Victim Services Division
In order to protect the rights of victims of crime, Prosecuting Attorney Mark
Sorsaia established a Victim Services Division in 1997. The purpose of this
Division is to inform victims and state witnesses about their legal rights, and
about the procedures that will be used to prosecute the cases in which they are
involved. Various forms of assistance are provided to victims of crime through
this program. The Victim Services Division of Putnam County has been an
extremely successful program, and has received statewide recognition. The
program is funded by the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community
Services and with the support and assistance of the Putnam County Commission.
The Victim Services Division will provide the following services to Victims of
Other important information of note:
- COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION: Previously, a common problem
concerning victims of crime was that they were not informed about the status of
a criminal case, dates of hearings, or how the case was to be handled in the
court system. The Victim Services Division was created to keep victims informed.
The Victim Services Coordinators will give notice of all court hearing dates,
trial dates, and possible plea agreements. They also serve as a liaison between
the victim and the prosecuting attorney. The Victim Services Coordinator will
express the victim's feelings regarding how the case should be prosecuted and
- ASSISTANCE: The Victim Services Coordinators will provide assistance
in preparing documents and organizing information that may be needed in a
criminal case, such as medical bills or property damage estimates for victim
restitution. They will also assist with completing the Crime Victim Compensation
Fund form when applicable, and aid the victim in writing a Victim Impact
Statement. This statement is a victim's opportunity to express to the Judge how
the crime has affected their life. One of the most important ways the
Coordinators can assist is by accompanying the victim to court and to
consultations with the prosecuting attorneys.
- PROVIDE INFORMATION: The Victim Services Coordinator will provide
information about support agencies and services that are applicable to a
victim's particular situation.
- The Victim Services Coordinators may NOT give legal advice.
- The Victims Services Coordinator may assist a victim if there are safety
concerns. Pending trial, most defendants are released on bond or on "their own
personal recognizance." NOTIFY local law enforcement or the Office of the
Prosecuting Attorney IMMEDIATELY if you feel threatened, intimidated, or
harassed because of your involvement in a criminal case. Under state law,
intimidation of a witness can be prosecuted as a crime.
- If you are contacted by the defendant's lawyer or by an investigator for
the defendant, it is your right to discuss OR refuse to discuss the case. IF
you do choose to be interviewed, be careful in your discussions and only make
truthful statements, as any statement made during the interview that conflicts
with your testimony in court could be you used to discredit your testimony. It
would be unethical for any agent of the state to try to influence you by urging
you not to talk with a defense attorney or their investigator. This ethics rule
exists because they have the right to collect information that may be helpful in
preparing their defense.
- You are permitted to discuss the case with either party; prosecution,
defense, or both. However, USE CAUTION! If you are uncomfortable with any
person regarding the case, immediately contact the Office of the Prosecuting
Attorney. In a free and open society, the public should be kept informed of
current events. Media interviews in criminal cases can have an effect of
creating pretrial publicity that may have an impact on the case, such as issues
concerning a change of venue. If you have any questions about giving a media
interview, please contact the Victim Services Division, or the Prosecuting
The Victim Services Division is always focused on crimes of domestic violence.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, please use this website to gain
valuable information. You may use the following links to provide assistance:
Domestic Violence Information >
Domestic Violence Forms >