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Commonwealth's Attorney

Victim Witness Director

Susan B. Williams, Victim Witness Director

The Smyth County Victim Witness Program is here to help you. Roy F. Evans, Jr., Smyth County Commonwealth’s Attorney, established the program through state and federal grants in 1997.

Susan Williams, the director, provides information on services to crime victims and witnesses.

The Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act recognizes that anyone suffering physical, emotional or financial harm as a direct result of a felony or certain misdemeanor crimes, are victims in need of assistance. This also includes spouses, children, parents and guardians of certain victims.

The Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act (usually referred to as the Victims’ Bill of Rights) was made law by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995. The purpose of the law is to ensure that victims and witnesses of crime: are treated with dignity, respect, and sensitivity and that their privacy is protected where the law allows; are informed of their rights; have opportunities to make the courts aware of the full impact of the crime; receive authorized services; have the opportunity to be heard at critical stages of the criminal justice process.

The law provides several rights: Victims have the right to remain in the courtroom during trial and during all hearings which the defendant may attend, unless the judge has determined that the victim is a material witness; when practicable, prosecutors must give victims, or any adults chosen by a victim under the age of eighteen, advance notice of judicial proceedings (such as bail or bond hearings, preliminary hearings and trial dates.)

Victims must be informed of financial assistance and social services available , including crime victims’ compensation (Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund).

In some cases, victims may present a Victim Impact Statement which explains to the judge how the crime(s) affected them.

Defendants convicted of certain property crimes may be ordered to make restitution for property damages or loss or actual medical expenses incurred by the victim.

If requested in writing, Sheriffs, jail superintendents and the Department of Corrections must notify victims, or person designated in writing by the victims of the release, transfer, escape or change of name of a prisoner, to certain crime victims.