Welcome to Brunswick County

Victim Witness

As a victim or witness of a crime you may be confused and frustrated by the judicial process. The Brunswick County Victim/Witness Assistance Program provides services to our community designed to assist victims and their families in dealing with their victimization and the complexities of the criminal justice system. In the past twenty years of operation our program has assisted in securing court ordered restitution claims in excess of four million dollars and has provided assistance to more than eight thousand victims of crime.


When Lezlie S. Green was elected to serve as the Commonwealth's Attorney for the County of Brunswick one of her priorities was to establish a victim/witness program to serve its citizens. Green worked for months to secure local support and complete the necessary grant applications for the federal and state funding needed to establish a program. In June, 1996, Brunswick County was notified by the Department of Criminal Justice Services funds had been awarded and on October 1, 1996 the Brunswick County Victim/Witness Assistance Program officially began providing services to our community. Betsy M. Draper was employed as the first Director. Having previously established the victim/witness program in Greensville County in 1989, Draper was familiar with what was needed to promote the office and secure continued funding all the while providing services to victims of crime. She served in this position until her retirement in 2023.

Mandy H. Knowles began her duties as Director on 12/14/23 upon the retirement of Betsy Draper. Prior to being named Director, Mandy served as full time Program Advocate since September, 2016.  Having previously been with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office for more than ten years, Mandy brought a wealth of criminal justice knowledge to our program. The program will continue to serve victims and witnesses of crimes under the knowledgeable leadership of Ms. Knowles.

Services Provided by the Victim/Witness Assistance Program

  • Advance notice of judicial proceedings;
  • Explanation of court procedures, your role as a witness, and/or a tour of the courtroom before you testify;
  • Crisis counseling and appropriate referrals to community and state agencies for financial, medical and legal assistance, counseling and other service needs;
  • Assistance in preparing a Victim Impact Statement;
  • Assistance in filing a claim with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund for medical bills, counseling, etc;
  • Assistance in obtaining court ordered restitution from the defendant;
  • Assistance in filing to receive notice if the defendant is released or transferred from jail;
  • Assistance with court appearance such as transportation and scheduling;
  • Employer/school verification letters regarding court appearances or other case related meetings;
  • In certain crimes you may be entitled to have your contact information remain confidential;
  • Assistance with the return of personal property being held as evidence;
  • Assistance from threats and harassment related to a pending criminal matter; and
  • Assistance in obtaining protective orders.

Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act

In recognition of the Commonwealth's concern for the victims and witnesses of crime, in 1995 the Virginia General Assembly signed into law the Victim's Bill of Rights to ensure that crime victims and witnesses are treated with dignity, respect, sensitivity, and that their privacy is protected to the extent permissible under law. A summary of the rights afforded crime victims are as follows:

  • Protection From Harm and Threats of Harm Arising Out of Their Cooperation
    • Information as to the level of protection available through federal, state or local resources and assistance in obtaining this protection.
    • Upon request, a separate waiting area shall be provided during court proceedings.
  • Financial Assistance
    • Assistance in having personal property being held as evidence returned promptly.
    • Assistance in having restitution ordered by the Court.
  • Notification Assistance
    • Advance notification of all judicial proceedings.
    • Notification from DOC and local jails regarding the release or transfer of a defendant.
  • Victim Input
    • Submission of Victim Impact Statements prior to sentencing.
    • Right to remain in the courtroom.
    • Right to be advised of negotiated plea agreements prior to being presented to the court.
  • Courtroom Assistance
    • Confidentiality of the victims contact information.
    • Use of interpreters and closed hearings if appropriate.
  • Post Trial Assistance
    • Shall receive the final disposition, in writing, within thirty days of the sentencing and notified of any filing of appeal.