As a victim of a crime you have specific rights granted by the State of Kansas under K.S.A74-7333 et seq.
Victims should be treated with courtesy, compassion and with respect to their dignity and privacy and should suffer the minimum necessary inconvenience from their involvement with the criminal justice system.
Victims should receive through formal and informal procedures, prompt and fair redress for the harm which they have suffered.
Information regarding the availability of criminal restitution, recovery of damages in a civil cause of action, the crime’s compensation fund and other remedies and the mechanisms to obtain such remedies should be made available to the victim.
Information should be made available to victims about their participation in criminal proceedings and the scheduling, progress and ultimate disposition of the proceedings.
The views and concerns of the victims should be ascertained and the appropriate assistance provided throughout the criminal procedures.
When the personal interests of the victims are affected, the views or concerns of the victim should, when appropriate and consistent with criminal procedure, be brought to the attention of the court.
Measures may be taken when necessary to provide for the safety of victims and their families and to protect them from intimidation and retaliation.
Enhanced training should be made available to sensitize criminal justice personnel to the needs and concerns of victims and guidelines should be developed for this procedure.
Victims should be informed of the availability of health and social services and other relevant assistance that they might continue to receive the necessary medical, psychological, and social assistance through existing programs and services.
Victims should report the crime and cooperate with law enforcement authorities.
Criminal Justice System
Once you have reported a crime to a police officer, the report is reviewed by supervisors, and is then forwarded to investigations. You will be contacted and advised of the status of your case. If the suspect is identified and sufficient evidence exists, the case will proceed to the courts. There are several steps involved in the criminal justice system:
- Arrest (or citation, for certain misdemeanors)
- Preliminary Hearing (for felonies)
Domestic violence is a crime.
These cases may be processed through the Pottawatomie County Attorney.
Details of the crime may be made public.
As the victim you do not sign a complaint. The case is filed by the State.
Once charges are filed, you cannot dismiss them. However, your input is important and your opinions should be directed to the proper prosecutor to address any concerns that you have. If a police officer has probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, the officer shall make an arrest. It’s the law. As the victim, you do not sign the complaint against the offender. The police are the complaining witnesses and the prosecutor files charges.
Your safety is important – if an arrest has been made, the police will make a reasonable effort to notify you when the offender is being released from jail. If you are being threatened by the offender or others, call 911 immediately.
A Crisis Center advocate is available to assist you at all times to help you plan for safety and discuss options available to you. You may be eligible for a Protection from Abuse Order. A Crisis Center advocate can assist you with this process. The Crisis Center Inc. is available to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
What is Stalking?
In Kansas, as in most other states, stalking is a crime. Criminal stalking is engaging in “a course of conduct targeted at a specific person who could cause a reasonable person to fear for such person’s safety or the safety of a member of such person’s immediate family and the targeted person is actually placed in such fear.” K.S.A. 21-3438.
“Stalking” is defined differently for purposes of the Kansas Protection from Stalking Act. Under this act, “stalking” is the “intentional harassment of another person that places the other person in reasonable fear for that person’s safety.” K.S.A. 60-31a01 et. seq.
What you can do if you are being Stalked
First and foremost, you should think about your safety. Keep in mind, different stalkers respond differently. Actions taken that increase safety for one victim can, in different circumstances, increase risk for another. An advocate can assist you in developing a safety plan that takes into consideration your specific circumstances. You can contact your local domestic violence/sexual assault program in Kansas for this service. The following suggests are recommended by experts to increase the safety of victims:
- Report each incident of stalking to your local law enforcement agency. While officers may not have enough evidence to arrest the stalker, it is important to develop this “official” record of the stalking behavior. Keep in mind that if a law enforcement report is made, the information may become public.
- Be clear and firm. Some stalkers believe there are hidden messages within conversations they have with their victims that encourages them to continue the stalking. If your stalker is a former intimate partner or someone who believes you want to be in a relationship, it can be helpful to be clear and firm early on about wanting to end the relationship. The longer the relationship goes on, the harder it is for the stalker to get the message that you are not interested.
- Cease communication. Instead, let the “system” communicate with the stalker through a law enforcement officer, probation officer, or through a protection order. A formal letter from you, given to your stalker by law enforcement can document your fear and demand for no contact.
- Avoid contact. Try to avoid mediation, joint therapy, shared custody, face-to-face child exchanges, or other forms of contact. Avoid contact by phone, email, social media, or through a third party.
- Consider obtaining a protection from stalking order. A protection from stalking order may or may not be effective in ending the stalking. These orders tend to be most effective if issued when the stalking behavior first begins, and where violations of the order are taken very seriously by law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges. Keep in mind that the face-to-face hearing contact could be detrimental contact.
- Keep a log of all stalking behaviors, including the following:
- date of incident:
- times and places occurred;
- description of stalking behavior; and
- witnesses to the incident.
- Retain and record all communications possible, including but not limited to the following:
- phone calls;
- phone and text messages; and
- e-mail message.
- Prepare for your safety, taking into consideration the following:
- Critical phone numbers, such as law enforcement, friends, domestic violence or sexual assault programs, and other important people or services you may need after reaching a safe location, such as neighbors, attorneys, prosecutors, medical care, child care, or pet care.
- Keep a reserve of necessities in case you have to leave your home quickly, such as a suitcase in the trunk of your car or at a friend’s house; include money, medication, toys or items important to children.
- Consider having important documents such as passports, immigration documents, birth certificates, and social security numbers readily accessible.
- Alert people who may be part of your safety plan, such as law enforcement, employers, co-workers, family, friends, neighbors, or security personnel.
- A cell phone for 911 access (if you do not have one, it can be provided to you by your local domestic violence/sexual assault program).
WARNING: if your cell phone was purchased by your stalker, or their name is on the account, your stalker might be able to use its GPS features to locate you.
Other Safety Measures
- Consider whether any of the following measures would help decrease or prevent some of your danger:
- Changing locks, securing all spare keys;
- Installing outside lighting and trimming bushes and vegetation around your residence;
- Identifying locations that may be safe for you, such as police stations, local churches, or other public places;
- Getting an unlisted number or, if you have financial means, using a “dummy” answering machine connected to your published phone line. The private or unlisted number can be reserved for close friends or family and the stalker may not realize you have another line.
- Varying travel routes and other routines;
- Limiting time walking or jogging alone; arrange for others to be with you when arriving and leaving from work;
- Informing a trusted neighbor about the situation and, if possible, giving them a description or a photo of the stalker, asking them to call law enforcement if they see anything unusual.
- Try not to be alone at places the stalker typically contacts you.
The Victims Assistance Coordinator can provide information about the criminal justice systems and refer you to resources within the community
The coordinator can keep you advised about the current status of your case.
The coordinator can be a primary support for you throughout your involvement with the criminal justice system.
As a victim or witness of a crime, if you have any questions about a case please contact the office listed below or the Crime Victims Information and Referral Center.
Victims Assistance Coordinator
Crime Victim Information and Referral Center
Pottawatomie County Attorney’s Office
108 N 1st Street
Westmoreland, KS 66549
The Crime Victims Coordination Board was established to provide victims of violent crimes with compensation for the loss of earnings and out-of-pocket loss for injuries sustained as a direct result of violent crime. Out-of-pocket loss includes reasonable medical (including mental health counseling) care or other services necessary as a result of the injury. Personal property loss is not covered. A crime victim may receive up to $25,000.00. Funeral expense compensations are limited to $2,000.00
Crime Victim’s Compensation Board
700 S.W. Jackson
Jayhawk Tower, Suite 400
Topeka, KS 66603-2359
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