About the Victim Services Unit

The Victim Services Team

One of the most critical functions of the Attorney General’s Office is to assist victims of the crimes for which the Office is seeking justice.

Our work is guided by the Rhode Island Constitution and state statute that guarantee specific rights for victims of crimes. We strive to help victims navigate and participate in the felony process, while ensuring that their rights are protected. These efforts include notification and information sharing, court accompaniment, and other support services.

We are here to help.

Our goal is to be a resource for victims - to answer questions, to provide support, and to keep them informed. A member of our team will be there with victims throughout the entire process.

The Victim Services Team can:

• Share information about a victim’s rights, guaranteed under the law.

• Keep victims informed about the status of their case.

• Translate the “language” and process of the criminal justice system.

• Provide information about the RI Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund.

• Help with crime-related problems with employers.

• Put victims in touch with community organizations that help with financial, legal, medical, emotional support and counseling needs.

• Assist with property return.

Have you registered with VOICE?

VOICE is a new online system that streamlines service delivery and allows state agencies to better serve victims of crime in Rhode Island. VOICE offers victims the transparency of real-time case data in a safe, secure environment.


How to get started

1. Register with VOICE by logging into your account here. Login information is included in your notification letter. If you do not have log in information, contact RIAG Victim Services at (401)-274-4400, prompt 7.

2. Once registered, log into the VOICE system anytime to:

  • Access important links and information about your rights and the criminal justice process
  • Add and update your contact information in a secure environment
  • Get 24/7, web-enabled access to your case information – including case sheet, events, offender, and restitution data – throughout the life of the case
  • Sign up to receive case-related email alerts
  • Submit Victim Impact Statements and Business Statements of Loss electronically
  • Apply for Crime Victim Compensation and track application status
  • View Crime Victim Compensation Program claim information

Notification Process

Once a case has been charged as a felony in Superior Court, victims will be assigned an advocate from our Victim Services Team who will serve as a guide for victims (and approved legal guardians/significant others) through the criminal justice process. We are available to explain procedures and events as they arise, and our staff can assist victims when they appear in court.

Victims can now be notified of the status of a defendant's case using VOICE, a new online system that streamlines service delivery and allows state agencies to better serve victims of crime in Rhode Island. Through VOICE, victims can receive electronic notification regarding significant court events from the time of the initial court event though the final disposition of the defendant's case.

Victims will receive written notification of the first scheduled court event at the point when the Attorney General's Office officially files a felony information in a defendant's case in Superior Court. The notification will be mailed to the victim's last-known address as provided by the investigating police department.

The first notice victims receive will also contain a username and password for victims to log in and register with VOICE. Once registered, victims can:


  • Access important links and information about victim rights and the criminal justice process
  • Add and update contact information in a secure environment
  • Get 24/7, web-enabled access to case information – including case sheet, events, offender, and restitution data – throughout the life of the case
  • Sign up to receive case-related email alerts
  • Submit Victim Impact Statements and Business Statements of Loss electronically
  • Apply for Crime Victim Compensation and track application status
  • View Crime Victim Compensation Program claim information

Restraining Order/No Contact Order

No Contact Order
A No Contact Order (NCO) is issued by the Court as a condition of the defendant's bail while the case is pending and as a condition of the defendant's sentence/probation at the time of the final disposition of the case. The NCO will remain in full force and effect until the expiration of the defendent's sentence/probation.

Temporary Restraining Order
A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a document that you may request from a court if you have been threatened, physically or sexually assaulted, stalked or cyberstalked/cyberharassed. A TRO orders your abuser to stay away from you. It is a civil – not criminal – action which does not involve the police unless the defendant violates the TRO.

NCOs and TROs can only be issued by the court system. The Office of Attorney General cannot assist individuals in obtaining NCOs or TROs.

Below are outside resources that may assist you:
Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center - Common Questions About Protective Orders
Rhode Island Courts - Information for Victims of Domestic Violence

Compensation/Restitution

Compensation

If you or a family member have been the of a violent crime, the Rhode Island Crime Victim Compensation Program may be able to help with some of the resulting expenses. The Crime Victim Compensation Program is operated by the Office of the General Treasurer.

You can see if you are eligible for compensation or fill out an application for compensation by logging into VOICE.

To learn more about the program, visit here, or call (401) 462-7655.

It is important to file your claim as soon as possible after the crime occurs to receive compensation.


Restitution

The term "restitution" in the criminal justice system means payment by an offender to the victim for the harm caused by the offender's wrongful acts. Only the Rhode Island Courts have the authority to order convicted offenders to pay restitution to victims as part of their sentences.

If restitution was ordered as part of a defendant’s sentence, you can contact the Superior Court Restitution Unit at (401) 222-2084 to collect payment.

The difference between restitution and civil damages

Restitution is ordered by a criminal court after the offender has been found guilty. Civil damages are ordered when someone has won a lawsuit in civil court. Victims of crime can obtain both restitution and civil damages. A victim can sue an offender even when the offender has been ordered to pay restitution. Civil damages can include losses not covered by restitution, such as payment for pain and suffering, payment for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and even punitive damages (damages imposed just to punish the defendant).

Please note: the Office of Attorney General cannot provide you with legal advice or legal referrals. If you are seeking answers to legal questions, need someone to help you find a law or case, or need someone to take your case to court, you will need to find a private attorney. For information on choosing and using a lawyer, you may wish to visit the Rhode Island Bar Association’s website.

Resources for Victims

RI-VINE
RI-VINE (Rhode Island Victim Information and Notification Everyday) is an automated service that lets victims track the custody status of offenders in the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. By calling the toll-free number (1-877-744-8463) or visiting the website, victims can find out the custody status of an offender. They may also register to be notified by phone or email if the custody status of an inmate changes. RI-VINE will notify regarding the following events: release, tranfers, escape, or death of an inmate.

You may register through the website or by calling (877) 744-8463.

VINE is a free service offered by the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. The Rhode Island Statewide VINE Service Number is (877) 744-8463.

Rhode Island Parole Board
Rhode Island General Law (12-28-6) specifically gives victims the opportunity to address the Rhode Island Parole Board regarding the impact of the crime.

Input from victims is very important to the Parole Board's decision-making process. It helps the Board appreciate and understand the effects of the crime on victims. Testimony from the victim often provides information that might not otherwise be available to the Board.

Rhode Island Victims of Crime 24-hour Hotline: 1-800-494-8100

Day One - Sexual Assault and Trauma Center
(401) 421-4100

Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
(401) 467-9940

Rhode Island Sex Offender Community Notification Unit
(401) 462-0905

Institute for the Study of and Practice of Nonviolence
(401) 785-2320

Family Service of RI
(401) 331-1350