A victim of a violent crime is someone who (1) has suffered bodily injury or death or who has been the victim of sexual assault, kidnapping, or aggravated robbery, (2) the close relative [spouse, parent, or adult brother, sister, or child] of a deceased victim, or (3) the guardian of a victim. The following rights are from Chapter 26, Article 56.02 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
a. A victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim is entitled to the following rights within the criminal justice system:
(1) the right to protection from threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts;
(2) the right to have your safety and that of your family taken into consideration when bail is being considered;
(3) if you so request, the right to be informed in advance about court proceedings, including cancellations or rescheduling;
(4) if you so request, the right to information about procedures in criminal investigations by law enforcement officials, and from the prosecutor’s office about general procedures in the criminal justice system, including plea bargaining, restitution, and the appeals and parole process;
(5) the right to provide information to a probation department conducting a pre-sentence investigation concerning the impact of the crime;
(6) the right to receive information about the Texas Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund that provides financial assistance to victims of violent crimes and, if you so request, referral to social service agencies that may provide additional help;
(7) if you so request, the right to be notified of parole proceedings by the Victim Services Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the right to participate in the parole process by submitting a Victim Impact Statement or other information for the Board of Pardons and Paroles to consider prior to parole decisions, and the right to be notified of the inmate’s release;
(8) the right to a safe waiting area before and during court proceedings;
(9) the right to prompt return of any property that is no longer required as evidence;
(10) if you so request, the right to have the prosecutor notify your employer that the need for your testimony may involve your absence from work;
(11) the right to have a law enforcement agency pay for medical examinations for victims of sexual assault and, upon request, the right to counseling regarding AIDS and HIV infection and testing for sexual assault victims;
(12) the right to request victim-offender mediation coordinated by the Victim Services Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice;
(13) the right to complete a Victim Impact Statement, detailing the emotional, physical and financial impact that the crime has had on you and your family, and to have that statement considered by the judge before sentencing and by the parole board prior to taking any parole action;
(14) the right to be present at all public court proceedings, if the presiding judge permits;
(15) a victim of a sexual offense may choose a pseudonym to be used instead of the victim’s name to designate the victim in all public files and records concerning the offense.
In addition to the Crime Victim Bill of Rights found in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure [TCCP], Chapter 56. 02, you may have other rights, including those listed below. For a full list of your rights, please contact your local Victim Assistance Coordinator at the District Attorney or County Attorney's Office, or the Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse at 1-(800)-848-4284.
- TCCP Article 17.41 - If a Defendant is charged with a sexual offense against a child age twelve (12) or younger, the magistrate may require a no-contact condition on the Defendant's bond and also can grant supervised access to the alleged victim. If this conflicts with an existing court order concerning access to a child, this bond condition will prevail, up to ninety (90) days.
- TCCP Article 21.31 - Anyone charged with a sexual offense involving contact shall be tested for AIDS/HIV, at the request of either the victim or the Court. The results shall be released to the local health authority, and that health authority shall report the test results to the victim of the alleged offense.
- TCCP Article 56.045 - Victims of alleged sexual assaults have the right to have an advocate from a sexual assault program present during a forensic exam.
- TCCP Article 56.06 - A law enforcement agency that requests a forensic medical exam of a victim of an alleged sexual assault for use in the investigation or prosecution of the offense shall pay all the costs of that exam.
- TCCP Article 56.11 - Victims of family violence or stalking have the right to be notified when a Defendant is released from or escapes from custody.
- TCCP Article 56.32 (a)(9) - Victims of domestic violence and victims of sexual assault occurring while at home are eligible to receive Crime Victim Compensation relocation benefits.
- TCCP Article 57.02 - A victim of an alleged sexual assault can use a pseudonym in public court documents.
- Texas Family Code Chapter 88 - Texas must honor properly entered orders of protection obtained in another state.
(a) Section 57.002, Family Code, provides the following rights within the juvenile justice system to a victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim.
1. the right to receive from law enforcement agencies adequate protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts;
2. the right to have the court or person appointed by the court take the safety of the victim or the victim’s family into consideration as an element in determining whether the child should be detained before the child’s conduct is adjudicated;
3. the right, if requested, to be informed of relevant court proceedings, including appellate proceedings, and to be informed in a timely manner if those court proceedings have been canceled or rescheduled;
4. the right to be informed, when requested, by the court or a person appointed by the court concerning the procedures in the juvenile justice system, including general procedures relating to:
(A) the preliminary investigation and deferred prosecution of a case; and
(B) the appeal of the case;
5. the right to provide pertinent information to a juvenile court conducting a disposition hearing concerning the impact of the offense on the victim and the victim’s family by testimony, written statement, or any other manner before the court renders its disposition;
6. the right to receive information regarding compensation to victims including information related to the costs that may be compensated, eligibility for compensation, and procedures for application, the payment of medical expenses for a victim of a sexual assault, and referral to available social service agencies for additional assistance, provided by Subchapter B, Chapter 56, Code of Criminal Procedure.
7. the right to be informed of procedures for release onto supervision or transfer for parole process, and to be notified of the offender’s escape;
8. the right to a safe waiting area before and during court proceedings secure from other witnesses, including the alleged child and family members. If a safe waiting area is not available, other safeguards should be taken;
9. the right to prompt return of any property of the victim that is held by a law enforcement agency or the attorney for the state as evidence when the property is no longer required for that purpose;
10. the right to have the prosecutor notify your employer of the necessity of your cooperation and testimony in a proceeding that may require your absence from work;
11. the right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the conduct of the child as provided by Section 54.08, subject to that section; and
12. any other right appropriate to the victim that a victim of criminal conduct has under Article 56.02, Code of Criminal Procedure.
(b) In notifying a victim of the release or escape of a person, the Texas Youth Commission shall use the same procedure established for the notification of the release or escape of an adult offender under Article 56.11, Code of Criminal Procedure.