Crime Victims' Rights

Who is a victim? (CCP 56.32)

  • A victim of a violent crime that put them at risk of bodily injury or death because of the criminally injurious conduct of another; 
  • The close relative of a deceased victim (spouse, parent, child, immediate family member).
  • The guardian of a victim who can act for the victim

What Rights Does a Victim Have? (CCP 56.02)

  • To receive adequate protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts;
  • To have their safety considered by the magistrate in the setting of bail;
  • To receive information, on request, of court proceedings, including appellate proceedings, cancellation/rescheduling prior to the event, and of appellate court decisions after the decisions are entered but before they are made public;
  • To request information from a peace officer about a defendant’s general rights to bail and criminal investigation procedures in the criminal justice system, including plea agreements, restitution, appeals and parole;
  • Provision of pertinent information concerning the impact of the crime to the probation department conducting the pre-sentencing investigation;
  • To receive information about Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund and payment for medical examination for a victim of sexual assault, and on request, referral to social service agencies that provide other types of assistance;
  • To receive Information, on request, about parole procedures, notification of parole proceedings and of the inmate’s release and the right to participate in the parole process and the right to submit written information to the Board of Pardons and Paroles for inclusion in the defendant’s file for consideration by the Board prior to parole;
  • To have a separate and secure waiting area at all public court proceedings;
  • The prompt return of any property that is no longer needed as evidence;
  • Notification, on request, to the victim’s employer by the prosecutor that the need for the victim’s testimony may involve the victim’s absence from work;
  • To receive information on testing and counseling regarding AIDS and HIV infection and examination for victims of sexual assault;
  • To request victim/offender mediation coordinated by the Victims Services Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; and be informed of the use and purpose of a victim impact statement and have the statement considered prior to sentencing and acceptance of a plea bargain and before the inmate is released on parole;
  • To allow a victim, guardian of the victim, or close relative of a deceased victim to be present at all public court proceedings, with the consent of the presiding judge.

* There is no liability for failure or inability to provide one of the above rights.

Crime Victims’ Compensation (CCP 56.34)

Crime Victims’ Compensation is a financial assistance program through the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. This program assists victims of violent crime with reimbursement of expenses resulting from the crime. These include medical expenses, relocation assistance for qualifying victims, loss of earnings or support, crime scene clean-up; replacement costs, within certain limits for property taken as evidence and not returned in usable condition; crime related travel expenses; and additional benefits for crime victims who have sustained catastrophic injuries. It is a payer of last resort, which means that your insurance and other benefits like Social Security and Medicaid pay first, and then Crime Victims’ Compensation may assist with remaining costs.

Residency Requirements for Crime Victim Compensation (CCP 56.32)

  • The crime must have occurred in Texas to a Texas resident or a United States resident, or 
  • The crime must involve a Texas resident who becomes a victim in another state or country that does not have crime victims' compensation benefits for which the victim would be eligible. 

Reporting the Crime (CCP 56.46)

The crime must be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency within a reasonable period of time, but not so late as to interfere with or hamper the investigation and prosecution of the crime.

Filing for Compensation (TCCP, Art.56.37)

You must file the application within three years from the date of the crime. The time may be extended for good cause, including the age of the victim or the physical or mental incapacity of the victim. 

Cooperation (TCCP, Art.56.45)

* A claim may be denied or reduced if the claimant or victim has not cooperated with the appropriate law enforcement agencies. 

What Crimes Are Covered? (TCCP, Art.56.32)

Crimes involving "criminally injurious conduct," defined as conduct that occurs or is attempted, which poses a substantial threat of personal injury or death and is, or would be, punishable by fine, imprisonment or death. This includes sex offenses, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, assaultive offenses, arson, homicide and other violent crimes in which the victim suffers physical or emotional harm or death. 

The following motor-vehicle-related crimes are also covered: Failure to Stop and Render Aid, DWI, Manslaughter, Criminally Negligent Homicide, Aggravated Assault, Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault. 

Who Is Not Eligible (CCP 56.45)

Benefits may be reduced or denied if the behavior of the victim contributed to the crime. Benefits shall be denied if the victim or claimant: 

  • Knowingly or willingly participated in the crime.
  • Is the offender or accomplice of the offender.
  • Was incarcerated in a penal institution at the time of the crime. 
  • Knowingly or intentionally submits false or forged information to the Attorney General. 

An award of compensation to the claimant or victim will be denied if it would benefit the offender or an accomplice of the offender.

What Expenses Are Eligible (CCP 56.34)

Claims may be approved for benefits up to a total of $50,000. These funds may be paid to the victim/claimant or to service providers on behalf of the victim. Approved claims may be awarded compensation for the following expenses related to the crime: 

  • Medical, hospital, physical therapy or nursing care. 
  • Psychiatric care or counseling. 
  • Loss of earnings or support. 
  • Loss of wages due to participation in, or attendance at, the investigation, prosecutorial and judicial processes, and travel. 
  • Care of a child or a dependent. 
  • Funeral and burial expenses.
  • Crime scene clean-up. 
  • Replacement costs for clothing, bedding, or property seized as evidence or rendered unusable as a result of the investigation. 
  • Reasonable attorney fees for assistance in filing the Crime Victims' Compensation application and in obtaining benefits, if the claim is approved.
  • Loss of wages and travel to seek medical treatment.
  • One time relocation expenses for domestic violence victims or for those sexual assault victims attacked in their own residence. 

In the case of catastrophic injuries resulting in a total and permanent disability, the victim may be eligible for $75,000 in benefits for: 

  • Making a home or car accessible. 
  • Job training and vocational rehabilitation.
  • Training in the use of special appliances.
  • Home health care.
  • Reimbursement of lost wages.

 * Reimbursement for property damage, cash, or theft is not an eligible expense.