The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) is committed to providing victims of juvenile crime their rights under the law, ensuring that they are informed, involved, and treated with dignity, fairness, and respect.
The Texas Juvenile Justice Department :
Definition of a Victim of Juvenile Crime
- Affords victims of juvenile crime their rights under the law, and recognizes their
- Upon request, provides victims of juvenile crime accurate and timely information
in accordance with agency policy.
- Assists victims by acting as a referral source to available services.
- Ensures that TJJD personnel are trained in victim sensitivity issues and rights.
- Develops youth awareness of how their delinquent behavior victimizes others.
Victims of Juvenile Crime in Texas Have the Right to:
- A person who as the result of the delinquent conduct of a child suffers a financial
loss or personal injury or harm (Texas Family Code 57.001).
- Protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution
- Have the court take the safety of the victim into consideration in determining whether
the child should be detained before adjudication.
- Information about relevant court proceedings
- Information concerning the procedures of the juvenile justice system, including
preliminary investigation and deferred prosecution; and appeal of the case.
- Provide information to a juvenile court conducting the disposition hearing.
- Information regarding compensation to victims.
- Information about procedures for transfer to parole supervision or transfer to the
pardons and paroles division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
- Participate in the transfer process.
- Provide to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department information to be considered by
the commission before the transfer to parole.
- Information about the transfer to parole supervision or the Texas Department of
- Be provided with a separate or secure waiting area from other witnesses, including
the child, before testifying at any proceedings.
- Prompt return of any property that is held as evidence, when the property is no
longer needed for that purpose.
- Have the attorney for the state notify the employer of the victim, if requested,
when the victim needs to be away from work for testimony or cooperation in court
- Be present at all public court proceedings.
- Any other right appropriate to the victim of an adult offender.
See the complete text of Chapter 57 of the Family Code
(link to Texas Legislative Council site).
Upon request, the victim may be notified of:
- The offender's commitment to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
- The minimum length of stay or length of the sentence.
- Movements between placements within TJJD.
- When the offender is to be considered for placement on parole, or transfer to the
Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
- When the offender is transferred to parole status or to the Texas Department of
- The name, address, and telephone number of an appropriate TJJD employee to contact
for additional information.
By law, certain information is confidential. For example, TJJD is not allowed to
reveal the following:
Developing Victim Empathy
- Assignment to a residential program if the program is for substance abuse or treatment
of a mental/emotional illness or mental retardation.
- Medical information.
- Results of assessments.
- Information in the chronology documentation of the youth's case file.
An important component of TJJD’s treatment program is the development of "victim empathy." Victim empathy involves learning to understand how the victim thinks and feels about the crime, and how the crime has affected the victim's life. Awareness of and concern for the feelings of others can help reduce victimizing behaviors and future crimes. TJJD staff use victim impact presentations as a valuable tool in group therapy to impress upon youth how their behavior affects not only the individual who is victimized, but also the families of the victim and the offender, and the community as a whole. Youth who attend the presentations have said that they never before understood how much their actions had harmed others.
Crime Victims' Compensation
Passed by the Texas Legislature in 1979, the Texas Crime Victims' Compensation Act
created a fund and established statutory eligibility guidelines for the provision
of certain benefits for crime victims. The revenue in the Fund comes from people
who break the law and pay court costs. The amounts vary depending on the types of
crime they commit. The Fund is administered by the
Office of the Attorney General,
Crime Victims' Compensation Division.
Services for Victims of Adult Offenders
For information on services provided to victims of adult offenders visit the
Texas Department of Criminal
Justice Victim Services Division.
Links to Victim-Related Information