OVA: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Office of the Victim Advocate?

The Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA) is an independent state agency charged with the responsibility of protecting and enforcing the rights of crime victim’s throughout the state of Connecticut.

 

What can the Office of the Victim Advocate do?

Among other things, the Office of the Victim Advocate:
  • Monitors services provided to crime victims by state agencies and private entities;
  • Receives and investigates victims’ complaints regarding their treatment in the criminal justice process, including but not limited to:
                 - Complaints against law enforcement agencies
                 - Victim Compensation
                 - Court-based and non-profit advocates
                 - The Judge
                 - The Prosecutor
  • Can intervene in court cases to advocate for a crime victim when their rights have been violated.
  • Can make recommendations to the legislature, criminal justice professionals, and victim service providers for changes in state policies and laws to benefit crime victims.
  • Provides public education and outreach regarding services available to victims of crime and their families.
What are my rights as a crime victim in an adult criminal proceeding?

As a crime victim you have constitutional rights, such as being treated with fairness and respect; to receive notification of court proceedings, and to communicate with the prosecution about the case. Contact our agency for a full list of your rights as a crime victim.

 

What are my rights as a crime victim in a juvenile delinquency proceeding?

As a crime victim in a Juvenile Delinquency proceeding, you have the following rights:

  • Right to Attend Delinquency Proceedings:  Any victim of a delinquent act, the parents or guardian of such victim, and any appointed victim advocate will not be excluded from the delinquency proceedings unless the judge specifically orders otherwise.
  • Victim’s input as part of pre-disposition investigation by Probation Officer in delinquency matter:  Prior to the disposition of the case of any child convicted of a delinquent act, the probation officer is required to conduct an investigation which includes an inquiry into the concerns of the complainant or victim and any damages suffered by the victim including medical expenses, loss of earnings and property loss.  The case of any child will not be disposed of until such investigation has been completed and the results have been placed before the judge.
  • Statement of Victim/Victim’s Representative at Delinquency Proceeding:  Any victim of alleged delinquent conduct, the parents or guardian of such victim, an appointed advocate, or the victim’s counsel shall have the right to appear before the court in any proceeding on the alleged delinquency of a child for the purpose of making a statement to the court concerning the disposition of the case.
Who is considered a crime victim?  What is the definition of a crime victim?

For the purpose of the work conducted by the OVA, the Connecticut General Statute 1-1k, defines a "Victim of crime", "crime victim" as: “Except as otherwise provided by the general statutes, ‘victim of crime’ or ‘crime victim’ means an individual who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional or financial harm as a result of a crime and includes immediate family members of a minor, incompetent individual or homicide victim and a person designated by a homicide victim in accordance with section 1-56r.”

 

How do I contact the Office of the Victim Advocate?

You can contact the Office of the Victim Advocate by calling 860-550-6632; toll-free within Connecticut at 888-771-3126; via email at info.ova@ct.gov; by facsimile at 860-560-7065 or through mail to the Office of the Victim Advocate, 505 Hudson Street, 5th Floor, Hartford, CT 06106.

 

How do I file a complaint?

Should you have a complaint with a representative of an agency, law enforcement officer, etc. you should first try to resolve the issue directly with an agency head or supervisor.  If you feel that you have gone unheard and feel that your rights as a crime victim are being violated, you should contact the OVA at 860-550-6632 or via email at info.ova@ct.gov.

  

I was told that as a crime victim I can receive money to cover certain expenses.  How do I apply for compensation?

The Office of Victim Services is the agency that provides crime victim compensation.  Compensation is only available for certain-crime related expenses.  For more information on victim compensation, please visit Judicial Branch website at www.jud.ct.gov or call the OVS toll-free from with-in Connecticut at 1-888-286-7347. 

·         Application for Personal Injury Compensation

·         Application for Survivor Benefits

 

The police gave me a yellow piece of paper and told me to contact the Victim Advocate; do I call the Office of the Victim Advocate? 

No, this is a common error.  Actually, you would contact the court-based advocate at the specified court location. If there is not an advocate at the court location, you should contact the State’s Attorney in that court.  To find contact information for the advocates and State’s Attorneys in a specific court, please click on Judicial Branch Directory.  

 

If your matter is related to domestic violence, you would contact family services at the court location.  You can find their contact information in the Judicial Branch Directory referenced above or contact, Connecticut Coalition against Domestic Violence (CCADV) toll-free within Connecticut at 888-774-2900 for a domestic violence advocate.

 

If your matter is related to a drunken driving incident contact Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) for an advocate toll free within Connecticut at 800-544-3690.

 

If your matter is related to a sexual assault incident contact, Connecticut Sexual Crisis Services (CONNSACS) for a sexual assault advocate toll-free within Connecticut at 888-999-5545.

 

I am a crime victim, what services are available to me?

There are many resources available to crime victims in Connecticut.  Please visit the OVA website to find Connecticut Crime Victim Resources or call the OVA at 860-550-6632.

 

What is restitution?

As a crime victim you have the right to ask for restitution and for the court to consider it. Restitution is, generally speaking, the out of pocket expenses associated with the crime you have suffered.  In Connecticut restitution can be ordered through both (1) a condition of probation and (2) a written order of restitution. The Written Order of Restitution is similar to a Civil Judgment, but without the hassle of hiring an attorney and going through the Civil Court process.  The Written Order of Restitution can be requested by the prosecutor or the victim and ordered by a Judge at the end of a case. The order is good for 10 years. 

 

What is the process for obtaining restitution in adult criminal court?

Once an offender has been convicted of committing a crime, in addition to any other sentence imposed by the court, the judge must order financial restitution to the crime victim under terms it determines are appropriate with exceptions if:

  • The offense resulted in injury or damage to or loss of property to the crime victim;
  • The crime victim requests restitution; and
  • The court finds that the crime victim has suffered injury or damage or loss of property. The amount of restitution ordered to be paid to the crime victim must be based on “easily ascertainable damages” for:
                    - Injury;
                   - Loss of property;
                   - Actual expenses for treatment of injury;
                  - Lost wages from injury;
                  - May include costs of counseling reasonably related to the offense.

 

*Restitution may not be ordered for mental anguish, pain and suffering, or other intangible losses.  

 

To determine appropriate terms of restitution, the court must consider the following:
                  - The financial resources of the offender and the burden restitution will
                     place on  
other obligations of the offender;
                  - The offender’s ability to pay on installments or other conditions;
                  - The rehabilitative effect on the offender of payment of restitution; and
                  - Other circumstances including financial burden on the victim.

 

*The court may forego setting terms of restitution if the offender’s current financial resources are such that no appropriate terms can be determined.  The court’s written order of restitution is enforceable as a civil judgment for ten years after the sentence or ten years after the offender’s release from confinement, whichever is longer.

 

Can I obtain restitution in a juvenile delinquency proceeding?

Yes, pursuant to CGS §46b-140, upon conviction of a child as delinquent, the court may order the child or the parents or guardian of the child, or both, to make restitution to the victim of the offense.  If the child has engaged in conduct which results in property damage or personal injury, the court may order the child or the parent(s) or guardian of the child, if such parent or guardian had knowledge of or condoned the conduct of the child, or both the child and the parent(s) or guardian, to make restitution.

 

Where can I find an Order of Restitution Form?

Click on Order of Restitution Form to print a pdf copy.

  

Do I automatically receive notification of court proceedings?

No! Connecticut’s notification system is an “opt-in” system, which means you need to sign-up for notification.  Notification Form: Confidential Request for Notification of Status of Inmate Form (JD-VS-5)

Submit completed forms to the:

         - Office of Victim Services (OVS) 1–800-822-8428 (post-conviction notification)    
         - Department of Corrections Victim Service Unit (pre-conviction/post-conviction)

 

If you have questions, regarding these forms, please contact the above referenced agencies. 

 

Connecticut SAVIN is a free, confidential service that provides crime victims and their family members, victim advocates, and members of the community free and confidential notification of court related events. The Connecticut Judicial Branch provides this toll-free, automated notification service.

 

How do I file a restraining order?

For information on how to apply for a restraining order, please view the Judicial Branch Publication- Restraining Orders:  How to Apply for Relief of Abuse.  The forms you will need to complete are:

        -  Affidavit- Relief from Abuse (JD-FM-138)       
        - If you want temporary custody of your children, you will need to complete an 

 



Content Last Modified on 10/18/2013 10:21:55 AM