A state grant will allow the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office to raise the number of hours for one of its crime victim and witness advocates from part-time to full-time.
The three crime victim and witness advocates in the Victim and Witness Unit together served 725 victims in 519 new cases in 2018. That number doesn’t include cases that included post-conviction events in 2018 and required those services.
The total award from the grant was $43,868 in fiscal year 2020 through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.
According to a news release from the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office, “This grant will enable the office to build on previous years’ efforts by increasing an existing Crime Victim and Witness Advocate grant-funded position from part-time to full-time." The position increases from 20 hours per week to 40.
The Victim and Witness Unit provides outreach to victims and witnesses involved in criminal prosecutions. The goal is to “allow for a more proactive approach to ensuring victims understand their rights and are aware of available resources,” according to the release.
One advocate specializes in work with child victims and one in work with victims of domestic violence.
“Advocates are the main liaisons between the court system and victims and civilian witnesses. The advocates guide victims and witnesses through every step of the process, ensuring that they are informed and have access to resources and services that can benefit them,” said Cara Frieman, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney, via email.
More than 60% of cases handled in circuit court, district court and juvenile court require the services of the Victim and Witness Unit.
"These cases often involve multiple victims and civilian witnesses,” according to the release.
The Carroll County commissioners supported the State’s Attorney’s Office’s application for the grant. They intend to reapply for the grant for the next financial year, Frieman said.