Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crime Victims to Get More Help

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crime Victims to Get More Help

Article excerpt

BRUNSWICK -- A $133,000 federal grant will provide crime

victims in the five-county Brunswick Judicial Circuit with

easier access to local and state services designed to help them,

victims' advocates said yesterday.

District Attorney Steve Kelley is using the money to expand the

Victim Assistance Program operated by his office to reach

victims in Appling, Camden, Jeff Davis and Wayne counties.

Kelley founded the program in 1992 in Glynn County, which until

now has been the only county in the circuit with victims'

advocates.

"This is a two-year federal grant, and it will allow us to take

the Victim Assistance Program circuitwide," Kelley said. "My

goal is to have a victims' program staff member working in every

county, either full-time or on a part-time basis."

The program, which also is funded by criminal court fines, now

has two fulltime victims' advocates, one part-time advocate and

four volunteers.

"Next year, we will have four more part-time workers, and we

want to beef up the number of volunteers, too," Kelley said.

The $133,000, received a month ago, will pay for the advocates'

salaries, office equipment and the printing of informational

brochures and related materials to help crime victims, Kelley

said.

Bobbie Patrick, victim assistance director, said the program is

designed to help victims or relatives of victims of felony

crimes including murder, rape, child molestation, aggravated

assault and armed robbery.

The advocates also assist victims of some misdemeanor crimes

such as family violence and simple battery, Patrick said.

"We are a clearinghouse for information about services that are

available to help crime victims and a resource for them,"

Patrick said.

Patrick said program workers help victims apply for financial

compensation; make referrals to the Rape Crisis Center and Amity

House shelter for battered women and their children; and make

sure victims understand and are notified of all court

proceedings in their case.

Vickie Moore, a former police officer who joined the program as

a victim's advocate in April, said she or other workers also

will accompany victims or their family members to court

proceedings. …

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