As you or your child heals from sexual violence, Lotus is with you for every step. As part of our legal advocacy service for sexual assault survivors, we work with community partners such as protective services, law enforcement, prosecution, medical and mental health professionals to provide you with the information and support you need to receive justice.
Throughout the criminal and civil justice processes, our legal advocates provide education and support.
As a victim of a crime, you have legal rights, including protective services, victim assistance and notification. Learn more about your rights from the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and the Kentucky Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights.
If criminal charges are filed against my, or my child’s, perpetrator, do I have to hire a private attorney?
Not necessarily; when a perpetrator is charged with a crime the Commonwealth of Kentucky prosecutes the perpetrator. The Commonwealth Attorney represents the interests of the state, but also helps keep victims safe by prosecuting the perpetrators. You do not have to hire your own attorney in order to have a perpetrator prosecuted. However, you may always consult with an attorney about criminal or civil legal remedies. You can meet with a Lotus legal advocate to ask questions.
If I decide to drop charges, will they be dropped?
No; the charges are those of the Commonwealth of Kentucky so only the prosecutor can make that decision. Your input is considered though and you should make an appointment to meet with the prosecutor to discuss your thoughts on the case. A Lotus legal advocate can help you do that.
Do criminal charges or protective orders cost any money?
No; all are free of charge to victims.
If my perpetrator is charged, do I have to go to all the court dates?
No; you only have to appear if you receive a subpoena or are court ordered to appear. In almost all cases, you are permitted to attend any court hearings that take place.
How will I know about court dates or if a perpetrator is released?
You can register with Victim Information & Notification Everyday (VINE) at www.vinelink.com; you can register to receive court date notifications, protective order notifications, and release notifications via a phone call or email. The service is free and the perpetrator never knows you have signed up.
If my perpetrator is charged, will I have to testify at trial?
Possibly; because of the high volume of criminal cases, many do not have a trial. Many times, the perpetrator pleads guilty rather than face a jury trial. However, if your case does go to trial, Lotus advocates will assist you and be with you during that trial process. You will not be alone!
Is family or civil court the same as criminal court?
No. Criminal court involves the Commonwealth of Kentucky prosecuting a perpetrator to seek a deprivation of liberty/property by having a perpetrator serve jail/prison time and/or a fine. Family court is a type of civil court. This is where people go before a judge to ask for a resolution of some dispute. Sometimes the same allegations of abuse can result in going before a family court and a criminal court. It is important to understand they are different and you can ask Lotus legal advocates for additional help.