State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy (SOVWA)
New Jersey State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy (SOVWA)
If this is an emergency, please call 911. This office does not have emergency services.
The mission of the State Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy is to:
- Serve victims of state cases handled by the Division of Criminal Justice
- Provide Court accompaniment, information on the criminal justice system, notification of court proceedings, and referral to services providers
- Coordination with County Offices of Victim-Witness Advocacy
- Operate the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program Coordinating Council which has oversight of the 21 County Sexual Assault Response Team programs
- Oversee the VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) system
- Develop standards and trainings for serving victims
For cases handled by the Division of Criminal Justice or for general questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-866-326-7206
Established in 1986 within the Division of Criminal Justice, the State Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy (SOVWA) has been providing assistance to victims and witnesses and their families across the State. The mission of SOVWA is to participate in the development, support, and expansion of victim services across the state. SOVWA provides direct victim assistance to victims of crime in cases investigated and prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice, including the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and Office of Public Integrity and Accountability. The principal goal of SOVWA is to ensure that the rights of victims are protected, and all crime victims and witnesses are treated with dignity, compassion, and respect. The Office strives to meet this goal through collaboration and coordination with our partners in the law enforcement community, public agencies, non-profit service providers, faith-based community programs, and the Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO).
SOVWA provides victims and witnesses in Division of Criminal Justice cases with services that help them cope with the aftermath of victimization and make their participation in the criminal justice system less difficult and burdensome. Some of the services offered are:
-criminal justice orientation and information;
-assistance with victim impact statements;
-referrals to counseling and support services;
-case status notifications;
-assistance in applying for benefits from VCCO;
-assistance with transportation to case related events;
-assistance with property return and restitution;
-requests for HIV testing of defendants and information on HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection testing of victims;
-referrals to resources for safety planning, security measures, and crime prevention; and
-providing information on protective and restraining orders.
Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE)
Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) provides victims with information about the custody status of offenders. When an offender is arrested or released from custody, the victim will be telephoned through VINE’s automated notification feature. Additionally, a victim may also access the custody status of an offender, whether housed in a New Jersey county jail, state prison or other correctional facility, 24-hours a day by calling the bellow toll-free number.
VINE Toll Free Number: 1-877-846-3465
Specialized Services for Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
The following programs are utilized by State, County and Local Law Enforcement, and are funded in part by the Office of the Attorney General:
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)
The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) provides victims of sexual assault, who are 13 years of age or older, with a prompt and coordinated response to their victimization. The SART, which consists of a specially trained law enforcement officer, a Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE), and a Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate (CSVA), provides victims with supportive and specialized services. In New Jersey, no victim is charged for the completion of a Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) Kit or a Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA)/Toxicology Kit. To ensure continuity of services for sexual assault victims, the SART works with local law enforcement agencies, SART-participating hospitals, the county sexual violence programs, as well as SOVWA. Please click here to learn more on Ending Sexual Assault
Domestic Violence Response Teams (DVRT)
The Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) is available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week to assist and empower victims of domestic violence. DVRT members are called upon by local police departments to offer domestic violence victims comfort, support, and information at the police station. The goals of the DVRT are to ease the emotional trauma experienced by victims, explain restraining order options that may be available, and provide referrals to community and legal resources. DVRT members are volunteers who have undergone a 40-hour training program to equip them with the skills to provide compassionate and confidential crisis intervention.
1) How to file a domestic violence restraining order; 2) resources for domestic violence victims; and 3) petitioning the court to dissolve the no contact order for defendants/juveniles released from custody due to public health emergency credits.