Who to contact for urgent help or to report a crime
Victims should call 911 to request urgent assistance. In D.C., it is permissible to call 911 to report crimes and to seek police assistance, even if there is not an active emergency. D.C. crime victims can seek urgent non-police assistance from the D.C. Victim Hotline.
Urgent Numbers for Victims of Crime—Who to Call First
Call 911 if you are in immediate danger, to receive emergency services, or to report a crime.
This 24-hour, non-police hotline provides free and confidential information and support to all D.C. crime victims.
I Need Medical Help
For emergency medical assistance, victims should call 911. Urgent medical assistance can also be obtained by traveling to a nearby hospital, emergency room, or urgent care center. The D.C. Victim Hotline can refer victims to emergency medical forensic care. For non-emergency medical assistance, victims should contact their regular health care professional.
I Don’t Feel Safe
Victims who feel they are in immediate danger or are threatened should call 911, and notify their assigned advocate, law enforcement officer, and/or prosecutor. Victims of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault who do not believe that the danger is immediate but are worried about unwanted contact can apply for a Civil Protection Order (CPO), which is a court order instructing a person to avoid contact with another person for up to one year. See page 30 for more information about obtaining a CPO.
Many other resources are available to D.C. victims to help regain a sense of safety. For instance, victims may be able to receive financial assistance to change their locks, or to move residences altogether. For more information about the D.C. Crime Victims Compensation Program, click here. Victims can also call the D.C. Victim Hotline to learn about what assistance is available.
I Need Legal Help
In a criminal trial, a government prosecutor will try the case against the defendant. However, the prosecutor represents the public, not any specific victim. Victims may want their own attorney to represent their interests and assist with legal issues separate from the criminal case that may arise. To learn about available resources, victims should contact the Victim Legal Network of D.C. (202-629-1788), which assists victims of crimes to connect with attorneys who provide free or low-cost legal assistance.
I Need Help with Costs Related to a Crime
A crime victim might need to take immediate action following a crime, such as repairing broken windows and doors, or arranging burial services of a loved one. Victims may be eligible for funding from the D.C. Crime Victims Compensation Program to assist with these expenses. To read more about the Crime Victims Compensation Program, click here.
I Am a Victim of Domestic Violence
Special resources and services are available to assist D.C. victims of domestic violence. For instance, advocates are available to help victims create a safety plan for their families, locate temporary housing, obtain counseling for themselves and their children, and/or pursue Civil Protection Orders. For more information about accessing services for domestic violence victims, click here.
I Am an Undocumented Immigrant
Help also is available for undocumented immigrants who have been victimized. In the District of Columbia, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers will not ask about immigration status, except in narrow circumstances, such as when they are investigating human trafficking issues. MPD officers encourage the reporting of crime, whether someone is a victim or a witness, and encourage cooperation with both police and prosecutors. MPD will not contact federal immigration authorities upon suspicion that a victim of a crime is in the U.S. without documentation. Instead, MPD should provide undocumented immigrants who are victims of crime or witnesses with information and resources about the protections and support available to them. Other law enforcement agencies investigating crime in D.C., such as the FBI or Metro Transit Police, may have policies about undocumented immigrants that differ from MPD.
Besides reporting crime to MPD, it is also important for undocumented immigrants to seek legal assistance. An undocumented immigrant who has been a victim of or who has witnessed a crime that happened in the United States may be eligible for special protections. Victims should contact the Victim Legal Network of D.C. (202-629-1788) to be connected to an attorney and for information about visas available to victims and witnesses of domestic violence or other crimes.