VOCA which stands for Victim of Crime Act and the grant provides funding for an incredibly important program that operates under the County Prosecutor.
The Prosecutor’s Office is generally associated with the investigation and prosecution of criminals and crimes.
But where there are crimes, there are also victims. And those are people that deserve attention, support, and advocacy, which is provided by the county’s victim witness unit, funded by this grant with a county budget match.
The three person unit provides support services for victims of violent crime throughout the victim’s involvement with the criminal justice system, including court accompaniment, notice of important court events, referrals for counseling and housing, and assistance with restitution efforts, among other activities.
The unit is particularly important in sexual assault cases. The victim advocates are a support resource for sexual assault victims and literally walk victims through the criminal justice process start to finish. Letting the victim know they are not alone and re-affirming that they are not at fault.
Through the program emergency shelter can be arranged for domestic violence victims. The team goes so far as to provide clothing for victims, if needed to testify in court, and they cannot afford the proper clothing.
The County Prosecutor and his staff, and the team working directly with victims, deserve great credit for a program that generally goes unheralded, but is vital for those facing the ordeal of being a victim of crime.