You Have Rights
For statutory crime victim rights, a ‘victim’ is defined as a person who suffered physical, emotional, or financial harm as a result of a criminal offense or delinquent act. A simple misdemeanor is not an included crime for the purpose of statutory victim rights.
For these rights, the definition of ‘victim’ also includes immediate family members of:
- Homicide victims
- A person rendered to be incompetent as a result of a crime
- A person who was under the age of 18 at the time of the offense
A crime victim’s primary rights under Iowa law include:
- The right to a victim advocate
- The right to apply for Crime Victim Compensation
- The right to notification regarding the criminal case
- The right to victim restitution from the offender
- The right to a victim impact statement
Right to a Victim Advocate
Right to Apply for Crime Victim Compensation
You have the right to apply for Crime Victim Compensation. This program was designed to help victims pay for certain out-of-pocket expenses when injury or death result from the crime. It is funded entirely by fines and penalties paid by offenders. For more information on this program and application information, visit our Crime Victim Compensation page.
Right to Notification
You have the right to notification regarding the criminal case. Crime victims, with the exception of simple misdemeanor victims, have the right to register in writing with the County Attorney’s Office for written notification about the status of the criminal case. Law enforcement is required to tell you about this right and provide a request for registration form. This form must be completed and returned to County Attorney who is prosecuting the case. Copies will be given to other justice system agencies, who will then provide written notification regarding the status of the criminal case and convicted offender.
Additionally, all crime victims and the public can register with IowaVINE for automated notification about an offender incarcerated in a county jail or the Iowa Department of Corrections. IowaVINE will send notification by text, email or telephone.
Right to Restitution
You have the right to restitution. Crime victims will develop a record of their out-of-pocket expenses related to the crime. Once this is given to the County Attorney, it will then be submitted to the judge. A judge will make a determination and order the offender to pay restitution to the crime victim.
When a victim dies as a result of a crime, a judge must order an offender to pay $150,000 to the estate of that victim. This is in addition to the restitution ordered for the victim’s out-of-pocket expenses.
Right to Make a Victim Impact Statement
You have the right to make a Victim Impact Statement. This is an opportunity to tell the judge and offender about the physical, emotional and financial effects the crime has had on you and your family. It is completely your choice on whether or not you would like to make a Victim Impact Statement. For more information, visit our Victim Impact Statement page.
You don’t have to navigate the justice system on your own. You can call or text the Iowa Victim Service Call Center 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Advocates are ready to talk, provide resources and offer help.