Victim and Witness Assistance

If you have been impacted by a crime as a survivor or an ally, we understand that some people are impacted greatly by the emotions surrounding the criminal justice process and that sometimes
responsibilities of school work, employment, family, and life in general can be difficult to balance as the process continues. As a crime survivor, we want you to know that we are here to support you, in partnership with a variety of other offices and resources you can find on campus.

It is important to remember that you have rights during this process – including rights to information, to notification, and in some cases to compensation. Your rights are detailed below. In addition to working with campus offices that support you, the Department of Public Safety works closely with the Syracuse Police Department, the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, and various offices of New York State to ensure your rights are upheld and guarded during this process.

The Syracuse University Department of Public Safety is committed to protecting the rights of crime victims within the campus community. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have
questions about how these rights may apply to you.

Crime Victims Bill of Rights

Victims have the right to:

  • A free copy of the police report, even if there was no physical injury.
  • Payment waiver of fees for replacing driver’s license, permit, registration, and license plates that were lost or stolen as a result of a crime.
    Have law enforcement and the district attorney inform employers that the criminal case may require work absences. They can also explain the circumstances of the crime to creditors.
  • Not to be penalized by an employer when appearing as a witness in a criminal proceeding, consulting with prosecutors, or exercising other rights under the law. A violation of this law by an employer is a misdemeanor. Employers, however, may withhold wages in these situations.
  • File for victim compensation and assistance with the New York State Office of Victim Services. Victims of physical injury or relatives of murder victims are entitled to out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the crime. These expenses may include the repair or replacement of damaged property, loss of earnings or support, medical and counseling bills, crime scene cleanup, or funeral expenses. Crime victims may also be eligible for transportation expenses incurred for necessary court appearances. Kidnapping, stalking, and unlawful imprisonment victims may be eligible for an award to cover loss of earnings or support, unreimbursed costs for counseling, rehabilitative training, and the costs of damaged essential personal property and security devices.
  • Claims must be filed within one year of the crime or within one year of the victim’s death. You can obtain a claim form from the police, the district attorney, a hospital emergency room, the Office of Victim Services or from the office of the attorney general. Assistance is also available from other programs, such as rape crisis centers and domestic violence and child abuse programs. Ask the district attorney’s office for referrals.
  • Be notified of criminal proceedings. Victims who provide a current address and telephone number to the district attorney have the right to be notified of the accused’s arrest; first appearance before a judge; release from jail while the criminal proceeding is pending; entry of a guilty plea, trial, and sentencing; maximum and minimum terms of imprisonment if the accused is sentenced to prison; and parole hearing date.
  • Freedom from intimidation, threats, or harassment. Intimidating a victim or a witness is a felony, apart from any charges the accused may already face. If you are threatened or your property is damaged by anyone connected to your case, you should contact the district attorney’s office and law enforcement immediately.
  • Notice of discharge, release, or escape of offender from a correctional facility. The district attorney has a form to be completed in order to stay informed. The New York Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) system provides up-to-date information about the custody status of offenders via the telephone or Internet. Crime victims and other New Yorkers can call 888-VINE-4NY (888-846-3469) to secure information about incarcerated defendants. By providing an inmate’s identification number or date of birth, which you can obtain from the district attorney, you can learn sentencing and release information. You may also register with VINE for automatic notification by telephone when the inmate is released.


It is the policy of DPS that all members of the department, both sworn and non-sworn, will treat all victims and witnesses with fairness, respect, compassion, and dignity, and reasonably protect them from harm. Any person needing access to crime victim or witness services, counseling or information may receive that by contacting the DPS either in person at 005 Sims Hall on College Place, or by telephone at 315.443.1746. In addition, there are many other resources available to you at the University.

The New York State Office of Victim Services is also a great resource for additional information.