Dane County District Attorney's Office

Victim Witness Unit

Dane County District Attorney's Office
Victim Witness Unit
215 S. Hamilton St. #3000,
Madison, WI 53703-3297
Phone: (608) 266-9003
Fax: (608) 261-9766
Suzanne Beaudoin, Director

Chapter 950 of the Wisconsin Statutes requires counties to enforce victim and witness rights. The Victim Witness Unit enforces those rights and advocates to ensure that victims and witnesses are treated with dignity and respect. Staff assists victims and witnesses throughout the criminal court process by answering questions, keeping victims and their families informed of case development, providing information and referrals to community service providers, assisting with restitution, and offering personal assistance when possible. Please contact us with any questions.

Victim Witness Unit Brochures

Witness Information

Crime Response Program

The Criminal Court Process

Domestic Violence Program

Children and Domestic Violence

Crime Victim Compensation Program

Tips for victims of crime: working with the media

Resources for Victims

Victim & Witness Rights

  • To attend court proceedings.
  • To be accompanied to court by a service representative.
  • To a speedy disposition of the case.
  • To have his/her interests considered when the court is deciding whether to grant a continuance of any hearing or to exclude persons from a preliminary hearing.
  • To be provided a waiting area in court.
  • To assistance with employers to minimize loss of income or benefits resulting from court appearances.
  • To request an order for and be given the results of tests for sexually transmitted disease or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • To consult with the district attorney concerning the case and potential outcomes of prosecution, including plea agreements and sentencing recommendations.
  • To make an oral or written statement to be read in court at sentencing hearings.
  • To have the presentence investigation writer make a reasonable attempt to contact the victim.
  • To request that the court order restitution, and to docket a civil judgment for unpaid restitution.
  • To receive information on the outcome of the case.
  • To have any stolen or other personal property expeditiously returned by law enforcement agencies when no longer needed as evidence. If possible, all such property, except weapons, currency, contraband, property subject to evidentiary analysis and property the ownership of which is disputed, shall be returned to the owner within ten (10) days of being taken.
  • In certain cases of violent crime, financial assistance is available but does not cover property losses. To apply, call the Office of Crime Victim Compensation at (608) 266-6470.
  • To complain to the Department of Justice concerning the treatment of crime victims and to request a review of the complaint review by the Crime Victims Rights Board.

Victim & Witness Concerns

Additional Information

Often victims and witnesses learn additional information important to the pending case. Please give this information immediately to the investigating police officers and prosecutor. The Victim Witness Unit can assist you in contacting the attorney assigned to your case.

Contact Information

Please notify the Victim Witness Unit of any change in your address or phone number.

Defense Attorneys

Victims and witnesses have the right to discuss cases with defense attorneys or investigators. Victims and witnesses have the right to ask that a police officer or prosecutor be present during the interview. Always ask for identification from any person who wants to discuss a pending case.

Juveniles

Police agencies, subject to their policies, may disclose to the victim the name and address of a juvenile offender and the juvenile's parents. (Parents may be liable for up to $5,000 for damages resulting from the acts of their child.) Juvenile contact information may also be obtained from the Victim Witness Unit. This information is confidential and cannot be disclosed to any other person.

Police Reports

Due to possible interference with a pending case, copies of police reports should be requested only from the Victim Witness Unit. The prosecutor will decide what reports can be released. After the case is closed, all police reports are available from the arresting police agency.

Property

The police will notify a person when their property is no longer needed as evidence. If you have questions about property held by the police or need the property returned quickly, ask the Victim Witness Unit for assistance.

Threats and Intimidation

If you receive any threats or other form of intimidation from your cooperation with law enforcement and prosecutors, call 911 immediately. Also report the incident to the Victim Witness Unit.

Victim Compensation

An innocent victim who suffers injury from a crime may apply to the State of Wisconsin for injury or death benefits up to $40,000. Injuries may include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of financial support, reasonable replacement costs of property being held as evidence and funeral expenses. The address and phone number is listed under Important Numbers.

Testifying

Subpoena

A subpoena is a court order directing a person to appear in court on a certain date and time. Failure to appear may result in an arrest warrant, fines and jail. Report to the District Attorney's Office before court.

Cancellations

Call the Court Cancellation Line at (608) 266-4456 after 5:30 PM the night before the hearing date to see if a case has been cancelled.

Fees

The Victim Witness Unit will assist victims and witnesses in obtaining witness fees and travel costs for attending court hearings.

Parking

Public parking is available for a fee (meters) at the Dane County Ramp, 113 S. Henry Street, Madison

Tips for Testifying

  • Always tell the truth. If you do not remember or are unable to answer a question, make that clear.
  • Listen carefully to the entire question before answering. If you do not understand, ask that the question be explained or clarified.
  • Answer only the question that is asked. Do not volunteer information, ramble or stray from the question that is asked.
  • Beware of questions involving distances or time. If you estimate, make sure that you state that your answer is only an estimate.
  • Speak clearly and loudly. The entire jury and the court reporter must be able to hear and understand you.
  • Dress conservatively and be courteous. The jury will be judging your believability based on many things, including your appearance and behavior in court.
  • Do not become upset with or verbally fight with the defense attorney. Remain calm and considerate and answer the defense attorney's questions truthfully.
  • If asked if you have talked to anybody about this case, admit that you have. There is nothing improper about discussing the facts of the case with attorneys, police officers, or other investigators prior to trial.
  • If you believe that you have information that the prosecutor may not be aware of, make certain that you inform the prosecutor immediately. If you recall a misstatement, point it out to the prosecutor so that it can be corrected.