When Natasha Pierre, Victim Advocate for the State of Connecticut, spoke to us she said, “My hope is that you never step into my office.” This is because the office of the victim’s advocate helps assist crime victims whose rights have been violated.
Those rights include, treated with fairness and respect, a timely deposition, and reasonable protection. The Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA) is dedicated to protecting the constitutional and statutory rights as stated in the state’s constitution. The OVA provides state and private agencies and advocacy when those rights are violated.
The office steps in after a crime is reported and the victim contacts the OVA office. Pierre’s office then reviews the case to see if any further action needs to be taken.
Pierre is a social worker as well as a lawyer because of her experience she has a unique perspective of the law and the protection of a crime victim. During our conversation we discussed the reluctance of reporting a crime and if there was a solution to encourage victims to report a violent crime committed against them. Her response was of caring and concern for the needs of the victim.
The Office of the Victim Advocate is important to the justice system as it works to ensure the crime victim remains informed and aware of their rights and information but they are not to be confused with the Victim Services Advocate (VSA). The VSA, assesses the victim’s needs and helps the crime victim understand the court case, how to exercise those rights and access to resources.
Resources mentioned in the video:
The complete list of victims rights as stated by the Constitution of the State of Connecticut
List of local resources for crime victims
If you feel like your right as a crime victim have been violated. Here is the complaint form
The Victim Services Advocates