The Office of Prosecution Services (OPS), through the Alabama Department of Economic Affairs, was awarded with a $6.3 million grant to train and employ Certified Victim Service Officers.
There has been a long-time statewide effort to provide dedicated, highly trained and knowledgeable assistance to any victim of crime in the state. This grant is the culmination of that effort. An intense certification training curriculum was provided by OPS (through this grant funding) for each of the Certified Victim Services Officers. It was over 40 hours of classroom training and also had a hands-on practicum.
The Certified Victim Service Officers (CVSOs) will maintain constant contact with crime victims and advise them of case statuses and any scheduled hearings. As well, they will help those victims apply for financial aid with the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission and compile their requests for restitution to be presented to a judge. They will also help facilitate any counseling needs or medical treatment our victims might require.
Crime victims have been through traumatic experiences. They have had their home burglarized, have been physically and emotionally hurt, or they have lost a family member to a violent act. During the processes of investigation and prosecution, it would be easy for a victim to become overwhelmed. It is extremely important that victims of crime don’t feel lost or confused, and DA offices maintain an open line of communication with them.
For a crime victim, so many things have already gone wrong. They may be living their darkest days. Often, worrying about the details of what has to happen next is never what they want to spend their day doing. CVSOs are here to help make the process easy.
Tamara C. Martin
Special Projects Coordinator