Information for Victims of Crime


As the victim of a crime committed by a juvenile, you are likely to have questions about the services available to you from the Juvenile Court. The Rights of Crime Victims Act, passed by the Utah Legislature in 1994, gives a crime victim certain rights. These include the right to be treated with courtesy and respect, the right to a speedy disposition of your case, and the right to restitution for loss. The following information explains these rights and some of the court processes.

If the police report on your case names you as a victim and the juvenile offender is caught, you will receive a letter from the victim advocate or juvenile probation officer assigned to the case. This is the person you should contact with questions about the course of the case, and about your rights and role in the court process. The advocate's or probation officer's phone number is listed on the letter so you will know where to call.

Restitution (the amount to be repaid)

A letter will be sent to you that asks you to document your financial loss. It is important to complete the form as quickly and accurately as possible. If exact costs are not available then estimates may be provided.

Whenever possible the juvenile will be required to pay you restitution for your loss. Often, the juvenile is placed on a court work crew to earn the money to repay you. Unless the juvenile has been ordered (or has agreed) to pay you directly, a check will be sent to you from the court as the juvenile either pays into or earns money towards his or her account.

The court makes every effort to assist the juvenile to pay restitution. At times the juveniles do not comply, may become involved in the adult system or move and cannot be found, all of which make obtaining all of your money in a timely manner extremely difficult. Regardless, the court will continue to try and recover your restitution. It is important that you tell the court if you move so that you can continue to receive payments.

Victim Impact Statements

You will receive a form which, if you choose to complete, asks you to share with the court and the offender the impact the crime has had on you and your family. The information received from victims often impacts the court's decisions.

Notice About Testimony and Hearings

If your testimony is needed in a case, the prosecutor will keep you informed as to when you will need to appear. The prosecutor' s office will try to assist you in working with your employer to allow time off to testify as a victim or witness.

If you wish to be notified about court hearings contact the worker listed on the victim information which has been sent to your or your local victim coordinator.

Please be aware that most juvenile hearings are closed to the public, but as a victim you should be allowed to attend the dispositional (sentencing) part. Contact the court worker or prosecuting attorney if you wish to attend.

Safe Waiting Area

The court will make every effort to provide a separate waiting area for you to wait for court. If you plan to attend a court hearing notify the court worker involved, especially if you have concerns for your safety.

If You Are Threatened

It is a crime for anyone to threaten or hurt you if you are a victim or witness testifying. The prosecuting attorney's office can tell you more about the witness tampering law. Be sure to tell the court worker and prosecuting attorney involved if you receive any threats. Call your police department and file a complaint against the person making threats.

Return of Property

After your property is no longer needed for evidence it can be returned to you. You should contact the police agency who has the property or your Juvenile Court contact person can help you exercise your right to get it back.

Juvenile Court Process

Law Enforcement Role - Cases handled by the Juvenile Court are referred by the police and through the prosecuting attorney's office. The accused juvenile will be taken to a detention center if the law enforcement officer determines that he or she is a danger to the public and the offense meets legal guidelines. The majority of juveniles are sent home after being arrested to wait for further action by the courts.

Detention - Detained youths must attend a hearing with a judge within 48 hours (72 hours if a holiday is involved) of their being held. If the judge decides the juvenile will remain in detention, formal charges must be filed within five working days of the detention hearing. With some exceptions, detention is designed to be a temporary placement.

What Happens to Your Case - Once your case reaches the court it is assigned to a court officer who meets with both the youth and parent to determine what action is necessary. If the juvenile denies the charge(s), the court officer may refer the charge(s) to a prosecuting attorney for further action.

If the juvenile admits to the charge(s), the court officer has these options:

Request a hearing before a judge to determine an appropriate disposition.

Develop a "non-judicial closure" - This means the juvenile agrees to voluntarily comply with the court officer's recommendations: e.g.: payment of restitution, community service hours. If the juvenile fails to complete the agreement in the specified time then a formal court hearing will be held.

The court officer's choice of action could depend on factors such as the juvenile's age, past record, severity of the offense, attitude and family situation.

Victim Offender Meetings - Several of the juvenile court districts offer a program in which a skilled mediator brings victims and offenders together in a safe setting. The meeting allows victims to express to the offender the damage that was done, the feelings which resulted and to discuss ways to repair the harm done. Participation is voluntary. If interested contact your court officer or victim coordinator.

For more information call the State Restorative Dialogue Program Coordinators at (435) 986-5754 or (801) 578-3974.

Terms Which Might Be Helpful

Juvenile Systemvs.Adult System
Offender Criminal
Offenses/incidences Crimes
Disposition Sentence
True/not true Guilty/not guilty
Detention Jail
Secure facility Prison/institution
Pick up orders Warrants
Intake officer Pre-trial officer
Probation officer Field supervisor
Parole officer Parole agent