Shelby County Sheriff's Office -
Notification of Victim’s/Witness’ Rights
Personal Safety Plan for Victims of Domestic Violence | Local Memphis Assistance Phone Numbers
By Virtue of being a victim/witness of a crime in Shelby County, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office shall provide notice of the following information:
- The Victim’s/witness’ rights under the Tennessee Constitution, Article 1, Section 35 to be free from intimidation, harassment and abuse throughout the criminal system;
- The availability, if any, of crisis intervention services, emergency and/or medical services;
- The name of the law enforcement agency and telephone numbers;
- The names and Telephone numbers of public and private victim/witness assistance programs, including the state criminal injuries compensation program and
- The procedural steps involved in a criminal prosecution.
The Shelby County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) recognizes the importance of adequate victim services. Responsiveness to the needs of crime victims is a SCSO priority.
Victims Rights are as follows:
- The right to confer with the prosecution.
- The right to be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse throughout the criminal justice process.
- The right to be present at all proceedings where the defendant has the right to be present.
- The right to be heard, when relevant, at all critical stages of the criminal justice process as defined by statute.
- The right to be informed of all proceedings and the release, transfer, escape or recapture of the accused or convicted person.
- The right to a speedy trial or disposition and a prompt and final conclusion of the case after the conviction or sentence.
- The right to restitution from the offender.
- The right to be informed of each of the rights established for victims.
The Shelby County Crime Victims Center (901) – 222-4357 (HELP) provides a multitude of services including referrals to other agencies. This is confidential and free of charge.
REMEMBER ... THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!
SAFETY BEFORE AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT
- Practice leaving your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, orstairwells would be best to use in an emergency.
- Have a packed bag ready and keep it at a relative's or friend's home in case you need to leave in a hurry.
- Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your horne.
- Decide whether you need to move out of your home and how to do that safely.
- Think about how to safely take your children if you do need to leave. Pick a "safe place" for your children where they can go, if needed, and where you can go to meet them.
- Decide on a place to go if you need to leave your home quickly. Do this even if you think you will never need it.
- Pick a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need help from the police.
- Teach your children how and when to call 911.
SAFETY ON YOUR JOB AND IN PUBLIC
- Tell someone about your situation - include ,security if possible and show them a picture of the abuser.
- Have a safety plan for leaving work. Have someone walk you to your car or bus stop and wait with you until you are safe. Drive home by different routes.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ALMOST ALWAYS REPEATS ITSELF AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CAN KILL!!!
SAFETY DURING AND EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT
- If a fight seems to be unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area where you can get out. Try,to stay away from the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or anywhere weapons may be available.
- Use your own instincts and good sense. Consider giving the abuser what he wants to calm him down. Remember ... safety first!
- Call the person with whom you have identified a safety code word.
- Tell your children to ca11 911; go to the safe place; tell the neighbors!
SAFETY WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
- Open a bank account or credit card in your own name to increase your options.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important papers, extra medicine and clothes with someone you trust in case you need to leave quickly.
- Identify someone who will let you stay with them or can lend you money.
- Discuss a safety plan with your child(ren) for when you are not with them.
- Inform your child(ren)'s school, day care, etc. of who has your permission to pick up your child(ren).
- Keep the shelter and hotline numbers with you at all times as well as some change or a calling card to make an emergency phone call.
- Review and update your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave.
- Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
REMEMBER - LEAVING MAY BE YOUR MOST DANGEROUS TIME!
SAFETY WITH AN ORDER OF PROTECTION OR IF YOU ARE NO LONGER WITH YOUR ABUSER
- Keep your order of protection with you at all times.
- Call the police immediately if the abuser does something the order says not to do. This is a violation of the order.
- Think of alternate ways to keep safe if the police do not respond immediately. Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows.
- Let your family, friends, neighbors and health care providers know you have a protective order in effect.
YOUR SAFETY AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH
- If you are thinking of returning to an abusive situation, first discuss it with someone you trust. You may want to call your counselor, the shelter at 725-4277 or another support organization such as the Crime Victims Center at 222-4357.
- Try to arrange to use an answering machine, caller ID or a trusted friend to screen your calls.
- If you must contact the abuser, determine the safest way to do so.
- Think positively about yourself and your efforts to keep yourself and your children safe. Read books, articles and spiritual literature to help you feel stronger.
- Join a support group to talk to other people in your situation. Attend the group at least three times to gain support and to learn more about yourself and your relationship.
YOU DON'T DESERVE TO BE HIT OR THREATENED!