Services to Victims of Juvenile Crime
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 :
- 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.
Definition of a Victim of Juvenile Crime
- 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).
Victims of Juvenile Crime in Texas Have the Right to:
- 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 Criminal
- 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 proceedings.
- Be present at
all public court proceedings.
- Any other right
appropriate to the victim of an adult offender.
See the complete text
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 (TJJD).
- 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 Criminal
- The name, address, and telephone number of an appropriate TJJD employee to contact for
By law, certain information
is confidential. For example, TJJD is not allowed to reveal the following:
- 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 the Texas Juvenile Justice Department '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. A Victim Empathy component is included in the treatment program, for example: demonstrate empathic responses to peers and
victims and consistently consider others' feelings before acting.
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