Victim / Witness Assistance Program

ATF’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program was implemented in 1999. Currently there are 23 Victim/Witness Coordinators located in each of our field divisions throughout the country. As a federal law enforcement agency ATF, is concerned about the problems often experienced by victims and witnesses of federal crimes. As a victim or witness you may experience periods of anger, confusion, frustration or fear. ATF is committed to ensuring that victims and witnesses receive the rights to which they are entitled and assistance to help them cope with the impact of crime. Treating victims and witnesses with respect and providing them with referrals and practical assistance benefits all.


The Rights Established Under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004

Image of a person comforting another person

The Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004, Title 18, U.S.C. Section 3771 provides that officers and employees of the Department of Justice make their best efforts to see that crime victims are notified of, and accorded the following rights:

  • The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
  • The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
  • The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
  • The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
  • The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
  • The right to full and timely restitution as provided by law.
  • The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
  • The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy.

ATF has victim witness coordinators located in each field division office throughout the country to assist victims of federal crime. The United States Attorney’s Office also has Victim Witness Coordinators located in each office that can assist crime victims with many of the rights provided by this statute. To learn more about crime victims’ rights visit the Department of Justice's Crime Victims' Rights Ombudsman website.


Where to File a Complaint or to Contact ATF

If there are any inquiries about the procedures for filing a complaint with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), please contact the ATF Point of Contact: Voice: 202) 648-8620


Who is a Crime Victim?

The Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004, Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3771, defines a victim as: A person who has suffered direct and proximate harm as a result of the commission of a Federal offense or an offense in the District of Columbia.

In the case where the victim is under 18 years of age, incompetent, or incapacitated, one of the following individuals would be notified of the rights available. If the victim is deceased, the rights would be transferred to the next of kin, which would include one of the following:

  • Legal Guardian
  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Sibling
  • Adult Children / Offspring
  • Another Family Member
  • Person Designated by the Court



Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Special Operations Branch
National Victim Witness Coordinator
99 New York Avenue NE, Room 7S 140
Washington, DC

Voice: (202) 648-8620
Fax: (202) 648-9616


Related Resources

Last Reviewed October 12, 2017