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Victim Witness Assistance Unit

Advocates
Sometimes, Franklin County Prosecutor Victim Witness Assistants have to spell things out. The Assistants, commonly referred to as "advocates", recently attended a retreat sponsored by the Center for Family Safety and Healing. The partner agencies were required to give a brief, yet colorful, presentation about what duties their agency representatives perform. Each advocate took their letter, and using it, explained some of the many things they do - all beginning with that letter. Everyone did a fantastic job and the presentation was very well received. Pictured left to right are Toni Avena, Jill Morrow, Elizabeth Buttrey, (Director) Jane McKenzie, Laura Marsh, Amy Pridday, Tracey Butcher, Tess DeNiro, and Jen Brown."

The Victim Witness Assistance Unit was created in 1975 to provide information regarding the practices and procedures of the criminal justice system to victims and/or witnesses. The unit assists victims, witnesses, and the Assistant Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney assigned to the cases.

The Victim Witness Assistants in the Adult Criminal Division assist victims in cases where the defendant is an adult accused of certain felony crimes. These crimes include sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, stalking, homicide, and others.

Duties of the Victim Witness Assistant include:

  • Act as support person for the victims
  • Accompany victims to court proceedings
  • Act as liaison between the victims and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
  • Provide information to the victims about the court system and advise them of their rights
  • Make referrals to social service agencies (counseling, support groups, shelters, etc.)
  • Notify victims of grand jury results, trial dates, continuances, bond hearings, sentencing dates, and any other hearings
  • Assist victims in preparing Victim Impact Statements
  • Provide victims with information and applications for Victims of Crime Compensation; can also assist victims in completing the application
  • Obtain Temporary Protection Orders (TPO) in domestic violence and stalking cases
  • Provide information regarding VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) - the registration system for notification of an offender's release
  • Obtain medical releases, medical records, autopsy reports, birth and death certificates for court
  • Coordinate scheduling of medical personnel for testimony in court hearings
  • Coordinate scheduling of interpreters for non-English speaking victims/witnesses
  • Operate the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) for hearing impaired victim and/or witnesses
  • Prepare out-of-state subpoenas and handle travel arrangements
  • Assist in relocating witnesses in gang-related cases
  • Provide victims with parole board information

The Victim Witness Assistant located at The Center for Family Safety and Healing provides on-site assistance to victims of child abuse seen at the center.

The Victim Notification staff provides services and information to other felony crime victims. Upon indictment, victims will be notified of case information. If victims request, we provide notification of trial dates, continuances, bond hearings, sentencing dates, and other hearings.

If you are a victim of a felony crime in Franklin County and you have a question about your case, please call (614)525-3555 and ask for the Victim Witness Assistance Unit.

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