Victim Witness Program

Victim Witness Director
02victim10Susan 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.

Victim Witness Volunteer and Internship Opportunities
How you can help 
The Victim Witness Program needs the support of the community in order to continue to provide services to victims of violent crime. Listed below are ways in which you may want to assist:

Volunteers are an important component of the program and are constantly in demand. Volunteers must meet professional standards, pass a background check, and be willing to share a valuable resource with us: their time.

If you are a high school senior or a college student, an internship at the Smyth County Victim Witness Program can provide you with hands-on training in the criminal justice system, specifically working with crime victims.
For More InformationPlease contact the Victim/Witness Program Coordinator:

Susan B. Williams, Victim Witness Director
Victim Witness Program
Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney
109 W. Main St., Room 2104
Marion, VA 24354 
Phone: 276-782-4061 

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RESOURCES The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) expands housing protections for domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking victims. Changes under VAWA 2013 include extending protections to survivors of sexual assault; allowing survivors who remain in the unit to establish eligibility or find new housing when a lease is bifurcated; providing survivors with emergency transfers; and additional notification to applicants and tenants of housing rights under VAWA. While these changes substantially extend VAWA's coverage to include most affordable housing programs, they provide no protection to tenants in private market-rate housing but do apply to tenants with vouchers in private market housing.  MRHA will provide all protection under VAWA 2013 to program participants and family members of program participants who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking from being evicted or terminated from housing assistance based on acts of such violence against them.
Smyth County Department of Social Services (DSS administers the following Benefit Assistance programs: TANF – Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program), Medicaid, Auxiliary Grant, and Energy assistance). In addition, our Service programs include: Child Protective Services, Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, Adult Services, Child Day Care Services and Employment Services.
Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society (Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society (SVLAS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit law firm. We provide free, high quality civil legal services to low-income residents of 17 counties and four small cities in southwestern Virginia)
Family Resource Center (non-profit organization providing shelter, education, and support services to males, females, and children who have experienced, been impacted by or exposed to domestic or sexual violence, abuse, neglect, and stalking).
Children’s Advocacy Center (The Children’s Advocacy Center of Highlands Community Services leverages the efforts of law enforcement, prosecutors, medical and mental health providers, social workers, and others to provide a seamless, comprehensive system of support for child victims of sexual and physical abuse, and neglect) 
Virginia Victims Fund (The Virginia Victims Fund (VVF) is a state program created to help victims of violent crime with out-of-pocket expenses. These can include medical bills, prescriptions, funeral expenses, and many other expenses)
Virginia Department of Corrections (Search for an offender's location and release date if they are incarcerated and under the custody of the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC).
VineLink  - VINE is the nation’s leading victim notification network. It allows survivors, victims of crime, and other concerned citizens to access timely and reliable information about offenders or criminal cases in U.S. jails and prisons. Register to receive automated notifications via email, text, or phone call, or check custody status information online at any time.
NAAVI (The VADOC NAAVI portal is a free service that provides the Commonwealth with information and resources to assist crime victims. Registration is required for crime victims to receive notification/status updates about inmates serving 12 months or more of incarceration pursuant to Virginia Code § 19.2?11.01.
This program is designed to provide you with quick and easy access to information and to assist you in preparing for an inmate’s release and community supervision).

SERVICESProvide on request information on any significant developments in the investigation and prosecution of the case.

  • Provide information which explains steps in the criminal justice system and details victims' rights.
  • Inform of restitution and monitor payments.
  • Assistance in protection of victims and witnesses from harm and threats of harm arising our of their cooperation with the law enforcement and prosecution of the case.
  • Assist in the return of property.
  • Notify victims and witnesses of continuances and cancellations.
  • Provide information concerning final disposition of cases and negotiations on plea agreements
  • Provide liaison services between claimants and the Division of Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund.
  • Provide information on financial assistance available.
  • Provide information on social services available and make referrals to appropriate agencies.
  • Provide emergency assistance, such as food, shelter/referrals for these services.
  • Provide employer intercession.
  • Provide separate waiting areas during court procedures.
  • 24-hour on call for victims, law enforcement and witnesses.
  • Assist in the preparation of victim impact statements.
  • Provide public awareness presentations to schools and community groups/basic training and in-service.
  • Provide crisis intervention and short-term counseling.
  • Provide courtroom tours, accompaniment and support.
  • Provide hospital accompaniment and support
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  • Brochure for Smyth County Victim/Witness Program
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  • Informational Guide for Domestic Violence Victims
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  • Protective Order Guide for Victims
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  • Legal Aid Brochure
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  • VINE Brochure
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  • NAAVI Brochure
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  • Restitution in Virginia
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  • Going to Court Activity Book for Children
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  • Stalking-A Guide for Victims
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  • Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Guide
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