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Help for Texas Crime Victims
If you’ve ever been the victim of a crime you know that it can be traumatic and emotionally-draining, especially since the victim must usually testify against the person who committed the crime. Luckily, Texas crime victims have many free resources available to them to help guide them through the judicial process. The hard part is knowing which sources are credible and accurate.
As an attorney, I have found that the best legal resources come from government agencies, state organizations, and reputable non-profit groups. For example, the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Attorney General. and the Texas Young Lawyers’ Association (TYLA) all have freely accessible resources on their websites covering a wide range of legal issues including consumer protection, housing issues, elder abuse, and criminal law, to name a few. The following is a brief overview of the resources for crime victims each of these groups has to offer.
State Bar of Texas
The State Bar of Texas website is by far the best place to get credible and accurate legal information. The site has free resources covering almost every legal subject imaginable, including criminal law and the Texas criminal justice system. Most notably, the 28-page pamphlet entitled “The Texas Criminal Justice Process: A Citizen’s Guide” is a detailed overview of what happens when a crime is committed. The guide has detailed answers to the most frequently asked questions and includes a handy timeline showing the sequence of events in a criminal case. The pamphlet covers topics such as victim rights, victim, compensation, arrests and arrestee rights, pre-trial procedures, prosecution, confinement, and appeals. This is something every Texan should read. The information is invaluable to both crime victims and people accused of a crime.
Texas Attorney General
The Texas Attorney General’s website is another great place to get credible information about key areas of the law. The ‘Crime Victims’ section of the site details the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program and features informative articles about specific crimes such as child abuse, domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. There are also articles that explain a victim’s rights during a criminal investigation and court proceedings.
The Texas Young Lawyers’ Association (TYLA) website features several short videos and pamphlets covering specific crimes. The organization regularly adds new content, but the site currently has information about:
Child Abuse: “The Little Voice” is a short video and pamphlet that covers virtually every aspect of child abuse including how it can be reported and what happens when it is reported.
Domestic Abuse: “Healing the Wounds” is a short video that explains what domestic abuse victims can expect from the Texas court system when seeking a protective order, temporary restraining order, or divorce.
Cyberspace crimes against minors: “R U Safe?” is a short video that educates parents and children about online dangers. The video covers topics such as cyber bullying, social networking sites, chat rooms, “sexting,” and online predators. The video also discusses how to report cyberspace crimes.
Crimes against the elderly: “Safeguarding our Seniors” is a short video that describes the signs and symptoms of elder abuse. It also explains the process used to report elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
The information in this article is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice. The information provided is not intended to create, and viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.