What are “rights to confidentiality”?

You have the right…

To have your conversations with a sexual assault counselor or family violence victim counselor at a rape crisis center or family violence center remain confidential and not used in court, unless you want them to be used.
Not to have your present or prior sexual conduct brought up during the trial unless the court, after a hearing, decides that it is strongly related to the trial. You may wish to speak with the prosecutor about this.
Not to have your address or phone number disclosed in the courtroom during any proceeding in the prosecution of the case involving sexual assault, injury or risk of injury to a child, or impairing the morals of a child.

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What are “rights to notification”?

By providing a current mailing address and phone number to the prosecutor, you can ask to be told about …

Any court proceeding – arrest, arraignment, and release on bond, entry of a plea, trial or sentencing.
A chance to tell the judge about how the crime affected you, by presenting a Victim Impact Statement. You can either speak to the judge in court or you can give written comments to the prosecutor for submission to the judge.
An application by the offender for accelerated rehabilitation (AR) and a chance to comment to the judge on that application.
Whether the criminal case has been dismissed. You should check often with the court clerk about this. You request must be made within one year of the dismissal.
Any application by the offender to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, Department of Correction (DOC), sentencing judge or Sentence Review Division. You must file a request with the Office of Victim Services (they will provide the form), and provide a current mailing address.
A chance to appear before the Board of Pardons and Paroles or submit a written statement about whether the offender should be released, or the conditions to be imposed on any such release.
When the offender is released from the DOC. You must file a request with the Office of Victim Services or the Commissioner of Correction, and provide a current mailing address.

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What are my rights as a victim?

Victims of crime in Connecticut have rights that are protected by law. Some of these rights are complicated and difficult to fully explain. If you have any questions about your rights, you can call a sexual assault counselor or the Office of Victim Services. (See page 68)

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Do I need my own lawyer if I decide to sue the offender?

You will probably need to hire a lawyer if you decide to sue the offender in civil court. A sexual assault crisis counselor can help you find a lawyer who specializes in helping victims.

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What role will my testimony play in the criminal case?

You testimony will be very important:

At trial to help a judge or jury decide whether to convict the offender;
Before sentencing you can speak to the preparer of the Pre-sentence Investigation Report that will be given to the judge;
At sentencing your “Victim Impact Statement” will help the judge to decide a proper punishment for the offender;
At a parole hearing to help the Parole Board decide whether to grant the offender’s request for early release.

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What if the offender’s lawyer or investigator contacts me?

You do not have to talk to anyone about the incident unless you have been subpoenaed to appear in court. If you are subpoenaed, you are only required to talk about the incident in court, not out of court. Anyone working with the offender is seeking information for offender’s benefit. You may decide that you do not want to speak with them out of the courtroom, or that you want the prosecutor to be present. You should always find out who it is that wants to talk to you, and who they are working for, before you decide whether or not to speak to that person. If you have any questions, you should contact the prosecutor.

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When will the case be tried?

If the case goes to trial, it may take a long time – perhaps more than a year. However, criminal cases sometimes are resolved without a trial through a plea agreement. During this period you can be in contact with someone from the prosecutor’s office. A sexual assault counselor can answer questions and can help you communicate with the prosecutor’s office.

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Do I need my own lawyer for the criminal case?

No. The State of Connecticut has lawyers, called State’s Attorneys or prosecutors, who represent the state’s interest and who will prosecute the criminal case. They will need you as a witness for the state’s case against the offender. You may hire your own lawyer to represent your interest if you wish.

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Will the offender be able to get out of jail after being arrested?

The offender may be released on bond after arrest while awaiting trial. If you are afraid, you should contact a sexual assault counselor to discuss your fears and options.
Crime victims can register with the Connecticut Department of Correction to receive notification when their offender is discharged from bond or released on promise to appear. Crime victims who wish to receive notification should call the Department of Corrections Victim Services Unit at (888) 869-7057 for more information. They can also fill out the Confidential Request for Notification of Status of Inmate form (available online: http://www.ct.gov/doc/lib/doc/PDF/form/FormJd-Vs-5.pdf) and fax it to the Department of Correction at (860) 692-7867.

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What happens after I report to the police?

After you contact the police, you will need to give them a statement in your own words about what happened to you, including a description of the offender and where the attack happened. You will be asked to sign the statement. If later you remember other information, you should call the police to amend your statement.
You should be careful not to wash or throw out any items related to the assault. You should tell the police about them because they may need to collect these items, including clothing or linens, as evidence. The police may need to contact you during their investigation. Arrests do not always happen quickly, or at all.
Someone from the prosecutor’s office (a prosecutor or an investigator) may contact you after the offender is arrested. You also may be contacted by an OVS Victim Services Advocate who can provide you information regarding your rights and case information.

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