Unfortunately, when a crime occurs, the focus is often on the person who committed the crime, rather than the victim. While prosecuting the criminal is critical, it is equally important to address what you are going through as a victim following a crime.
You have rights as a victim in Indiana, and there are resources available to you to seek additional protection after a crime has taken place. The resources available (and the ones that you would like to use) will depend on the nature of the crime that you suffered through.
Below is a shortlist of potential protections that may be of interest to crime victims in Indiana.
Address Confidentiality Program
Those who are victims of sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence and who have protective orders in place against specific criminal perpetrators can take advantage of the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP). This program allows you to have a confidential address through the Attorney General’s Office.
Keep in mind that this service is not the same thing as witness protection, and it cannot guarantee your safety. However, it operates as an integral part of an overall safety plan for victims.
Protective Order Assistance Office
Those who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking can utilize the Protective Order Assistance Office to help put a protective order in place against the abuser. This office can also:
- Explain the court process
- Assist in safety planning
- Provide referrals to community partners
- Give information about current or pending charges
- Offer services for those with disabilities
- Assist with American Sign Language or Foreign Language interpretation
This service was started in February 2018 thanks to a grant awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, in October 2017.
Victim Notification System (SAVIN)
Indiana’s Statewide Automatic Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) allows residents to get real-time information about the custody status of offenders in each of Indiana’s 92 counties. This system enables users to register to get notifications about an offender’s placement, transfer, or any other changes in custody. For victims who are concerned about the whereabouts of the person who committed a crime against them, this information can be very helpful.
Indiana Access to Public Records Law
The Indiana Access to Public Records Law (APRA) protects victims’ personal information when it is requested through an open records request. While information about complaints and charges is generally open and available to the public, APRA protects certain information so that it cannot get into the wrong hands, such as home addresses and other identifying details.
Victim Safeguards During Court Proceedings
If you are involved as a witness in a court proceeding, the court is required to put safeguards in place for your protection. In general, the goal is to minimize a victim’s contact with the offender, as well as their friends and relatives. Examples of safeguards include things like:
- Separate waiting areas in the courthouse
- Enclosed spaces for victims so that they are not visible to the general public
- Waiver of the requirement to provide personal information, such as address and phone number, during court proceedings
Victim counseling services are often available as well, and most information that you share with your counselor will be considered confidential communication.
Getting Additional Help and Resources
The Vanderburgh County Crime Victim Resources website has an array of resources and information to connect local victims to the help they need. Explore more options by visiting our website.