The Yuma County Victim Assistance program is a law enforcement based program. Our Advocates are on call 24/7 and respond to all law enforcement agencies in Yuma County this includes: Wray Police Department, Yuma Police Department, Yuma County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado State Patrol. We provide services to all crime victims as required by the Victim’s Rights Act.
These services include on-scene crisis intervention; help filling out victim compensation, safety plans, referrals to counseling and other resources, court room advocacy, follow up phone calls and any support needed. The Yuma County Victim Assistance program also responds to suicides, and we assist in death notifications. We treat all victims with dignity, respect and compassion, If you or someone you know is a victim of crime please call the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office at 970-332-4805.
Victims Advocate Coordinator: Angela Witte (970) 332-4805
District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Coordinators:
Burlington Karla Whitmore (719) 346-7413
Wray– Julie Hatch (970) 332-0913
Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence- (303) 831-9632
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault- (303) 861-7033
Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance- (303) 861-1160
Colorado Division of Criminal Justice- (303) 239-4442
CASA- (970) 867-9606
Kempe National Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect- (303) 864-5252
Fort Morgan- (970) 542-3465
Wray- (970) 332-5213
Burlington- (888) 812-1314
Resource Center/New Directions- (970) 848-3867
Help for Abused Partners- (970) 522-2307
High-Plains Sexual Assault Center- (970) 521-2722
Northeast Colorado Resource Directory- (970) 526-3616
SHARE- (970) 867-4444
Relay Colorado for Hearing Impaired TDD Relay- (800) 659-2656, Voice- (800) 659-3056
The crimes specifically covered by the Victim Rights Act include:
- Ethnic intimidation
- Sexual exploitation of children
- Indecent Exposure
- Crimes against at-risk persons
- Domestic Violence
- Harassment by stalking
- Tampering or retaliating against a witness or victim
- Careless driving resulting in death
- Sexual Assault (both adult and child victims)
- Failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving death
- Intimidation & Aggravated Intimidation of a Victim or Witness
- Violation of a criminal protection order issued against a person charged with sexual assault
The Victim’s Rights Act also includes any criminal attempt, conspiracy, criminal solicitation or accessory involving any of the crimes specified above.
A victim’s rights are related to certain “critical stages” in the criminal justice process. These stages include:
- Filing or no-filing of charges
- Change of venue or transfer of probation
- Preliminary hearing
- Any bond reduction or modification hearing
- Request for release from probation supervision prior to the expiration of defendant’s sentence
- Motions hearing
- Disposition of the complaint or charges against the person accused
- Parole application hearing, release or discharge from imprisonment of a convicted person, or revocation hearing
- Sentence hearing and any modification of the sentence
- Probation revocation hearing
- Filing a complaint, summons, or warrant by probation for failure to report or because the location of a person convicted of a crime is unknown
- Any subpoena for a victim’s medical, school, mental health or victim compensation records
The Victim also has the right;
- To be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect
- To be assured in any criminal proceedings the Court, the prosecutor, and other law enforcement officials will take appropriate action to achieve a swift and fair resolution of the proceedings
- To be given appropriate employer intercession services regarding court appearances and meetings with criminal justice officials
- Upon written request by the victim , in Domestic Violence cases, to be informed of any conduct by the defendant that results in an increase in the supervision level by probation
- At the discretion of the District Attorney, the victim has the right to review all or a portion of the pre-sentence reports for the probation Department
- The victim has the right to be informed of the results of any HIV testing that is ordered and preformed
- Whenever practical, to have a safe and secure waiting area during Court proceedings
- Upon written request, to be informed when a person accused or convicted of a crime against the victim is placed in or transferred to a less secure facility or program , is permitted or conditionally transferred or released from custody, or is paroled, escapes or absconds from probation, parole, or is transferred, released, or escapes from any state mental hospital. This does not apply to temporary transfer custody.
- Upon written request, to be informed of and heard at any reconsideration of sentence, parole, or commutation of sentence.
- The victim may VERBALLY REQUEST to be informed when the defendant is released from a county jail
- To be heard on bond reductions or modifications, acceptance of a negotiated plea, and make a sentencing a modification of sentence verbally and/or in writing at sentencing
- To be informed of the process for enforcing compliance with the Victim Rights Act
The Sheriff’s Office Victim Advocate will provide you with a Victim Compensation form if you have been the victim of a “compensable crime.” A compensable crime is defined as any intentional, knowing, reckless, or criminally negligent act, and any drunk or impaired driving, which results in residential property damage, bodily injury or death of another person.
How Do I qualify?
If you are victim of a compensable crime, you must report the crime to a law enforcement agency within 72 hours, cooperate fully with the law enforcement agency and prosecution, and you must apply for compensation within twelve (12) months of the loss or injury.
Why Should I apply?
Many people are reluctant to apply for victim compensation because they think it is a form of charity. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the money is paid from a fund established by Court assessments against convicted criminals. It is only fitting that criminals pay for the harm they cause you and other victims. The funds expended on your behalf will be replaced by an order against the defendant in your case upon his or her conviction.
What Can be Paid?
- Mental health counseling
- Reasonable medical and hospital expenses
- Outpatient care
- Homemaker and home health services
- Burial services
- Loss of support to dependants
- Loss of wages
- Repair or replacement of damaged residential property, such as windows, doors and locks
- Insurance deductibles on residential property
- Any modification, repair or replacement to a residence that is necessary for victim safety, such as windows, doors and locks
- Eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aides, or prosthetic devices
What Can’t Be Paid?
- Pain and suffering claims
- Non-residential property claims
- Aggregate damages in excess of $20,000.00
- Aggregate damages of less than $25.00
- The injury or death resulting totally or in part from the victim’s own wrongdoing or contributory behavior
How Are Claims Considered?
Victim compensation claims are considered by a three-member panel selected by the District Attorney. Decisions are make by the panel after reviewing the applications and all necessary reports. You will be notified within 60 days whether the claim has been accepted or not. In the event that you have an emergency need for funds for the authorized services, you may request up to $1,000.00 in advance. Victim compensation is payer of last resort. It is not intended for expenses that can be paid by any other source.
Is This The Same As Restitution?
It is a form of restitution, but is more limited. You have a broad right to restitution for any and all financial losses. The Court MUST base its restitution order on the Victim Impact Statement submitted by the prosecution. The Victim Impact Statement will be mailed to you in all cases and it is critical that you complete this form and return it to be paid the funds.
Can I Get Help With Filling Out This Form?
Your local Sheriff’s Victim Advocate or District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Coordinator will be happy to assist you.
Criminal Justice agencies have certain responsibilities for assuring that victims receive their rights. These responsibilities are as follows:
Law enforcement agency’s Victim Advocates and District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Coordinators have the shared responsibility to provide the victim written information about:
- Community services such as crisis intervention, victim assistance resources, legal resources, mental health services, child care to enable the victim to cooperate with the prosecution, and other support services:
- The availability of financial resources such as victim compensation and how to apply for those benefits, as well as assistance dealing with creditors fur to financial setbacks caused by the crime:
- The availability of Protective Court Order;
- The availability of public records related to their case;
- Interpretation services;
- Provide the victim with the case number, the contact information to the District Attorney’s Office and the law enforcement agency that initially investigated the crime;
Law Enforcement shall:
- Keep the victim informed if the suspect/ defendant has been arrested, or released, or any other condition imposed upon the suspect/defendant by the Court;
- Notify the victim of decisions to not file charges in misdemeanor cases.
District Attorney’s Victim –Witness Coordinators shall inform the victim:
- Of decisions not to file charges in felony cases;
- Of the filing of the charges and explain those charges;
- Of appropriate critical stages of the case, including the date, time and place that all Court proceedings will be held;
- Which Deputy District Attorney will handle their case;
- Of any pending Motions which may substantially delay their case, and inform the Court of the victim’s position on the Motion;
- Of any reduction, negotiated pleas, dismissal of their case, or other dispositions of their case, and where applicable, the Deputy District Attorney handling their case shall discuss these issues with the victim; of any hearing reconsideration, or modification of a sentence;
- When any contact with a defendant may occur, such as during a Court proceeding, and shall try to minimize any further contact within the Court house;
- When their property is no longer needed for evidentiary reasons and my be returned to them;
- Of the function of a Pre-sentence Report, and shall provide the contact information of the Probation Department that prepared this report;
- Of the Victim Impact Statement, provide this form to the victim, and explain that the defendant has the right to review this form.
The Courts have the responsibility to:
- State on the record a victim objection about any motion that my substantially delay the prosecution prior to granting any delay that the objection was considered;
- Allow the victim to be heard at any court proceeding which involves a bond reduction or modification, the acceptance of a negotiated plea agreement, or the sentencing of any person accused or convicted of a crime against the victim;
- Determine the amount, if any, of restitution to be paid to a victim by any person convicted of a crime.
The Victim has the responsibility to:
- Keep appropriate criminal justice authorities informed of the name, address and telephone number of the person who should be providing information, and of any changes to this information;
- Provide a written request if the victim wants to be notified, or advised of information regarding the post-sentence process.
Forms can be obtained from the District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Coordinator, the Probation Department, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Youth Corrections.
Upon Written Request of the victim, the probation department shall:
- Provide the with the location and telephone number of the probation department responsible for the supervision of the person; and shall notify or advise the victim of:
- The dare of the person’s termination from probation supervision;
- The date of probation revocation or modification hearing;
- Any change of venue or jurisdiction;
- Any complaint, summons, or warrant filed by the probation department for failure to report or because the location of the person is unknown;
- The death of the person while under the jurisdiction of the probation department.
Upon written request of the victim, the Department of Corrections shall;
- At the request of the victim, keep certain confidential information such as address, phone number, place of employment, or other personal information about the victim; and
- Notify the victim:
- Of the institution in which the person is incarcerated;
- The projected date of the person’s release from confinement;
- In advance of any release of the person in furlough, work release, or a community correctional facility;
- Any escape, transfer, or release;
- Of the transfer to a non-secured facility;
- The death of the person while under the jurisdiction of the department of correction;
Many of the terms you will encounter in this booklet may be unfamiliar to you. The following definitions may help you understand what is meant. As always, don’t hesitate to call any of the Sheriff’s Victim Advocates or District Attorney’s Victim– Witness Coordinators if you have a question.
Arraignment: Court hearing where a defendant pleads guilty or not guilty. Witnesses do not testify at this hearing.
Arrest: The taking into custody of a person by a law enforcement agency.
Bond: Money or property that is promised to the Court to make sure a defendant will come back to court after getting out of jail.
Continuance: When a court hearing is continued.
Cold Case: A term used to describe unresolved cases. This happens when all leads have been exhausted and resulted in no suspects.
Correctional Facility: Any private or public entity providing correctional services. Correctional facilities include, but are limited to , a community corrections provider, the divisions of youth corrections, and the Department of Corrections.
Critical Stages: Events in a case when a victim’s rights must be considered as explained in this booklet.
Defendant: A person who is accused of committing a crime.
Disposition: When a case is resolved without trial.
Filing of Charges: Presentation of written charges to the Clerk of the Court. The document is called a complaint, information, or indictment.
Motions Hearing: A hearing where the Judge decides what evidence will be allowed at trial.
No contact: A condition of Bond that means that a defendant cannot have contact with a victim by phone, letter, through a third person, or in person.
Plea Negotiations: A defendant pleads guilty to a charge or lesser charge in return for a sentence that may be less than if convicted of all charges at trial.