Technology and Advocacy: Websites
In jurisdictions in which additional office help is not a viable option, technology can be a useful tool in providing assistance to victims and witnesses. Websites for prosecutors' offices, for instance, can be effective vehicles for disseminating a wide variety of pertinent information. Below are some examples of the kinds of information that victims may find useful.
- Court procedures. If victims have realistic expectations of the court process, they are less likely to become frustrated with the system. A Website should include a list of court events, with explanations of each and definitions of legal terms that victims may hear.
- Protocol on court dates. Protocol includes anything from directions to the prosecutor's office and courthouse to what is appropriate dress and behavior for court.
- Docket and case status information. Docket and case status information allows victims and witnesses to determine whether hearings and trials are still scheduled or have been postponed.
- Services provided to victims. An explanation of the services that are provided to victims and a list of frequently asked questions and answers, such as whether the victims are entitled to restitution from offenders or state compensation for losses, are helpful for victims.
- Victims' rights. Some offices also include their state's victims' bill of rights or constitutional amendments on their Websites. One of thesethe right to present a victim impact statementis very important to many victims. Information about what should and should not be included in a victim impact statement and a printable form may be appropriate.
- Miscellaneous information. Several prosecutors' Websites include information about programs, departments, policies, and other general information. Others include differences in procedures in juvenile court or information about sex offender registries. The information provided will differ from one community to the next.