These FAQs are intended to provide general information about the services that SCVAN can provide regarding the criminal justice process and other legal issues that can affect victims. This information is not intended as legal advice. If you have questions about a specific legal matter, contact an attorney.

What if the offender contacts or harasses the victim after the report?

The victim should immediately contact law enforcement. There are legal protections in place for victims of crime, and a victim should not have to face harassment or retaliation. The victim should keep any text messages, voicemails, call logs, social media posts or messages, or any other evidence proving that the offender contacted the victim. Any witnesses to the contact should also give a statement to law enforcement.

Does the Solicitor represent me?

Yes and no. The Circuit Solicitor’s Office represents all citizens, not just crime victims. Their goal is to seek justice and preserve the peace, safety, and dignity of all citizens. Sometimes crime victims’ interests differ from those of the Solicitor, and crime victims have a legal right to seek their own attorney.

I haven’t received notification from the Court about a criminal case. What do I do?

Reach out to your victim advocate at the Solicitor’s Office for clarification and guidance.

Can I be accompanied to court?

Yes, crime victims can be represented by attorneys and accompanied by victim advocates and supportive family and friends.

What are my rights?

(A)To preserve and protect victims’ rights to justice and due process regardless of race, sex, age, religion, or economic status, victims of crime have the right to:

(1) be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse, throughout the criminal and juvenile justice process, and informed of the victim’s constitutional rights, provided by statute;

(2) be reasonably informed when the accused or convicted person is arrested, released from custody, or has escaped;

(3) be informed of and present at any criminal proceedings which are dispositive of the charges where the defendant has the right to be present;

(4) be reasonably informed of and be allowed to submit either a written or oral statement at all hearings affecting bond or bail;

(5) be heard at any proceeding involving a post‑arrest release decision, a plea, or sentencing;

(6) be reasonably protected from the accused or persons acting on his behalf throughout the criminal justice process;

(7) confer with the prosecution, after the crime against the victim has been charged, before the trial or before any disposition and informed of the disposition;

(8) have reasonable access after the conclusion of the criminal investigation to all documents relating to the crime against the victim before trial;

(9) receive prompt and full restitution from the person or persons convicted of the criminal conduct that caused the victim’s loss or injury, including both adult and juvenile offenders;

(10) be informed of any proceeding when any post‑conviction action is being considered, and be present at any post‑conviction hearing involving a post‑conviction release decision;

(11) a reasonable disposition and prompt and final conclusion of the case;

(12) have all rules governing criminal procedure and the admissibility of evidence in all criminal proceedings protect victims’ rights and have these rules subject to amendment or repeal by the legislature to ensure protection of these rights.

What is a Victim Advocate (VA)?

A Victim Advocate (VA) is a person who advocates for victims of crime inside and outside of the courtroom. They do not legally “represent” victims in the sense that attorneys do but play a very important role in a victim’s journey through the criminal justice system. Victim Advocates can assist victims with completing and submitting paperwork and impact statements for court hearings and can act as a liaison to notify victims of hearing dates and times. There are Victim Advocate positions associated with government organizations or community organizations. South Carolina law requires that police departments have Law Enforcement Victim Advocates (LEVAs) on staff to work with victims after a crime has been reported. The Solicitor’s Office Victim Advocate will advocate for crime victims if and when the case is given to the Solicitor. The Department of Probation, Pardon, and Parole and the Department of Corrections have their own VAs who work with crime victims. In addition to statutorily-mandated VAs, nonprofits may have their own VAs who can guide crime victims through the criminal justice process.

How do I get a copy of the incident report in my case?

To request a free copy of the incident report from your case, contact the law enforcement entity investigating the case.

What is the definition of “victim?”

Under South Carolina law, a victim is a person who is harmed as a result of a crime. When the victim is a minor under the age of 18 or otherwise incapacitated, the parents or legal guardians are also considered victims. When a crime results in death, the direct family members of the person who is killed are also considered victims. A perpetrator is not a victim. See S.C. Constitution Art. I § 24(c)(2).