The City's Victim Assistance Coordinator (VAC) works for the City of Olympia's Prosecutor's Office. The VAC provides support for victims and witnesses in misdemeanor criminal cases that are reported to the Olympia Police Department with an emphasis on domestic violence crimes.
The goal of this office is to support victims and witnesses through the criminal justice process, ensure victims/witnesses are aware of their rights, assist with safety planning, help hold offenders accountable, provide resources/referrals, and improve services by being part of a coordinated community response.
Services We Provide
- Inform victims of their rights
- Provide victims/witnesses with charging status
- Updates on hearing, date, times and what to expect
- How to be notified of offender's release
- Help with Protected Persons Statements
- Help with Victim Impact Statements
- If available, attend court with victim
- Assist victim with defense and/or prosecution interviews
- Assist with trial preparation and No Contact Order hearings
- Provide victims copies of No Contact Orders and correspondence as needed
- Provide Crime Victim Compensation information
- Protection Alternatives/safety planning
- Information on restitution process
- Liaison between police, prosecution, probation, courts & social services
- Provide referrals, resources & training
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can I call for help/support?
What is domestic violence?
Visit our Who to Call page for our contact information and a list of resources.
What is a domestic violence crime?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used by an individual to establish and maintain control over another partner/person. Domestic violence consists of physical, sexual, psychological, financial and emotional abuse. Domestic violence is NOT consensual.
Abusive behavior is learned. Without intervention and counseling, the abusive behavior can increase in frequency or severity.
To survive, victims develop coping strategies and survival techniques in an attempt to avoid harm and injury. While victims attempt to alter their behavior to stop the violence the reality is they cannot stop it because they do not cause it.
Drugs, alcohol and/or stress do NOT cause domestic violence. There are many people who are stressed, drink alcohol and or use drugs that are NOT violent. The abuser may have other issues that may also need to be treated in conjunction with domestic violence counseling such as chemical dependency and/or mental health illness.
Think of your children...did you know that children who grow up in a violent environment carry this behavior and belief system into future relationships? Did you know that nearly 1/3 of all children who witness domestic violence demonstrate significant behavioral and emotional problems? Protecting your children involves protecting yourself.
You are not to blame for the abusive actions of your partner but you can take steps to help protect yourself and your children to become free from abuse.
How do I find out what is happening with a case?
A domestic violence crime is any crime committed against persons or property of another when there is a unique relationship between the defendant and the victim (i.e. spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, dating, adult roommates, etc.).
The City Prosecutor is solely responsible for pressing criminal charges...NOT the victim. The victim CANNOT drop charges. The City of Olympia can charge the defendant even though the victim may not want charges to go forward.
What should I expect at the first court hearing/arraignment?
Please contact Victim Assistance at 360.753.8408. Victims can be impacted in many ways by the filing of charges and our office would like to know your concerns, feelings as well as input on the case.
What is a Pretrial?
An arraignment is the first court hearing after the defendant has been charged. If the person was arrested, the arraignment will take place at 2:00 p.m. the next business day (on occasion this can change depending on staffing/holidays). If the person was not arrested but charged, that person will be sent a summons to appear for arraignment and the Court will set a date for him/her to appear.
All hearings are held at the Olympia Municipal Court located in the Lee Creighton Justice Center at 900 Plum Street, Olympia, Washington, 98507.
At arraignment, the defendant enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. On a plea of guilty, there is no need for a trial. The defendant may be sentenced and ordered to comply with a number of conditions to include but not limited to: no contact with the victim; domestic violence treatment; obtain a drug/alcohol and/or a mental health assessment; probation; pay restitution.
On a plea of not guilty, the case is set over to a pretrial hearing and the Judge may impose conditions of release. The Judge may order the defendant to post bail, abstain from drugs/alcohol, honor imposed protection orders. If you (the victim) do not attend but want to know hearing results, contact Victim Assistance at 360.753.8408.
In domestic violence cases, the Judge will usually issue a No Contact Order at arraignment (even if the victim does not want it) prohibiting the defendant from all contact with the victim and also restrain the defendant from returning to the shared residence. Please go to the “Frequently Asked Questions” section if you do not want a No Contact Order (NCO) or would like one dropped. As the crime victim, you can also call the Victim Assistance Coordinator about any NCO questions or concerns.
What happens after Pretrial?
A pretrial is the next court hearing that occurs after arraignment. The defendant must appear at this hearing and will meet with his/her attorney. The defendant’s attorney will then talk with the prosecutor to discuss the case and options.
At the first pretrial, the defendant and/or the defense attorney may ask that the case be continued to a second pretrial hearing. However, the defendant could enter a guilty plea or agree to enter into a legal agreement even at the first pretrial hearing resolving the case. If an agreement is reached and entered, the case will not go to trial.
As the victim, you have the right to attend all hearings in cases where you are involved even if there is a No Contact Order in effect. As the crime victim, you never have to come to a hearing unless you are subpoenaed.
A case can have several pretrial hearings for various reasons in efforts to investigate cases further, give time for a person to look into doing certain conditions, and/or conflicts attorneys may have with other cases.
What are the different types of Protection Orders?
If the defendant’s case is not settled at one of the prior pretrial hearings, then the case may go to trial. Before trial, there is usually a hearing called confirmation to actually confirm the case is indeed going to trial and also address legal issues before the trial takes place.
You may be subpoenaed to appear and testify at trial. If you are subpoenaed, you are required to appear. If you have any questions about pretrial and/or trial, please call Victim Assistance in the Prosecutor’s Office at 360.753.8408.
How do I modify or remove a No Contact Order?
Visit our Protection Orders page for details.
Visit our Protection Orders page for details.
Contact Victim Assistance staff at 360.753.8408 or firstname.lastname@example.org