Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced on December 10 a $6.23 million state grant which will allow Alabama District Attorneys to hire 88 Certified Victim Service Officers to assist victims of crimes.
“The criminal justice system can seem intimidating to people who have been victims of crime,” the Governor said. “I am pleased to support this program, which will provide knowledgeable professionals to help crime victims understand the court process and ensure that they know of other community resources that may further assist them.”
Victim service officers are professionals trained to support victims of crime. They offer victims information, emotional support, help finding resources, and help to fill out paperwork. The officers also may accompany victims to court proceedings and contact criminal justice or social service agencies to obtain assistance or information for victims.
The grant was awarded by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) to the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services (OPS), which provides assistance and support for the state’s district attorneys. Representatives of ADECA, OPS, and the Alabama District Attorneys Association joined Ivey at the news conference.
Andy Hamlin, District Attorney for the 24th Judicial Circuit which includes Pickens County, said his office currently employs one Victim Service Officer and the grant will allow his office to make an additional hire to serve in this capacity.
“I am committed to providing victims of crimes in the 24th Judicial Circuit with the assistance and guidance they deserve and is needed to aid in navigating the criminal justice process,” Hamlin said. “This grant will provide the funding and resources needed for my office to employ an additional Victim Service Officer who will assist in continuing to accomplish this very important job moving forward.”
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.