Frequently Asked Questions

What help is available to me as a victim of crime?

Victim Support Services provides a 24 hour crisis hotline, advocacy services, courtroom support, medical advocacy, information, and referrals.

How much do your services cost?

All of our advocacy services are free.

 

I haven’t reported the incident to the police, can you still help me?

Yes, there is no requirement that you report to police to obtain our services.

Do I have to be a US citizen to receive help?

Your immigration status does not prevent you from receiving our services.

Do you offer services outside of Washington?

Our direct services are located  in Island, King, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties in Washington State.  If you live outside of our service area we can make a referral to an appropriate agency in your area.  You can also use the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Connect Directory to locate assistance in your area.

 

Do you help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault?

We refer victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to local agencies that specialize in this service.

Do you offer services in languages other than English?

We utilize the AT&T Language line for callers who speak a language other than English. If you are meeting with an advocate in person and need an interpreter, one will be provided to you.

What rights do I have as a crime victim?

Washington State has several laws which protect crime victims’ rights.

 

What kind of support groups do you provide?

We offer a facilitated peer support group for survivors of homicide victims. Contact your local advocate for more information.

 

How can I make an appointment to meet with an advocate?

You may call any of the Victim Support Services Advocates directly to schedule an appointment. If you do not know the name of the advocate in your area please call 888-288-9221 and we will be happy to assist you in connecting with them.

I have medical bills after the crime, is there help for me?

The Crime Victim Compensation Program through Washington State Department of Labor and Industries can help victims of crime with medical bills and funeral expenses.  An advocate can help you determine if you qualify for this or other programs, and can help you with the application process.

 

What is crime victim’s compensation?

Crime Victims Compensation (CVC) is a program through the Department of Labor and Industries. Victims of violent crime can fill out an application to see if they qualify for assistance. An advocate can help you complete the paperwork.

 

Is it necessary for me to attend court?

You have the right to attend every court hearing where the defendant is present, but it is not necessary that you do so.  If you are a witness to the crime the prosecutor’s office may ask you to testify if the case goes to trial.  Advocates can provide court support with you or on your behalf and take notes for you.  It is a very personal decision of how much, when and if you would like to go to court.

I would like to attend all of the court hearings but if I am not available, can someone go for me?

An advocate from VSS will make every attempt to attend the court hearings on your behalf. If the advocate is unavailable, communication with the Victim/Witness Advocate at the Prosecutors office can supply you with the information on what was discussed at the court hearing.

What is a Victim Impact Statement?

A Victim Impact Statement is a written or oral statement presented to the court at the defendant’s sentencing.  Victims or survivors have a legal right to inform the judge about how the crime has affected their lives and can ask that a defendant receive a particular sentence.

 

How can I get my story to the media?

An advocate can facilitate your interactions with the media, or help you request privacy if you wish.  It is important to first speak with the law enforcement agency that is investigating the crime so that what you report does not compromise the investigation.

How can I find out if an offender is in custody?

You may search for an offender and sign up for victim notification services through WA SAVIN/VineLink which is a free and confidential service.  You can sign up to be notified by phone or email.

 

How do I volunteer?

Volunteers are vital to the work we do. We invite you to explore the ways in which your talents will be utilized best.  Contact our Outreach Coordinator, Julie Thomas, for more information.

 

How can I support victim services?

Victim Support Services is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization, Tax ID # 91-0993005. We depend on donations and grants to provide free services to victims of crime.  You can make a donation by mail, phone, or through our secure donation site.

We also accept donations of practical items that help lower our day to day expenses or provide needed items for crime victims.

How can I arrange to have someone come to my group and speak about victims issues?

We are always happy to share our services with the community. You can contact our Outreach Coordinator, Julie Thomas, to schedule a presentation.