Portions of this booklet were adapted with permission from the Florida Department of Health.
What Are My Rights As A Victim? Kansas Statute 74-7333 outlines victims rights, which include:
Victims should be treated with courtesy, compassion and with respect for their dignity and privacy and should suffer the minimum of necessary inconvenience from their involvement with the criminal justice system.
Victims should receive, through formal and informal procedures, prompt and fair redress for the harm which they have suffered.
Information regarding the availability of criminal restitution, recovery of damages in a civil cause of action, the crime victims compensation fund and other remedies and the mechanisms to obtain such remedies should be made available to victims.
Information should be made available to victims about their participation in criminal proceedings and the scheduling, progress and ultimate disposition of the proceedings.
The views and concerns of victims should be ascertained and the appropriate assistance provided throughout the criminal process.
When the personal interests of victims are affected, the views or concerns of the victim should, when appropriate and consistent with criminal law and procedure, be brought to the attention of the court.
Measures may be taken when necessary to provide for the safety of victims and their families and to protect them from intimidation and retaliation.
Enhanced training should be made available to sensitize criminal justice personnel to the needs and concerns of victims and guidelines should be developed for this purpose.
Victims should be informed of the availability of health and social services and other relevant assistance that they might continue to receive the necessary medical, psychological and social assistance through existing programs and services.
Victims should report the crime and cooperate with law enforcement authorities.
Coping with Sexual Assault This information is mainly for victims of sexual assault. It may also be useful for family, friends, spouses, or partners of a victim of sexual assault in helping a loved one through recovery from this experience. If you have been assaulted, remember that it is not your fault. You may feel overwhelmed with emotions and questions of what to do next. Sexual assault is a violent crime that is very traumatic. Below are answers to commonly asked questions.
1. What should I do if I am raped? Find a safe place. If you do not feel safe and feel that you may still be in danger, call 911. Contact a friend or someone you can trust. Call SOS at 800-825-1295 to talk with a sexual assault advocate. Do not shower, brush your teeth, or change your clothes. It may destroy evidence that could be used if you decide to report what happened to you. Seek medical attention. Whether or not you decide to report to the police, take care of yourself medically. Remember - rape is NEVER your fault.
2. What are my choices after I’ve been raped? It is your decision whether or not to report the rape to law enforcement. This is a decision only you can make, as only you know what is best for you. Whether you decide to report or not, you can seek medical attention. The hospital will not notify law enforcement without your written consent, unless otherwise required by law. If you are not cooperating with law enforcement, you will not be eligible for crime victims compensation.
Whether or not you decide to report, you can speak to a sexual assault advocate to discuss your options. An advocate is trained to help during crisis and after. The advocate will work to ensure that your interests are represented and your rights upheld.
If you decide to report, you will speak to a law enforcement officer who will ask several questions about what happened to you. When the officer completes the report, it will be given to a detective. You have the right to have an advocate, friend, or family member present when you talk with law enforcement. You may decide to have an evidence exam. Even if you do not wish to proceed with a report to law enforcement, evidence may be collected and sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for storage for up to 5 years in case you change your mind later. There will be no cost to you for the evidence collection kit; however, you do not have to have the evidence exam. It is your decision.
3. What happens at an evidence exam? You have the right to have someone present during the exam if you choose. Evidence is collected and includes looking for signs of physical injury, pelvic or rectal exams and collecting clothing you were wearing. Evidence will be collected from any area of your body that might have been in contact with the perpetrator. The nurse examiner will treat you for any injuries and will discuss emergency contraception and STD prevention.
4. If I don’t want an evidence exam do I still need medical attention? Yes, it is important that you receive medical attention if you have been assaulted. You need to protect your health. There may be physical injuries that you are not aware of that need to be treated. You can also be treated for sexually transmitted diseases and discuss your right to emergency contraception. You can go to your private doctor or a health clinic if you choose.
5. What kind of help can I get? A sexual assault advocate will provide you with information and resources that will help you through this difficult time including: - Crisis counseling for you or for friends or family members. - Assistance with the legal process if you choose to report. - Assistance with law enforcement agencies. - Assistance obtaining a licensed counselor.
6. How does the state prosecute the case? The county attorney’s office prosecutes rape cases. Not all rape cases make it to prosecution. As a victim of a crime, you do not have to hire an attorney. The county attorney prosecutes the crime on behalf of the State of Kansas.
Once an arrest takes place, you will be asked to meet with the county attorney who will be handling the case. Later, you may be asked to return to court to testify for the case. You are entitled to have an advocate present when you give your statement. The county attorney’s office has a victim/witness coordinator available to assist with communication between you and the county attorney. The SOS advocate will also help you through the process and keep you informed of what to expect.
7. How can I get financial help?
The Kansas Attorney General’s office has a program that may provide financial assistance to victims of crime. Victims of crime may be eligible for financial help through the Kansas Crime Victims Compensation program. This may help with medical care or prescriptions that are needed because of the crime, lost income, and mental health services. Victims who want to apply for help can contact a victim advocate at SOS for more information. 800-825-1295.8.
8. What types of emotions can I expect? There is no typical response to rape. You may feel many different emotions. You may feel ashamed, overwhelmed, angry at what was taken from you, or guilty that you were not able to stop what happened. You may feel that you are not in control of your own emotions as a result of feeling very angry one day and depressed the next. You may feel distress, fear, and anxiety. There may be disbelief of what has happened, and a need to “get back to normal” as quickly as possible. Whatever you feel is normal and is okay to feel. Talk to an advocate about options to seek counseling to help you through this time. Remember - Rape is NEVER your fault.
SOS is a non-profit organization that provides services offering safety to child and adult victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, abuse and neglect. SOS was originally established in 1976 and now serves six counties in central Kansas: Lyon; Chase; Coffey; Greenwood; Morris; and Osage. The SOS shelter and administrative offices are located in Emporia. County outreach offices are in Burlington, Cottonwood Falls, Council Grove, Eureka, and Lyndon. Programs include Crisis Services, Rural Program, Child Advocacy Center, Child Visitation & Exchange Center, DELTA Domestic Violence Prevention Program, and CASA of the Flint Hills.