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Your Rights as a Survivor

For survivors of sexual assault, the criminal justice system can feel overwhelming, confusing, and difficult to understand. The Massachusetts Victim Bill of Rights exists to help crime victims understand their rights.

Some sections of this law apply to survivors of sexual assault:

  • You have the right to be informed of how a criminal case progresses through the system and what your role is in the process.
  • You have the right to be notified of the outcome of the case.
  • You have the right to be present at all court proceedings unless you are required to testify and the judge determines that your testimony may be influenced by your presence.
  • You have the right to present a Victim Impact Statement to the court.
  • If eligible, you have the right to apply for Victim Compensation for certain expenses, such as medical, counseling, or lost wages acquired as a direct result of the crime.

If you need help understanding or accessing your rights, you can contact The Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance. Advocates at your local Rape Crisis Center may be able to provide additional information or you can call an advocate at the Forensic Information Line at 866-463-3799.

Forensics for Survivors © 2015 All Rights Reserved

This project was supported by Grant #2009-WF-AX-0014 awarded by the Violence Against Women Grants Office, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security Office of Grants & Research and subgranted to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. Points of view in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety Programs Division.


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