Victim Bill of Rights

In Massachusetts, victims of crime have certain rights as they participate in the process. In order to provide victims of crime with a meaningful role in the criminal justice system, Massachusetts Law (M.G.L. chapter 258B) provides certain basic rights to victims and witnesses.

These rights help to assure justice and fairness in the criminal system for victims. This list shows a summary of the basic rights that victims have in Massachusetts. For an explanation of each, visit the District Attorneys Association website which provides additional information about each of the major rights listed. 

• The right to an explanation of the court system and notice of significant case developments

• The right to notice of court hearings, and the right to attend those hearings

• The right to information regarding witness protection

• The right to information regarding financial assistance and social services

• The right to a prompt disposition of the case

• The right to confer with the prosecution

• The right to request confidentiality

• The right to a secure waiting area

• The right to information regarding witness fees

• The right to assistance with employers and creditors on financial matters

• The right of subpoenaed witnesses not to face employment repercussions

• The right to agree or refuse to be interviewed

• The right to confer with probation prior to filing of the presentence report with the judge

• The right to request restitution.

• The right to speak directly to the judge about sentencing

• The right to be informed of the final outcome of the case

• The right to the return of personal property

• The right to information about the defendant's parole status and release

• The right to be informed about possible civil lawsuits

• The right to display a photo of homicide victims

For more details and explanations of these rights, visit the Massachusetts General Laws website