Victim & Witness Services
Victim/Witness Assistance Unit
The Victim/Witness Assistance Unit provides advocacy and information about the court process to victims and witnesses of crime, as well as information about victim rights and referrals to community resources. These services are offered in accordance with the Massachusetts Victim Bill of Rights (Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 258B). The Massachusetts Victims Bill of Rights establishes rights and services for crime victims to ensure they have a meaningful role in the criminal justice system. Crime can significantly impact a victim’s safety, emotional and physical health, and financial security, as they navigate the complex and often intimidating criminal justice system. Certain rights within the law also apply to witnesses and extend to a victim’s family member, if the victim is a minor or deceased.
Advocates provide support to victims of violent crimes and assist victims of domestic violence in filing for abuse prevention orders (restraining orders) and harassment prevention orders.
Victim/Witness Advocates are available in courtrooms located in the Berkshire Superior Court, three district courts, two juvenile courts, Massachusetts Appeals Court, and Supreme Judicial Court. Specialized advocates are assigned to work with the Child Abuse Unit and the Special Victims Unit which includes Adult Sexual Assaults, crimes against Elders and crimes against Persons with Disabilities.
Victim/Witness Advocates provide assistance with the following services:
- Notification and information about court proceedings and case status;
- Safety planning;
- Accompaniment to court proceedings;
- Information for filing restitution and victim compensation claims for crime-related expenses;
- Victim Impact Statements to the court;
- Notification of an inmate’s status or release from custody; and
- Property return.
Victim/Witness Assistance Unit Phone Numbers
- Pittsfield (413) 443-5951
- North Adams (413) 663-7306
For more information and forms, please download any of the following publications
- BDAO VWA Brochure (PDF) I do not have ready yet
- Victim Impact Statement English (PDF)
- Victim Impact Statement Spanish (PDF)
- Medical Restitution Form (PDF)
- Property Restitution Form (PDF)