You have rights. You are a crime victim. You are a survivor.
At the worst moment in your life, you will encounter many unfamiliar systems. In Illinois, the immediate surviving family members related to a homicide victim are crime victims, too. The means you are entitled by law to respect, to information and to services. You have the right to respect, information and help.
Chicago Survivors is here to serve you and guide you through this experience. Our services are free and open to all. We are not-for-profit and serve all families. We are highly trained and independent. We provide periodic check-ins, and you may call us for any reason, anytime, day or night.
Please call our helpline at 855-866-6679; it’s free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also get help by calling our office at (312) 488.9222
Chicago Survivors offers the following services:
• Crisis Response & Accompaniment
• 24/7 Crisis Hotline
• Victim’s Rights & Victim’s Compensation Assistance
• Funeral Planning & Vigils
• Comprehensive Referral Services (e.g., grief counseling, legal aid, housing, utilities)
• Community Flyer Distributions & Liaison with CPD
• Supportive Counseling, Practical Assistance, and Advocacy
• Assistance with Children & Youth Survivors
• Court Advocacy and Unsolved Case Assistance
• Community of Survivors: Adult & Youth Workshops, Events & Groups
Crime Victim Rights
You are a crime victim. You have rights. In Illinois, the immediate surviving family members related to a homicide victim are crime victims, too. Husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter. You do not have to live in Illinois and you do not have to be a U.S. citizen. Every family has rights in the aftermath of violent loss.
You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. By law enforcement, by hospital personnel, by Medical Examiner’s Office personnel, by the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Attorney General, even by the city-contracted vehicle impound. Every person in every system should recognize that you are a victim of crime and should treat you with dignity and respect.
You have a right to translation services if you need them. Chicago Survivors has bilingual staff (Spanish/English) and a real-time translation service available at all times.
You have a right to information and services. You have the right to know that your loved one’s body is being treated with respect, to know where it is, and what is happening.
You have a right to know the detectives conducting the investigation, the right to provide information about your loved one and any relevant circumstances around the time of the death. (You do not have the right to interfere with the investigation, and police may decline to share some information in order to safeguard the investigation.)
You have the right to know when an arrest is made, the right to be informed of court dates and the right to be present in court. You have the right to have an advocate in court, and the right to information about the prosecution of the case. During the trial you have additional rights. Chicago Survivors has a Criminal Justice Advocate who works in collaboration with State’s Attorney’s victims service program.
You have the right to financial compensation for your loss, within limits. In Illinois, Crime Victims Compensation is administered by the Office of the Attorney General. You must apply for compensation within two years of your loss, and you must be approved for compensation by the Court of Claims. If your application is denied, you have the right to appeal. You must file for appeal within 30 days of your denial. Chicago Survivors can help you in your application process.
Chicago Survivors is here to help you understand and exercise your rights. We are not-for-profit; our services are free, and we serve all families. We are highly trained and independent.
A relative who is arrested for the murder of a loved one, forfeits rights as the victim’s next of kin.
A family may be deemed ineligible for Crime Victims Compensation if their loved one contributed to the cause of their death (e.g., if they were committing a crime at the time of their death).