The Victim Advocates Unit helps the victims of crimes from the incident date all the way through the trial. The role of an advocate is quite unique. Though they are not investigators, their role in the Criminal Justice System is quite simple. They guide survivors of crime through the aftermath of the traumatic event 24 hours a day through crisis intervention, financial assistance, referrals to many of the excellent service agencies in our area. They also provide information on the Criminal Justice System, as well as serving as a liaison between the survivor and the investigator, and simply just being there to talk.
The Victim Services Unit, under the Criminal Investigation Division, assists victims of crime from the incident date through the resolution in the criminal justice system. The role of an advocate is unique in that their focus is solely on the victim, and ensuring victims receive all appropriate information and assistance, regarding their case. Victim Advocates are on call 7 days a week, 24 hours a day for crisis situations. In Domestic Violence cases, advocates can assist victims with shelter placement and orders of protection. In cases of violent crime, advocates can assist victims and/or their families with compensation from the State Victims’ Fund with medical, counseling, and funeral expenses. Two of the most important roles victim advocates fill is to serve as a liaison between a victim and the investigating Officer and to keep victims updated on their case. Victim Services is committed to ensuring all victims are treated with respect and dignity and are always there to listen to victims’ concerns.
The Victims’ Bill of Rights
"To preserve and protect victims' rights to justice and due process regardless of race, sex, age, religion, economic, status, victims of crime have the right to:"
- be treated with fairness, respect and dignity
- be free from intimidation or harm throughout the criminal and juvenile justice process
- be informed about victims' rights
- be reasonably informed about criminal proceedings
- be informed if the accused is arrested, released, or escapes
- confer with the prosecution before the case is heard in court
- be present at criminal proceedings where the accused has the right to be present
- be heard at proceedings affecting bond, bail, release, pleas or sentencing
- have reasonable access to documents relating to the crime before trial
- receive restitution from the adult or juvenile offenders
- a reasonable, prompt and final conclusion of the case