As the South Asian community is growing, more of us are becoming victims of crimes. It is important for community members to know their rights in regards to getting help in accessing the criminal justice system and other resources to help recover from the crime. As a victim of a violent crime, you might be eligible for Victim’s compensation provided you report the crime within 72 hours (unless there is a good reason for you not to have) and that you file the application within 1 year of the crime (unless there is a good reason why you were not able to do so) and you did not do anything to provoke or consent to the events that led up to the crime.
The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council administers the Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program, which helps victims and their families through the emotional and physical aftermath of a crime by easing the monetary impact placed upon them by providing financial benefits for expenses such as medical bills, loss of earnings, funeral expenses, mental health counseling, and crime scene clean-up. For more information about Crime Victims Compensation click here or call (800) 547-0060.
Georgia law has a Crime Victims Bill of Rights under the Official code of Georgia 15-17-1 which states that victims of certain crimes have specific rights which include:
• The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any scheduled court proceedings or any changes to such proceedings;
• The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of the arrest, release, or escape of the accused;
• The right not to be excluded from any scheduled court proceedings, except as provided by law;
• The right to be heard at any scheduled court proceedings involving the release, plea, or sentencing of the accused;
• The right to file a written objection in any parole proceedings involving the accused;
• The right to confer with the prosecuting attorney in any criminal prosecution related to the victim;
• The right to restitution as provided by law;
• The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay; and
• The right to be treated fairly and with dignity by all criminal justice agencies involved in the case.
In general, after the crime occurs and is reported, and upon initial contact with a victim, law enforcement and court personnel must advise crime victims of the following:
• That it is possible the accused may be released from custody prior to trial;
• That victims have certain rights during various stages of the criminal justice system;
• That victims have the right to refuse or agree to be interviewed by the accused, the accused's attorney, or anyone who represents or contacts you on behalf of the accused.
The Office of Victims of Crime has created a number of Public Service Announcements for Victims’ Rights Week which we have posted below.
Raksha - meaning “protection” in several South Asian languages - is a Georgia-based nonprofit organization for the South Asian community. Raksha’s mission is to promote a stronger and healthier South Asian community through confidential support services, education, and advocacy. Guided by values of consensus in decision-making, diversity in leadership, and the dignity and worth of every individual, Raksha strives to empower and serve the South Asian community.