Victim's Rights

A victim of crime has the right to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect throughout the criminal justice process.

The state of Indiana also provides for the right to:

  • Be notified of the time and place of all court proceedings and to be present (except where the law forbids it)
  • Be informed of his or her constitutional and statutory rights as a victim
  • Be informed (upon request) if the offender is released from custody or has escaped
  • Confer with the prosecutor's office before the accused is charged, before the trial, and before any sentencing in the criminal case
  • Have his or her safety taken into consideration in determining release from custody of the accused
  • Be heard at any hearing involving sentencing or post conviction release from custody of a convicted offender
  • Make a written or oral Victim Impact Statement to be included in the pre-sentence report
  • Pursue restitution and other civil remedies against the person convicted of a crime against him or her
  • Be given information (upon request) about the outcome of the criminal case involving the victim, and to be given information about the conviction, sentence or release of a person accused of committing a crime against him or her
  • Obtain a translator or interpreter when necessary to advise the victim of his or her rights under the law
  • Be informed of services available to victims, including:
    • Violent Crimes Compensation Fund
    • Victim assistance services
    • Legal resources
    • Mental health services
    • Social services
    • Health resources
    • Rehabilitative services
    • Crisis intervention services
    • Childcare and transportation services to promote victims' participation in court proceedings

For more information, please contact The Division of Victim/Witness Services of the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office. This division seeks to be a leader in the community by assuring that all victims of crime receive compassionate advocacy.

What Happens After A Crime Is Reported?

Any criminal case that requires investigation in order to document the facts is directed to the investigative division. 

  • If certain basic facts are known (such as the suspect's name or nickname, vehicle information, home or work location, associates, or a valuable piece of physical evidence), cases will be assigned to an investigator and pursued
  • Without a certain degree of  "lead"  information, cases have almost no potential for resolution and will need to be closed
  • Most cases are assigned to General Investigators, although certain cases are sent directly to the Prosecutor's Office or assigned to specialty units
  • Almost every police organization that employs full time investigators uses a similar system to analyze and assign cases
  • Even for cases lacking solvability, the information in the case report can be helpful for establishing crime patterns
  • Recognizable patterns can lead to increased patrols in specific neighborhoods, and later, if a suspect is developed, a formerly unassigned case can be resolved

Once your case is forwarded to the Prosecutor's Office, an assigned prosecutor will review the information to determine whether it is sufficient to bring to the court system for prosecution. You may be contacted by the Prosecutor's Office or The Division of Victim/Witness Services of the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office. Please retain any information they provide you as it contains information to assist you in asserting your rights as a victim in your case.

If you obtain further information pertinent to this case, please call SBPD at (574) 235-9201. Often follow up information relating to your case can be taken via telephone.

You will typically not be recontacted by the Police Department unless an arrest is made, property is recovered, or additional information is required. It is your responsibility to notify the Police Department of any address or phone number changes.