Crime Victim Services Award
2016 Crime Victim Services Award
Charleston County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Office
The racially motivated murders of nine parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church made 2015 a very difficult time for the citizens and law enforcement of Charleston. To help, the CCSO’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program joined Federal and other local victim advocates in staffing a temporary site near the Church for the families of the murdered victims; the physically injured survivors and other churchgoers; first responders; and any distressed members of the community seeking assistance.
Incidentally, victim advocates at the Sheriff’s Office were among the first in the State to receive Psychological First Aid training, pursuant to the CCSO’s collaboration with the Medical University of South Carolina’s National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center. The training promotes mental well-being for advocates and the community they serve in the aftermath of a crisis.
The CCSO’s Victim Witness Coordinator, Mrs. Easter LaRoche, serves on the South Carolina Crime Victims Advisory Board; and, for the State’s Victim Assistance Academy, she presents a workshop for new advocates entitled “Think Like a Cop, Act Like a Victim Advocate.”
In addition, the Victim/Witness Assistance Program works with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services that stations mobile sites near communities of migrant workers to provide information and resources. Joining in this outreach, the advocates inform these communities about Sheriff’s Office services; assistance available from the State Office of Victim Assistance and the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network; and U Visa eligibility for immigrant victims who assist law enforcement in the investigation of a crime.
The Sheriff’s Office victim advocates also participate in the annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” fundraiser. At this event in October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month), both female and male participants walk in high heeled shoes to protest domestic violence, educate the community, and raise funds to provide victims and their children with needed services.
And, the victim advocates attend hearings of murderers up for parole. The advocates’ voices represent victims, sometimes from decades past, and provide support for victims who no longer have family members able to attend the hearings.
In summary, the Victim/Witness Assistance Program is dedicated to crime victims, law enforcement officers, and fellow victim advocates. Oftentimes officers are occupied with the urgency of apprehending criminal suspects, but with its in-house resource of advocates, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office can simultaneously respond with calmness and compassion to the immediate needs of crime victims.
2017 NSA Crime Victim Services Award
The National Sheriffs' Association recognizes that victims of crime have unique needs and that appropriate assistance to victims should be provided by law enforcement as early as possible in the response process.
In an effort to focus more national and local attention on law enforcement services provided to victims of crime, NSA annually recognizes a Sheriff's Office that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in support of victims with the NSA Crime Victim Services Award. The award is generously sponsored by Appriss, Inc.
Presentation of the award is made during a plenary session at NSA's Annual Conference. The Sheriff and Victim Services Coordinator of the recipient Office receive an all-expense paid trip to the Conference. An article is also placed in the Conference Program, recognizing the vision, leadership, and action of the Sheriff and his/her staff to improve the lives of victims in the aftermath of a crime. And, the Sheriff and Coordinator are invited to make a presentation about their victim services program at NSA's Crime Victim Services Committee meeting.
Nominations for the Crime Victim Services Award may be submitted by any individual or organization. The Sheriff of the nominated Office must be an NSA member. Nominations should include a brief overview of the Sheriff's Office, and then address the following questions, in addition to any other achievements of the Office that the nominating individual or organization may wish to highlight:
- What accomplishments has the nominated Sheriff's Office made on behalf of crime victims and how are those accomplishments innovative and unique?
- How has the nominee's victim services and/or programs impacted the local citizenry?
- How have the actions of the nominee influenced the policies, practices, and attitudes toward crime victims by its other governmental/non-governmental partner organizations in the community?
The deadline for receipt of nominations by NSA is December 9, 2016. Nominations should be no more than 10 pages in length, including attachments, and should not include DVDs, CDs, etc. Mail nominations to the attention of Tim Woods at NSA (1450 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314). For further information, contact Tim at 703-838-5317.