What are my rights as a Victim of Crime?
Ohio law gives you specific statutory rights before, during, and after the trial. Your statutory rights under the Ohio Revised Code include, but are not limited to:
- The right to receive information about your rights as a crime victim.
- The right to appoint the victim advocate as their representative.
- The right to receive current information about the criminal investigation.
- The right to be notified when the offender is arrested or released before trial.
- The right to reasonable return of property.
- The right to information from and input about defendant's incarceration and parole status.
Can I be compensated for the harm done to me?
The Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation program provides reimbursement for certain out of pocket expenses that result when innocent victims are physically injured, emotionally harmed or killed by violent criminal acts.
The program was created in 1976 by the Ohio Legislature, which recognized that because the effects of violent crime can be so devastating, victims or their dependents should have access to financial assistance to pay bills for medical treatment or burial.
Victims can use the program only as a "payer of last resort", which means they must first exhaust all other available sources of financial assistance before becoming eligible for compensation. Other sources may include but are not limited to medical or dental insurance, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, worker's compensation, civil recovery and restitution from the offender.
Am I eligible for help from the Fund?
Maybe. In order to be eligible to make a claim, a victim must report the crime to a law enforcement officer within 72 hours and must cooperate fully in the investigation and any prosecution of the crime. However, the offender does not need to be caught or convicted for the victim to be eligible for compensation. The victim also must file a claim for compensation within two (2) years of the date of the crime. Minor victims have until their 20th birthday to file a compensation claim.
What is the maximum amount that I can receive?
The maximum amount of compensation available from the program is $50,000 per victim per incident. The total amount includes all awards granted as a result of victimization.
Who can I contact for help?
- Erie County Prosecutor's Victim Assistance Program: (419) 627-7699
- Firelands Regional Medical Center: (419) 557-7400
- Erie County Sheriff: (419) 625-7951
- Erie County Public Defender: (419) 448-9440
- Erie County Job and Family Services: (419) 626-6781
- Erie County Health Department: (419) 626-5623
- Clerk of Courts – Erie County Common Pleas Court: (419) 627-7705