The Victim Witness Program of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit was developed to serve victims and witnesses in a criminal case in Horry and Georgetown Counties. A Victim Advocate, which is a trained professional, is assigned to each case and will be available to insure that as victims and witnesses of a crime you get the information and help to which you are entitled to under the South Carolina Constitution.
Some of those rights include:
The right to be treated with dignity and compassion
The right to due process in criminal court proceedings
The right to be free from intimidation and harm
The right to be informed of criminal justice proceedings
The right to reparation and preservation of property and employment
Victim means any individual who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as the result of the commission or attempted commission of a criminal offense. Victim also includes any individual’s spouse, parent, child, or the lawful representative of a victim who is deceased; a minor; incompetent; or physically or psychologically incapacitated.
Victim does not include any individual who is the subject of an investigation for, who is charged with, or who has been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to the offense in question. Victim also does not include any individual, including spouse, parent, child or lawful representative, who is acting on behalf of the suspect, juvenile offender, or defendant unless his actions are required by law. Victim also does not include any individual who was imprisoned or engaged in an illegal act at the time of the offense.
As a victim, you are definitely a vital part of this process and the effect of this crime upon you is of great importance. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and express your need for assistance at any time. You have the right to attend certain hearings and participate at different points during the judicial process. Your victim advocate will keep you informed of these events and ensure you are afforded your rights at the appropriate times. If the defendant is convicted, you may register to receive status updates during the period of incarceration, appeals process and/or probation. Victims do have the responsibility to keep prosecution and post-conviction agencies informed of changes to addresses and contact information in order to allow for proper notification of trials, hearings, releases and so forth.