The Victim & Witness Services Unit of the BCSAO serves the victims and witnesses of all crimes that occur in Baltimore City, regardless of the status or outcome of the case. The unit is staffed by a team of dedicated victim advocates and social workers who serve as liaisons between victims, witnesses and prosecutors.
In operation since 1977, the Victim & Witness Services Unit expanded under the Mosby administration. Since 2015, the BCSAO has secured a record $4.1 million in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant funds from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to significantly expand and improve services offered to victims and witnesses of crime. The grant funds have allowed the BCSAO to double the size of the Victim & Witness Services Unit, adding 20 new victim advocate positions that are assigned to every division within the various BCSAO units, allowing the office to service 11,198 victims and witnesses – 20 times more than the 546 victims and witnesses served in 2015.
The unit provides particular assistance to victims with emergency situations and special needs. It is the unit’s goal to help reduce and alleviate the additional stress that crime victims and their families often experience. The BCSAO’s team of prosecutors and support staff are committed to keeping the public safe, involved and protected. The Victim & Witness Services Unit offers the following support services for our clients:
- Advocates to inform and support victims and witnesses throughout the criminal justice process
- Bilingual advocates to provide services to all Spanish-speaking victims and witnesses
- Foreign and Sign Language interpreters upon request
- Referrals to the appropriate agencies and service providers if requested for services not provided by Victim & Witness Services (i.e. alcohol/drug rehabilitation, shelters, employment counseling, domestic violence programs, immigration services etc.)
- Court escort to legal proceedings upon request
- Special transportation arrangements for elderly, disabled and out of state victims and witnesses
- Guidelines and assistance for writing victim impact statements, which provide victims the opportunity to be heard before sentencing in the event that a defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty by a judge or jury
- Assistance with retrieving certain property seized by police as evidence at the conclusion of trial
- Assistance with requesting restitution or recovering court ordered restitution from the defendant
- Resources to address safety concerns of victims and witnesses who are experiencing intimidation related to a court case
Victims or witnesses of crime are encouraged to contact our office to see how we may assist you. Please also see our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the criminal justice process and resources available to victims and witnesses of crime.