Crime Victim Services

Victim Services and Program Information

Victim Assistance Program


The Victim Assistance Program was established to provide information to victims and their families regarding victims' rights, victim services, protective orders, and the Texas Crime Victims' Compensation Act. The Merkel Police Department partners with Regioal Victim Crisis Center (RVCC) and Noah Project to assist you with your questions. Victim Advocates can be reached 24 hours and 365 days a year. RVCC: Sexual Assault, Physical Assault, Murder, Robbery, Kidnapping, Stalking, etc. PHONE: (325) 677-7895 NOAH PROJECT: Family Violence PHONE: (325) 676-7107




Texas Crime Victims' Rights


As defined in Article 56, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a victim of a violent crime is someone who:

  1. has suffered bodily injury or death as a result of criminally injurious conduct, or who has been the victim of a crime involving sexual assault, kidnapping, or aggravated robbery;
  2. is the close relative (spouse, parent, brother, sister, or adult child) of a victim; or
  3. is the guardian of a victim. As a victim of violent crime, you have the following rights:
  • The right to receive from law enforcement agencies adequate protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts;
  • The right to have the magistrate take the safety of the victim or his family into consideration as an element in fixing the amount of bail for the accused;
  • The right, if requested, to be informed of relevant court proceedings and to be informed if those court proceedings have been canceled or rescheduled prior to the event;
  • The right to be informed, if requested, by a peace officer concerning the defendant's right to bail and the procedures in criminal investigations and by the district attorney's office concerning the general procedures in the criminal justice system, including general procedures in guilty plea negotiations and arraignments, restitution, and the appeals and parole process;
  • The right to provide pertinent information to a probation department conducting a pre-sentencing investigation concerning the impact of the offense on the victim and his family by testimony, written statement, or any other manner prior to any sentencing of the offender;
  • The right to receive information regarding compensation to victims of crime as provided by Subchapter B, Chapter 56, including information related to the costs that may be compensated under the Act and the amount of compensation, eligibility for compensation, and procedures for applications for compensation under the Act, the payment for medical examination under Article 56.06 for a victim of sexual assault, and when requested, to referral to available social service agencies that may offer additional assistance;
  • The right to be informed, upon request, of parole procedures, to participate in the parole process, to be notified, if requested, of parole proceedings concerning a defendant in the victim's case, to provide to the Board of Pardons and Paroles for inclusion in the defendant's file information to be considered by the board prior to the parole of any defendant convicted of any crime subject to the Act, and to be notified, if requested, of the defendant's release;
  • The right to be provided with a waiting area, separate or secure from other witnesses, including the offender, and relatives of the offender, before testifying in any proceeding concerning the offender. If a separate waiting area is not available, other safeguards should be taken to minimize the victim's contact with the offender and the offender's relatives and witnesses, before and during court proceedings;
  • The right to prompt return of any property of the victim that is held by a law enforcement agency or the attorney for the state as evidence when the property if no longer required for that purpose;
  • The right to have the attorney for the state notify the employer of the victim, if requested, of the necessity of the victim's cooperation and testimony in a proceeding that may necessitate the absence of the victim from work for a good cause;
  • The right to counseling, on request, regarding acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and testing for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection antibodies to HIV, or infection with any other probably causative agent of AIDS, if the offense is an offense under Section 21.11 (a)(1) [Indecency with a Child], 22.011 [Sexual Assault], or 22.021 [Aggravated Sexual Assault], Penal Code.
  • The right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, subject to approval of the judge in the case;
  • The right to request victim-offender mediation coordinated by the victim services division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; and
  • The right to be informed of the uses of a victim impact statement and the statement's purpose in the criminal justice system, to complete the victim impact statement, and to have the victim impact statement considered:
    1. by the attorney representing the state and the judge before sentencing or before a plea bargain agreement in accepted; and
    2. by the Board of Pardons and Paroles before an inmate is released on parole
The Office of the Attorney representing the State and the Sheriff, Police, or other law enforcement agencies shall ensure to the extent practicable that a victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim is afforded the rights granted by Subsection (a) of this article, and on request, an explanation of those rights. A judge, attorney for the state, peace officer, or law enforcement agency is not liable for a failure or inability to provide a right enumerated in this article. The failure or inability of any person to provide a right or service enumerated in this article may not be used by a defendant in a criminal case as a ground for appeal, a ground to set aside the conviction or sentence, or a ground in a habeas corpus petition. A victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim does not have standing to participate as a party in a criminal proceeding or to contest the disposition of any charge.




Victim Services and Referrals - Contact Numbers and Websites


Abuse Adult/Child Protective Services Reporting (800) 252-5400 Adult Protective Services Local Office (325) 691-8100 Child Protective Services Local Office (325) 691-8100 Abilene/Taylor County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) (325) 738-8060 Criminal Justice Local Law Enforcement Agencies; Merkel Police Department (325) 928-4766 Tye Police Department (325) 692-2610 Abilene Police Department (325) 673-8331 Taylor County Sheriff's Office (325) 674-1300 Abilene District Parole (325) 672-1495 Taylor County Adult Probation (325) 674-1247 Taylor County District Attorney's Office (325) 674-1261 Taylor County Adult Detention Center (325) 691-7422 Taylor County Juvenile Detention Center (325) 691-7462 Hotline Family Violence Legal Line (800) 799-SAFE (7233) Family Violence Hotline (800) 787-3224 Mental Health Crisis Line (800) 758-3344 Texas Youth Hotline (800) 989-6884 Homeless Hope Haven - Abilene, Texas (325) 677-4673 The Salvation Army (325) 677-1408 Love and Care Ministries - Merkel, Texas (325) 670-0246 Legal Taylor County District Attorney's Office; Protective Order Unit (325) 674-1261 Victim Assistance Coordinator (325) 674-1261 Legal Aid of North-West Texas (325) 677-8591, (800) 933-8591 Medical Abilene Regional Medlical Center (325) 428-1000 Hendrick Medical Center (325) 670-2000 Resource Care Clinic - Merkel (325) 928-0014 Mental OCEANS Behavior Health Hospital (24 Hours) (325) 691-0030 MHMR (Betty Hardwick Center) (325) 690-5100 Victim Services Crime Victims' Compensation (800) 983-9933 Homeland Security Victim Notification Program (866) 872-4973 Noah Project, Family Violence (24 Hrs) (325) 676-7107 Regional Victim Crisis Center (24 Hrs) (325) 677-7895 Taylor County District Attorney's Victim Coordinator (325) 674-1261 Texas Department of Criminal Justice Victims' Services (800) 848-4284




Crime Victim Compensation


Code of Criminal Procedure, Texas Crime Victims' Compensation Act, Chapter 56, Subchapter B Purpose: To compensate residents of the United States who suffer personal injury or death as the result of a violent crime, including DWI, Failure to Stop and Render Aid, and certain other vehicular crimes. Administered by: The Office of the Attorney General, Crime Victims' Compensation Division, Austin, Texas. Crime Victims' Compensation may be available to pay the amount of expense reasonably and necessarily incurred for:

  • Medical, counseling, prescription and rehabilitative services;
  • Partial loss of earnings because of a disability resulting from personal injury, participation in the criminal justice process, or seeking medical treatment;
  • Child care for minor children to enable a victim or spouse of a deceased victim to continue employment;
  • Certain funeral and burial expenses;
  • Reasonable costs associated with crime scene cleanup;
  • Reasonable replacement costs for clothing or bedding taken as evidence or made unusable as a result of the criminal investigation of a sexual assault;
  • Travel expenses necessary to participate in the criminal justice process and/or seek medical treatment;
  • One-time payment of certain relocation expenses in domestic violence and sexual assault Reimbursement for property damage or loss is not an eligible expense. In order to qualify for Crime Victims' Compensation:
    • The crime must be reported to law enforcement within a reasonable amount of time unless there are justified extraordinary circumstances.
    • Claim must be filed within three years unless good cause can be shown as to why the claim wasn't filed.
    • The victim must cooperate with law enforcement and prosecution efforts.
    • The victim must be the innocent victim of a violent crime who suffers personal injury.
Regional Victim Crisis Center and/or Noah Project will assist you in applying for benefits from Crime Victims' Compensation. You can also now apply online, click HERE for the OAG-CVC online process. If you feel you qualify for Crime Victims' Compensation, please contact the Crime Victim Liaison as soon as possible. For more information on Crime Victims' Compensation, you can access the Office of the Attorney General's website by clicking HERE or contact the Office of the Attorney General's Crime Victims' Compensation Division at 1-800-983-9933.





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The Merkel Police Department is a Municipal Department of the City of Merkel, Texas