Crime Victim Assistance

Quick Escape

Our Mission

To positively impact the quality of life for the residents of Harris County, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Crime Victim Assistance Unit assists victims/survivors and families by providing crisis intervention, advocacy, and access to resources that reduce the impact of trauma on individuals and their families.


The Texas Legislature, recognizing the need for the identification of victims of crime and citizens who suffer personal injury or death in the prevention of crime or the apprehension of criminals, established the CRIME VICTIMS' COMPENSATION ACT to ease the financial and emotional burdens suffered by innocent victims. The Crime Victim Assistance Unit provides services such as Criminal Justice Support, assistance in applying for Crime Victims' Compensation, legal aid and financial assistance. You can call the Crime Victim Assistance Unit at 713-274-9369, or email at The Crime Victim Assistance Unit is open Monday through Friday, from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Callers who leave a message will expect a return call by the following business day. You can also text questions to 832-470-6772 in English or Spanish. Other assistance and information can be found below:


Article 56.02 Code of Criminal Procedure

“Victim” means a person who is the victim of sexual assault, kidnapping, trafficking of person, or aggravated robbery or who has suffered bodily injury or death as a result of the criminal conduct of another. A victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim is entitled to the following rights within the criminal justice system.

  1. THE RIGHT to receive from law enforcement agencies adequate protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts;
  2. THE RIGHT to have the magistrate take the safety of the victim or his family into consideration as an element in fixing the amount of bail for the accused;
  3. THE RIGHT, if requested, to be informed of relevant court proceedings and to be informed if those court proceedings have been cancelled or rescheduled prior to the event;
  4. THE RIGHT to be informed, when requested, by a peace officer concerning the defendant’s right to bail and the procedures in criminal investigations and by the district attorney’s office concerning the general procedures in the criminal justice system, including general procedures in guilty plea negotiations and arraignments, restitution, and the appeals and parole process;
  5. THE RIGHT to provide pertinent information to a probation department conducting a pre-sentencing investigation concerning the impact of the offense on the victim and his family by testimony, written statement, or any other manner prior to any sentencing of the offender;
  6. THE RIGHT to receive information regarding compensation to victims of crime as provided by Subchapter B, Chapter 56, including information relating to the costs that may be compensated under the Act and the amount of compensation, eligibility for compensation, and procedures for application for compensation under the Act, the payment for a medical examination under Article 56.06 of this code for a victim of a sexual assault, and when requested, to referrals for available social service agencies that may offer additional assistance;
  7. THE RIGHT to be informed, upon request, of parole procedures, to participate in the parole process, to be notified, if requested, of parole proceedings concerning a defendant in the victim’s case, to provide to the Board of Pardons and Paroles for inclusion in the defendant’s file information to be considered by the board prior to the parole of any defendant convicted of any crime subject to this Act, and to be notified, if requested, of the defendant’s release;
  8. THE RIGHT to be provided with a waiting area, separate or secure from other witnesses, including the offender, and relatives of the offender, before testifying in any proceeding concerning the offender; if a separate waiting area is not available, other safeguards should be taken to minimize the victim’s contact with the offender and the offender’s relatives and witnesses, before and during court proceedings;
  9. THE RIGHT to prompt return of any property of the victim that is held by a law enforcement agency or the attorney for the state as evidence when the property is no longer required for that purpose;
  10. THE RIGHT to have the attorney of the state notify the employer of the victim, if requested, of the necessity of the victim’s cooperation and testimony in a proceeding that may necessitate the absence of the victim from work for good cause;
  11. THE RIGHT to counseling, on request, regarding acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and testing for AIDS and HIV infection, antibodies to HIV, or infection with any other probably causative agent of AIDS, if the offense is an offense under Section 21.11(a) (1) [Indecency with a Child], 22.011 [Sexual Assault], or 22.021 [Aggravated Sexual Assault], Penal Code;
  12. THE RIGHT to request victim-offender mediation coordinated by the victim services division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; and
  13. THE RIGHT to be informed of the uses of a victim impact statement and the statement’s purpose in the criminal justice system, to complete the victim impact statement, and to have the victim impact statement considered:
    1. by the attorney representing the state and the judge before sentencing or before a plea bargain is accepted; and
    2. by the Board of Pardons and Paroles before an inmate is released on parole.

Article 56.31 Code of Criminal Procedure

Purpose: Crime Victims’ Compensation is a financial assistance program that helps eligible victims of crime with certain expenses related to the crime. The CVC program is “the payer of last resort” after primary sources of payment—such as health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, auto insurance, or Texas Worker’s Compensation—have been exhausted.

The program is administered by the office of the Attorney General, Crime Victims’ Compensation Division in Austin, Texas. Money for this program comes from court costs paid by criminals and deposited by each Texas county into the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund.

Claims may be approved for benefits up to a total of $50,000. In the case of catastrophic injuries resulting in a total and permanent disability, victims may be eligible for an additional $75,000 in benefits.

Upon approval, benefits may be awarded for the following:

  1. Medical, hospital, physical therapy or nursing care – limited to $50,000
  2. Psychiatric care or counseling – Compensation is limited to 60 sessions for crimes.
  3. One-time relocation assistance for victims of family violence or a victim of sexual assault who is assaulted at the victim’s place of residence not to exceed $2,000 for moving expenses plus three (3) months of rent/not exceed $1,800.
  4. Loss of wages and travel reimbursement due to participation in, or attendance at, the investigation, prosecutorial or judicial processes and/or reimbursement for travel costs to attend and witness an execution.
    • Loss of wages is limited to $700 per week. Travel over 20 miles one way to medical/mental and/or criminal justice proceedings, or a victim’s funeral. Food/lodging for travel over 60 miles (one way)
  5. Bereavement leave for an immediate family member or household member of a deceased victim, not more than 10 workdays
  6. Care of a child or dependent (new expense), $300 per week per child – compensation is limited to 52 weeks.
  7. Funeral and burial expense not to exceed $6,500
  8. Crime scene clean-up costs not to exceed $2,250
  9. Replacement costs for property seized as evidence or rendered unusable as a result of the investigation, not to exceed $1,000
  10. Attorney fees for assistance in filing the Crime Victim’s Compensation application and in obtaining benefits, if the claim is approved. Compensation is limited to the lesser of $300 or 25% of compensation. Upon appeal an attorney may be entitled to 25 percent of compensation directly relating to the attorney’s assistance.

Additional benefits for victims who have suffered a catastrophic injury include:

  1. Making a home or car accessible
  2. Job training and vocational rehabilitation
  3. Training in the use of special appliances
  4. Home health care
  5. Reimbursement of lost wages
  6. Rehabilitation technology, long-term medical equipment, and durable medical equipment.

Reimbursement for property damage or theft is not an eligible expense.

Notice to Adult Victims of Family Violence

It is a crime for any person to cause you physical injury or harm, even if that person is a member or former member of your family or household.

Please tell the investigating peace officer:

  • IF you, your child, or any other household resident has been injured; or
  • IF you feel you are going to be in danger when the officer leaves or later.

You have the right to:

  • ASK the local prosecutor to file a criminal complaint against the person committing family violence; and
  • APPLY to a court for an order to protect you (you should consult a legal aid office, a prosecuting attorney, or a private attorney). You cannot be charged a fee by a court in connection with filing, serving, or entering a protective order. For example, the court can enter an order that:
    • The abuser not commit further acts of violence;
    • The abuser not threaten, harass, or contact you at home;
    • Directs the abuser to leave your household; and
    • Establishes temporary custody of the children and directs the abuser not to interfere with the children or any property.



After a hearing, the court may enter a PROTECTIVE ORDER. This Protective Order may be good for up to two (2) years. A VIOLATION OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF A PROTECTIVE ORDER IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. Law Enforcement should be notified if an individual violates a Protective order by committing family violence, directly communicating with a family member in a threatening or harassing manner, or by going to or near the residence or place of employment as described in the protective order. A court may, in its orders establish temporary custody of children.


If charges are filed against the person who committed family violence against you, then the police officer investigating your case, the prosecutor, or you, may ask the court for an emergency order. The order can prohibit the person who committed family violence against you from committing further acts of violence against you; threatening or harassing you and; going to or near your residence, your place of employment and any school or child care facility regularly attended by your child or children. A Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection is good for up to 61 days. It allows criminal charges to be brought against the person who committed family violence against you, if that person violates the order. The order may be entered when the person who committed family violence against you is brought before the court, such as during arraignment.


Prior to a hearing, a court may enter an EX-PARTE PROTECTIVE ORDER. This order may direct the abuser to stay away from your residence and/or work addresses and order the abuser to refrain from abusing you in the future. If any provision of an EX-PARTE PROTECTIVE ORDER has been violated, you should immediately notify the attorney who drafted it or call the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in October 2000. The legislation was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of noncitizens and other crimes, while also protecting victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. The legislation also helps law enforcement agencies to better serve victims of crimes.

U Nonimmigrant Eligibility

You may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if:

  • You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
  • You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
  • You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf (see glossary for definition of ‘next friend’).
  • You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
  • The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
  • You are admissible to the United States. If you are not admissible, you may apply for a waiver on a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant.

For more information, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services web page, Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status | USCIS, call the Crime Victim Assistance Unit at 713-274-9369, or send an email to

What is Texas V.I.N.E.?

A free service for crime victims and other concerned citizens. VINE provides basic information on jailed offenders and scheduled court events. This victim notification network notifies registered users of changes in offender jail status and court cases. Available 24 hours a day 7 days a week in English or Spanish.

The following are ways to obtain offender information:
  • Call toll-free 1-877-894-8463 to Texas V.I.N.E.
  • Visit the Texas V.I.N.E. website
  • Call the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Public Information line at 713-755-5300
  • Visit the Harris County Sheriff’s Office website and click on the Jail Info link
You will need one or more of the following to obtain information:
  • Full name of the offender
  • Date of birth of the offender
  • Case number
  • SPN-System Person or Offender number

VINE Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register with Texas V.I.N.E.?

When the original report is made and defendant has been booked into the custody of the Harris County Jail you will automatically be registered into the system by the reporting deputy. You will be given a PIN number. The default PIN number will be the last four digits of the contact telephone number given to the reporting deputy by the victim.

How will I be notified that the offender is being released?

You will receive an automated telephone call from Texas V.I.N.E. when the following occurs:

  • The offender is being released or transferred from custody.
  • A court event has been set or changed
  • The offender has died in jail or escaped.
How will the Texas V.I.N.E. system know that I am the victim?

The system will ask for your PIN number (last four digits of the contact number given to the reporting deputy) that was provided to you at the time the report was generated. You will enter the number using the keypad on the telephone you are dialing from.

Can I register more than one telephone number?

Yes. However, you will have to contact Texas V.I.N.E. at 1-877-894-8463.

Why do I need a PIN?

A PIN number is required to register as a victim in the Texas V.I.N.E. system. The PIN number is also required to un-register as a victim in Texas V.I.N.E.

Receiving a Notification Call

You will receive an automated telephone call from V.I.N.E. when the following occurs:

  • The offender is being released or transferred.
  • A court event has been set or changed.
  • The offender has died in jail or escapes.

You will receive a notification call every 2 hours for a 24 hour period or until you enter your PIN number to acknowledge receipt of the call. Entering your PIN number when the system requires it will discontinue calls until the next offender jail or case status change.

Directory & Additional Resources