Becoming the victim of a crime, having a family member violated by a criminal act, or witnessing a crime may evoke many emotions. Confusion, anger and frustration are only a few of the emotions you may be feeling as the result of being a crime victim.
To help victims through their experience, the Sheriff's Office has compiled the following information designed to help you better understand the law enforcement and criminal justice system.
As the victim of a crime, you are the most important part of the investigation, the apprehension of a suspect, and the judicial system.
If you are the victim of a crime, please:
- Report the crime immediately to the nearest law enforcement agency,
- Report the crime as accurately as possible, and
- Cooperate fully with the investigation.
By following this advice, you will increase the chance of apprehending the criminal and may help protect others from the same victimization. Please do not turn away because you do not want to become involved, for you may be allowing others to become harmed.
The Sheriff's Office realizes victims and their family members have special needs following a crime or crisis. The goal of the Sheriff’s Office in helping meet those needs is to provide an extensive, service-oriented support system for anyone impacted by trauma. The Victim's Assistance Program was implemented in 1991 for this purpose.
Victim’s Assistance was formed to ensure that all crime victims are treated fairly. Victims are to be treated with dignity, compassion and respect through the criminal justice system so they do not feel re-victimized. The program is designed to assist victims on an informational, emotional and social level in an effort to reduce physical and emotional suffering.
The Victim's Assistance Program is staffed by a full-time victim's assistance coordinator, a bilingual victim advocate and trained volunteer advocates who are dedicated to a 24-hour, on-call system. The advocates are trained to respond to crime situations in person, or by telephone, in order to give immediate support and assistance to the victim(s), their families and friends. Advocates are trained to answer questions the victim may have, to make appropriate referrals to assist with any community services, to accompany a victim during interviews, to provide courtroom support (if time allows or there is a need), or just to give comfort and support.
The Sheriff’s Office realizes the need to offer more than the response a qualified law enforcement officer can give. A deputy on the scene is better able to focus his/her efforts on the investigation if the victim is receiving the individual attention he/she deserves.