Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates

Strengthening crime victim rights and improving victim services

RCW 7.69B.020

Revised Code of Washington 7.69B.020

Rights enumerated.

 

(1) In addition to the rights of victims and witnesses provided for in RCW 7.69.030, there shall be every reasonable effort made by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges to assure that dependent persons who are victims or witnesses are afforded the rights enumerated in this section. The enumeration of rights under this chapter shall not be construed to create substantive rights and duties, and the application of an enumerated right in an individual case is subject to the discretion of the law enforcement agency, prosecutor, or judge. Dependent persons who are victims or witnesses in the criminal justice system have the following rights, which apply to any criminal court or juvenile court proceeding:

     (a) To have explained in language easily understood by the dependent person, all legal proceedings and police investigations in which the dependent person may be involved.

     (b) With respect to a dependent person who is a victim of a sex or violent crime, to have a crime victim advocate from a crime victim/witness program, or any other advocate of the victim's choosing, present at any prosecutorial or defense interviews with the dependent person. This subsection applies unless it creates undue hardship and if the presence of the crime victim advocate or other advocate does not cause any unnecessary delay in the investigation or prosecution of the case. The role of the crime victim advocate or other advocate is to provide emotional support to the dependent person and to promote the dependent person's feelings of security and safety.

     (c) To be provided, whenever possible, a secure waiting area during court proceedings and to have an advocate or support person remain with the dependent person prior to and during any court proceedings.

     (d) To allow an advocate to make recommendations to the prosecuting attorney about the ability of the dependent person to cooperate with prosecution and the potential effect of the proceedings on the dependent person.

     (e) To allow an advocate to provide information to the court concerning the dependent person's ability to understand the nature of the proceedings.

     (f) To be provided information or appropriate referrals to social service agencies to assist the dependent person with the emotional impact of the crime, the subsequent investigation, and judicial proceedings in which the dependent person is involved.

     (g) To allow an advocate to be present in court while the dependent person testifies in order to provide emotional support to the dependent person.

     (h) To provide information to the court as to the need for the presence of other supportive persons at the court proceedings while the dependent person testifies in order to promote the dependent person's feelings of security and safety.

     (i) To allow law enforcement agencies the opportunity to enlist the assistance of other professional personnel such as victim advocates or prosecutorial staff trained in the interviewing of the dependent person.

     (j) With respect to a dependent person who is a victim of a violent or sex crime, to receive either directly or through the dependent person's legal guardian, if applicable, at the time of reporting the crime to law enforcement officials, a written statement of the rights of dependent persons as provided in this chapter. The statement may be paraphrased to make it more easily understood. The written statement shall include the name, address, and telephone number of a county or local crime victim/witness program, if such a crime victim/witness program exists in the county.

     (2) Any party may request a preliminary hearing for the purpose of establishing accommodations for the dependent person consistent with, but not limited to, the rights enumerated in this section.

 

Link to these rights on the Washington State Legislature's Website!