VICTIM SERVICE OFFICER
One Place Family Justice Center
One Place FJC is dedicated to assisting victims of Elder Abuse through the court process from the time of the incident until the final adjudication of the case. The Victim Service Officer (VSO) is responsible for victim service and assistance as follows. Other duties may be assigned as needed.
Upon receipt of the case file:
- Log the case, listing the victim, the defendant, the type of crime and Grand Jury date.
- Complete the Victim Information Sheet.
- Send a letter to the victim which includes an introduction of the VSO and outline what steps may be taken next in the court process such as a Preliminary Hearing and Grand Jury. Include handouts explaining the Preliminary Hearing, Grand Jury and Trial processes.
- If a Preliminary Hearing is scheduled, phone victims to ensure they received a subpoena, go over the Preliminary Hearing process and assure that the VSO will be present with them in court.
- Attend the Preliminary Hearing with the victim.
- Contact victims upon notice of a Grand Jury date and time. Go over the Grand Jury procedure with the victim and assure that the VSO will be present in the waiting room.
- Sit with the victims in the Grand Jury waiting area and answer any questions they may have.
- Notify the victim of any court proceedings once the case has been indicted.
- Attend all court proceedings with the victim and explain the process as it occurs (i.e. Motions that are made, rulings of the judge, etc.)
- Notify the victim of sentencing and restitution hearings and attend the proceeding with the victim.
- Assist the victim with Crime Victims Compensation forms, (if applicable).
- Inform the victim of any outside resources available (i.e. counseling through the Family Sunshine Center, STAR, etc.)
- Assist the Deputy District Attorney (DDA) and Legal Support Assistant (LSA) in court preparation (i.e. lay witness notification, securing verified medical records, officer notifications of court and evidence and any other tasks as assigned by the DDA).
- When requested by the victim and when possible, meet with the victim a week prior to the Grand Jury proceeding to get the comfortable with the DDA and give a tour of the Grand Jury room.
Following the arraignment docket (currently held each Tuesday morning):
- Notify the victim by letter of the defendant’s actions (whether or not they pled guilty or not guilty) and inform the victim of the court date. The letter should include an introduction of the VSO and a informational pamphlet should be enclosed which explains the district court process.
Upon receipt of the trial docket notice (currently held the first two Mondays of each month):
1. Pull the cases files (if the LSA has not already done so) and review the file.
2. Send another letter notifying the victim of the court date and time.
3. Three days prior to the court date, phone the victims and speak with them personally regarding the court date. (Document if you cannot locate the victim or if you leave a message with a member of the family).
4. If the victim can not be located, prepare a Witness Locator Form and submit it to the Chief Investigator to have the victim located (include as much information as possible such as the I/O report and affidavit to assist the investigator assigned).
5. Attend court and speak with victim, explain the process of what is about to happen and assist the DDA when he/she is speaking with the victim.
6. If a victim fails to appear for court or leaves before the bench trial without notice, follow #4 above.
7. Assist the DDA in calling their attention to any discrepancy in the files (i.e. false affidavits, unwilling victims, intimidation of victims, assessing whether felony charges should be brought, etc).
8. Assist the DDA and LSA in court preparation (i.e. lay witness notification, securing verified medical records, officer notifications of court and evidence and any other tasks as assigned by the DDA).
- Attend all related meetings (if it does not interfere with court attendance with victims).
- Attend DV/Elder Abuse Task Force meetings (if it does not interfere with court attendance with victims).
- Assist in the preparation of Motions to Invoke Sentence or Motions to Revoke Bond when a victim has called reporting a violation or if information is received that the defendant has violated the terms of his release.
- Prepare Monthly report listing number of phone calls made and received, number of letters sent, and any other activities required under the terms of the Grant.
- Present educational programs to law enforcement, schools or any other requesting entities regarding Elder Abuse or information regarding services provided by One Place FJC.
- Keep a phone log of messages left on voice mail and check off when the phone call has been returned. There will be numerous phone calls from victims with apprehension and fear regarding the prosecution of their case. Some will want to drop charges (especially on the misdemeanor cases). Inform the victim that this office does not drop charges; he/she must come to court and speak with the DDA and the Judge.
- Prepare memos for the case files of important phone conferences with victims (i.e. defendants who violate their terms of release or bond, noting dates and actions of the defendant).
- Work with VOCAL and any other entity involved with any victim in any type case once you have been informed they are active in the case.
- Maintain the statistics and data for the monthly, quarterly and year-end reports and prepare the reports as required.
- Keep the files updated regarding notice of any change from the victim (i.e. address, phone number, etc.)
- When possible, meet with people who drop by without an appointment, whether or not they have an active case, regarding any type of family/intimate partner violence. Assist them by informing them of the appropriate legal process, shelter, counseling, etc. If the VSO is unable to meet with them, encourage them to set up an appointment.
- Assist the DDA as directed.
- Assist the LSA whenever possible and as directed.
Send resume to AnnaGoodwin@mc-ala.org
See link below for full details