Three Ways VINE Courts Supports Victims Through the Court System

VINE Courts helps victims by supporting them to break down barriers, giving them the best chance of receiving the justice they deserve.

Unless you are a lawyer, judge, or courthouse/law enforcement employee, having to go to court is often inconvenient, time-consuming, and confusing. And when you are a victim of a serious crime, such as domestic violence or abuse, court can be frightening. 

In the aftermath of a serious crime, it may be a relief to see the offender booked into jail and charged, but when you realize that you have to be face-to-face with that same offender in court, that relief can quickly turn to fear. 

With the whirlwind of emotions following a crime and offender’s charge, it may become difficult to understand all of the necessary legal proceedings, let alone remember all of the dates, times, and places where your presence is required. Fortunately, technology can help victims during these confusing and stressful times by helping to break down barriers, which gives them the best chance of receiving the justice they deserve.

A Solution That Puts Victims First

Since 1994, VINE has been protecting and informing victims, and today, VINE is the number one victim notification network in the United States. VINE provides automated notifications on an offender’s custody status, with data from more than 2,900 jails and prisons. In an effort to expand their victim services, VINE now offers VINE Courts™. 

Much like the timely and reliable incarceration updates that VINE provides, VINE Courts provides automated notifications for the most up-to-date information on court proceedings like hearing times, venue or date changes, and other critical events. However, this expanded service does more than notify victims of court details. Here are three key benefits that VINE Courts offers: 

  1. Reduces costs related to Failures to Appear: When a defendant does not appear in court, it costs both money and time. A single Failure to Appear (FTA) incident is costly due to labor costs associated with issuing a warrant, arresting defendants for FTA, investigating unresolved warrants, incarcerating defendants, etc. FTAs also drain the time of court personnel, victims, attorneys, witnesses, and others. By providing access to timely and automated court information, VINE Courts can save judicial systems time and money in FTA-related costs while providing victims increased peace of mind during a stressful time. 
  2. Allows victims’ voices to be heard: Victims of crime are always the experts of their situations, so they can exercise their choices and rights, for their own reasons. When a victim chooses to go through the legal system for a chance at justice, they may not realize the time, money, and resources needed to proceed. VINE Courts can break down many barriers that make it hard for victims to be in court. Having details readily available through an easily accessible platform allows victims to plan ahead to ensure that they have time off of work, transportation, and childcare, enabling them to have their voice heard in court. Victim input in court proceedings can impact the outcome of the case. When victims can testify or submit statements, perpetrators are more likely to receive a strict punishment for violent crime.
  3. Gives victims easy access to the entire VINE platform: VINE Courts gives victims and survivors the opportunity to contact a legal advocate, through the VINE Service Provider Directory, who can help them through the proceedings and accompany them to court. The effect of these advocates can’t be understated, as they can help increase the likelihood that the victim will show up to court and have the support they need to stand up in the same room as the person who has harmed them and share their testimony. VINE Courts also gives these legal advocates a helpful tool in providing this crucial support.

Giving Victims the Chance for Justice

Going to court is a major stressor for most people, especially for victims, but with VINE Courts, victims can receive peace of mind through the streamlined information of upcoming court proceedings. Victims receive 24/7/365 access to the most up-to-date information about upcoming hearing times, locations, court information, and more, which allows them to focus less on logistics and more on healing.

VINE Courts helps victims, families, advocates, law enforcement, and the judicial system as a whole with always-on access to court information for the entire lifecycle of proceedings, allowing this trauma-informed service to greatly improve the chances that justice is served.



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