State’s DAs get funds for victim support

Published 1:58 am Saturday, December 8, 2018

Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday announced the award of a $6.3 million grant to support crime victims, as they navigate the criminal justice system.

The grant was awarded to the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services to provide 88 certified victim service officers throughout the state. The officers will be stationed at local district attorneys’ offices and will assist crime victims with information, referrals, updates, court accompaniment and other direct services as needed.

Barry Matson, Executive Director of the Office of Prosecution Services and the Alabama District Attorneys Association, said each of the 42 district attorneys in Alabama will receive funds from the grant to pay Certified Victim Service Officers.

Victim service officers are professionals trained to support victims of crime. They offer victims information, emotional support and help finding resources and filling 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.

Tom Anderson is district attorney for Coffee and Pike counties and president of the Alabama District Attorneys Association.

“This grant is a major benefit for victims, victims’ families and district attorneys across Alabama. In some circuits where money for victim’s assistance is especially tight, it’s a real game-changer,” Anderson said. “Many more victims of crimes and their families will have someone in the DA office to both comfort them and assist them through the process of obtaining justice. We are extremely grateful to the governor, ADECA and everyone who assisted in making this grant possible.”

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Justice through the Victims of Crime Act.