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Law Enforcement

Vermont’s law enforcement professionals play a vital role in ensuring victim safety and providing information about victim services, especially in the early stages of a case.

Information about upcoming trainings and opportunities to connect with professionals in other disciplines is available on our Events page.

Victim Rights

 Law enforcement agencies are vital components for upholding victim rights. Knowing what victim rights there are in Vermont is extremely important for law enforcement to know about, so they can share those rights with victims. By sharing victim rights with victims, law enforcement is assisting those in need and building stronger communities.

It is important to note that the law enforcement agency investigating the crime is required to provide victims with the following information in writing after initial contact is made:

  • An explanation of his or her rights
  • Information about available assistance to victims:
    • Local medical, housing, counseling, and emergency services
    • Victims Compensation
    • Protection for victims, including protective orders
    • Access to public records
  • Notice of the Defendant’s arraignment

For listed crimes law enforcement should also provide the following:

  • Information about the identity of the individual accused of committing the crime, unless doing so would compromise the investigation
  • Information about whether the individual accused has been taken into custody
  • Information about bail or conditions of release ordered by the court prior to arraignment
  • The file number of the case and contact information for the law enforcement officer who is investigating it
  • Contact information for the prosecutor
  • An explanation about the victim’s right to refuse to answer questions about the case outside of the courtroom or deposition

See 13 V.S.A. § 5314 and 13 V.S.A. § 5308.

For crimes committed by minors, law enforcement is required to notify victims of the existence of a private civil right of action against the minor’s parents under 15 V.S.A. § 901.

Law enforcement is also required to take reasonable care of property while holding it for evidentiary or investigatory purposes. Unless the property is deemed contraband or is subject to forfeiture, law enforcement is required to notify victims that their property is available to be picked up once it is no longer needed for evidentiary purposes.

See 13 V.S.A. 5311.