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The Division of Victim Services has trained and experienced Victim Advocates to work with victims, witnesses and their families throughout and beyond the criminal justice process. It’s our mission to ensure that you are treated fairly and that your voice is heard. The Advocates will provide the following services and more:
Victim Services staff members cannot take the pain away nor can they bring back a loved one, but they can help victims and their families meet the immediate and long-term needs created by crime in their lives.
Victim Services advocate staff can help you address the practical problems and complex needs of victimization and make it possible for you to reorganize your life and heal in the wake of crime.
The Division serves almost 16,000 victims and witnesses a year.
Help for Families in Homicide Cases
A homicide is always a life-altering event, and help - from funeral arrangements to counseling to victim compensation - is needed in the many months during which the case moves through the criminal justice system.
In one such case, an experienced victim services advocate provided help to the family of a 46-year-old owner of a small store in the county who had been tortured and murdered. The advocate provided court support on each of the many days the large family attended the trial. She advised them of their rights, she encouraged them to make victim impact statements and to submit notification forms to the Department of Corrections, and she provided valuable help in applying for compensation for losses. These services made the system accessible to this family who wanted to participate in the prosecution and needed to see that justice was done.
In another homicide case, a victim services advocate helped the family of a three-year-old who was murdered in Rosarito, Mexico. The child, a US Citizen and California resident, was on vacation with his aunt when he was beaten to death by her boyfriend. Both adults were arrested in Mexico. But the family encountered difficulties when they tried to retrieve the child's body. The advocate contacted the American Consulate where she obtained the in lieu of crime report from Mexican police officials. Within 24 hours the advocate put the family in contact with the American Consulate staff person who helped with the release of the body for burial in California. Her service was masterful to this family - in Spanish and in English.
Other Notable Cases:
Three victim services advocates provided group crisis intervention to the staff when their bank in Eastern Riverside County was robbed. The advocates addressed the short-term needs by listening to bank employees as they expressed their concerns, and they also helped them complete the Victim of Crime Compensation Applications. This kind of intervention immediately after a traumatic event helps the victims recover more quickly from their ordeal.
In the high-publicity case of the kidnap and finding of Nicole Timmons, a supervising victim services advocate went into action to get Nicole and her mother reunited. The advocate found a travel agency to help with airfare. The agency contacted Southwest Airlines who donated the fare for the mom and Nicole - but not for her older sister. So this advocate arranged for the Victim Witness emergency fund to pay the sister's fare. She also arranged for hotel reservations for everyone who would be arriving late in the evening. Because of this outstanding service in coordination and the continuing communication with the Riverside Police Department, Southwest Airlines, and the hotel in Reno, Nicole and her family were happily reunited.
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