Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates

Strengthening crime victim rights and improving victim services

Right to be Informed

The Right to Be Informed/Notified

The Washington State Constitution guarantees crime victims "a meaningful role in the criminal justice system." That role begins with the basic right to be informed.

It is imperative that victims know their rights, just as criminals are advised of their rights. It is the responsibility of everyone involved in the criminal justice system, with a specific focus on law enforcement and the prosecutor's office, to inform victims of these rights.
Victim Rights
  • Victims of violent and sex crimes have the right to receive, from law enforcement, at the time of reporting the crime, a written statement of their rights, including the contact information of the local victim/witness program. (7.69.030)
  • Child victims of child abuse additionally have this same right. (7.69A.030)
Trials and Sentencing Hearings (7.69.030)
  • Any victim or victim's survivor, upon request to the prosecutor, has the right to be informed of the date, time, and location of any trial or sentencing hearing for felony convictions.
Changes in Court Dates (7.69.030)
  • Victims of any crime have the right to be notified of any changes in a hearing date by the person who has issued them a subpoena to testify.
Final Disposition of Case (7.69.030)
  • Victims of any crime have the right to be notified by law enforcement, or the prosecuting attorney, of the final disposition of their case.
Offender Release (9.94A.612)
  • Any victim of a violent or sex offense, or felony harassment, who has requested notification, has the right to be notified no later than 30 days prior to the release of their offender from the Department of Corrections or a DSHS facility. (In the case of an escape, the notification shall be immediate)
Plea Agreements (9.94A.421)
  • Any victim of a crime against a person (9.94A.411) must be informed by the prosecutor of any plea agreement. The prosecutor must ascertain any objections the victim has to the plea agreement and the prosecutor must inform the court of any such objection. (9.94A.431)
Lack of Prosecution (10.99.060)
  • Any victim of domestic violence, as defined in (RCW 10.99.020), upon request to the prosecutor, must be informed of the intent not to prosecute the offender at least five days prior to such decision. That notification must include a description to the victim of the procedures available in that jurisdiction to initiate a criminal proceeding.