The Office of Victim Witness Advocacy provides crime victims and witnesses with services designed to help them cope with the aftermath of victimization and make their participation in the criminal justice process less difficult and burdensome.
The unit strives to afford the highest quality of services to the greatest number of victims. One of the unit’s most crucial responsibilities is keeping victims and witnesses advised of their current case status. This is accomplished through a series of letters mailed at each significant phase of the criminal prosecution.
Another essential role of the Victim Witness staff is to advocate for victims and promote their rights within the criminal justice system. The office provides emotional support, crisis intervention, referrals, court accompaniment and information to victims and witnesses. In addition to assisting with restitution requests, staff members help victims complete and file claims with the Victims of Crime Compensation Board.
One of the most important and basic rights of victims during the criminal justice process is the right to participate. Advocates ensure that victims are afforded that right by providing guidance and support. In a related vein, the office also notifies victims of inmate releases on bail, parole eligibility and sentence expiration so that victims can take appropriate steps to object or prepare for the inmate’s release.
In addition to these direct victim services, the office maintains strong partnerships with allied professionals, other victim service providers and leaders in the community to ensure that a comprehensive network of services and support is available.
The unit has a trained staff of victim witness advocates and support personnel. Bilingual (English/Spanish) staff members are available. Student interns and/or volunteers occasionally provide part-time assistance.
For more information, contact the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office of Victim Witness Advocacy at 609.989.6428.