Victims of crime always need the support of their family and friends to help them deal with the trauma of victimization. Sometimes this support is not enough and additional help or information is needed. The victim/witness advocate is available to assist victims or witnesses of crime and their families. Victim/witness assistance is available to any victim or witness of crime committed within the jurisdiction of the Burlington Police Department.
The victim/witness advocate acts as a liaison between the victim or witness and the criminal justice system, which includes law enforcement officers, the district attorney, the courts, and the probation & parole system. The victim/witness advocate can escort the victim or witness through the court process and provide support. They will assist in keeping the victim or witness informed about each step in the criminal justice process. The Victim's Assistance Unit is coordinated by Staci Harris and is staffed by one part-time staff member, Jackie Sheffield, as well as 5 volunteer advocates. The department is continually looking for volunteers to become victim/witness advocates. If you would be interested in becoming an advocate, please contact Staci Harris. Victims' Assistance works closely with the Family Justice Center. You can access more phone numbers and resources here.
Victims' Basic Rights:
Victims of crime are entitled to the following basic rights:
- The right to be informed of and to present at court proceedings of the accused
- The right to be heard at sentencing of the accused in the manner prescribed by law and at other times deemed appropriate by the court
- The right to receive restitution
- The right to be given information about the crime, how the criminal justice system works, the rights of victims, and the availability of services for victims
- The right to receive information about the conviction or final disposition and sentence of the accused
- The right to present views and concerns to the Governor or agency considering any action that could result in the release of the accused prior to such action becoming effective
- The right to confer with the prosecution.
Types of Assistance:
The Burlington Police Department is a member of the North Carolina Victim Assistance Network (NCVAN). NCVAN works on the state level to ensure victim’s rights are established and to enact new laws that protect victims and their rights. NCVAN assists local agencies when needed. Victim and/ or witness assistance can include:
- Emergency transportation
- Assistance completing the Victim Impact Statement, a written report intended to inform the court about the effects the crime had and/ or continues to have on the victim
- Assistance by referring to support agencies according to the needs assessment
- Crime prevention information, including home surveys
- Advocacy for the rights of the victim on the local, state, and national levels
- Accompanying crime victims and witnesses, when requested, to the police department, district attorney’s office, and court proceedings