal or juvenile justice process. All state, county, and municipal justice agencies and courts in Arizona are required to perform certain duties to ensure that you receive your rights.  Please carefully read the overview that follows.

Who Is a Victim For Purposes of Exercising Rights?

State law says a victim is a person against whom a criminal or juvenile offense has been committed.  This includes any felony, or any misdemeanor offense, or a sexual offense.  If a person is killed or incapacitated, the person’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, legal guardian, or other lawful representative is the victim.  Legal entities and neighborhood associations may also be victims of felony offenses, though rights for these entities are limited.  Rights do not apply if the person is in custody for an offense, or is the accused.

Requesting/Waiving Rights

Some rights are given to victims automatically and some rights need to be requested.  The law enforcement officer will provide you with a form that asks you to request or waive (decline) your rights.  You will be given a copy of the completed request/waiver form for your records.  Following is a list of the “upon request” rights that you may request or waive (these rights apply after arrest):

  • To be notified of the suspect’s release from custody (see When A Suspect is Arrested for instructions on how to exercise this right).
  • To receive a copy of the terms and conditions of release.
  • To receive notification of scheduled court proceedings.
  • To talk with a prosecutor prior to a plea, dismissal, or trial.
  • To make a Victim Impact Statement.
  • To received a copy of the pre-sentence or pre-disposition report.
  • To receive notice of a defendant’s conviction (or adjudication), acquittal, or the dismissal of the charges.
  • To receive notice of a defendant’s conviction (or adjudication), acquittal, or the dismissal of the charges.
  • To receive notice of sentencing or disposition results.
  • To have property taken ad evidence returned after the case is resolved.

Legal Entity “Upon Request” Rights

  • To receive notice of restitution and sentencing/disposition hearings, and notice of the sentencing or disposition results.

Neighborhood Association “Upon Request” Rights

  • To receive notification of scheduled court proceedings, and to make a Victim Impact Statement at sentencing/adjudication.

Your decision to request or waive your rights does not mean that you cannot change your mind later. However, if at first you waive your rights and then request them at a later time, you may be giving up some rights that only apply at certain stages of the justice process.

There are other important benefits and protections that apply to crime victims as a case process through the system.  To request a copy of the full text of Arizona’s victims’ rights laws, you may contact there Attorney General’s Office of Victim Services at (602) 542-4911 (Phoenix) or 888-377-6108 toll free.  You can also learn more about Arizona’s victims’ rights laws and available services by visiting the Arizona Attorney General web page at www.azag.gov .

Your Right To Restitution

If someone is found guilty of the crime(s) committed against you, the court may order that person to re-pay certain financial costs of your victimization.  This court-ordered payment is known as restitution.  Victims of crime have a Constitutional right to receive prompt restitution.  If charges are filed in your case, it is important that you contact the prosecutor’s Victim Services program for more information and assistance with the restitution process (see “Information and Resource Numbers” ). 

When A Suspect Is Arrested

Box 3 of the request/waiver form provides information to assist you in exercising your rights immediately following the arrest of a suspect; however, you must act quickly.

If the suspect is an adult and has been arrested, you can exercise certain rights by contacting the court prior to the Initial Appearance.  You can also exercise your right to be informed of the suspect’s release by contacting the custodial agency.

If the suspect is a juvenile and has been detained, you can obtain detention hearing information and exercise certain rights by contacting the juvenile probation department.  You can also exercise certain rights by contacting the juvenile probation department.  You can also exercise your right to be informed of the juvenile’s release by contacting the detention center.

If an adult or juvenile suspect is cited and released, or a juvenile suspect is referred to the Juvenile Court but not detained, you can exercise certain rights by contacting the court prior to the date and time that the suspect must appear.

If the arrest of a suspect is not immediate and you are not notified of an arrest within 30 days, you can call the law enforcement agency to obtain case status information.  Your employer may be legally required to allow you unpaid leave from work to attend court. Contact the prosecuting agency for more information.

Suspect Is An Adult And Has Been Arrested
Initial Appearance (Court Hearing)

Purposes:     
(1)  Determine whether to release the accused;
(2)   If the accused is released, determine the terms and conditions of release;
(3)   Set the next court date(s);
(4)   Obtain a plea from the accused (for some misdemeanor offenses)

When Held:  Within 24 hours of arrest
Location:        Court and Custodial Agency
Contact:          (see “Information and Resource Numbers” )
Your Rights:   To be present and heard at the initial appearance, and upon request, to be informed of the suspect’s release.

Suspect Is A Juvenile And Has Been Detained
Detention Hearing

Purposes:     
(1)  Determine whether to release the juvenile;
(2)   If the juvenile is released, determine the terms and conditions of release;
(3)   Obtain a plea from the juvenile (misdemeanor offenses)

When Held:    Within 24 hours of detention
Location:        Detention Screening Section, County Juvenile Probation
Contact:          (see “Information and Resource Numbers” ) 
Your Rights:   To be present and heard at the detention hearing, and, upon request, to be informed of the juvenile’s release.