For the first time in the history of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, a Victim’s Assistance Coordinator has joined the office in order to help protect those who have been targeted by crime. With many programs aimed toward protecting the rights of inmates and crime suspects, Sheriff Mayfield sought early on in his first term to create a program that would take care of those who are often forgotten at the scene of any crime.
The result: an officer specially designated to offer aid and assistance to those who are victimized twenty four hours a day and seven days a week.
Victim: (noun) \ˈvik-təm\ – One that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent.
(1) : one that is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed under any of various conditions (2) : one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment (3) : one that is tricked or duped (Merriam-Webster)
The Victim’s Assistance Coordinator’s main objective is to present victims with their rights and to help each person find care for their physical and emotional needs after they have been victimized.
How a case is handled:
The VAC is notified by the deputy on the scene about the crime in which the victim needs to be contacted about. Depending on the nature of the crime, the VAC could be at the scene to assist the victim while the investigation is occurring from the very start of the case. This frees up the deputy to work with investigators or to help complete their reports at the crime scene. If a hospital visit is wanted or needed, the VAC will often times accompany the victim on their visit. Victims are notified of their rights for what information, files, records and legal rights they have when it comes to their case. If a protection order is needed, the VAC helps assist the victim in obtaining the order and in some cases, can help the victim press charges against their assailant(s).
In cases involving murder/homicide, the VAC will act as a go between for the victim(s) and the Adams County Criminal Investigation Division, relaying messages and updates pertaining to each case. The VAC’s main objective is to keep the victim involved in the investigation process.
The VAC gives victims the materials needed to contact and join SAVIN, a program that updates victims as to the whereabouts of those who were involved in their case who victimized them. Through the use of SAVIN, a victim will be notified if the other person(s) involved in the victim’s case has been released from prison or transferred to another facility.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. Each day, three women are killed in America by boyfriends or husbands. Men, children, elders and pets also become victims of domestic violence. MS law describes domestic violence as any physically abusive behavior committed by a household member that results in injury or death. Here are some signs of an abusive relationship that may result in domestic violence:
- You are afraid of your partner’s temper
- You are overly concerned about what kind of mood your partner is in
- Your partner prevents you from seeing your friends or family, or alienates them so that they are uncomfortable being around him
- Your partner threatens to hurt or kill you, your children, your family, friends or pets
- Your partner yells at you, reprimands you, or demeans you in public
- Your partner hits, slaps, pushes or shoves you, pulls your hair, or inflicts physical injury on you in any way
- Your partner prevents you from getting or keeping a job
- Your partner keeps you from leaving the house or locks you out of the house.
If you need help, here’s what you can do:
- Call 911 and request Law Enforcement.
- Contact ACSO’s Victims Assistance Coordinator, Karen Ewing, 601-442-2752 ext. 8348 who can talk to you about your options.
- Safely leave your home or have someone stay with you.
Get medical attention from your doctor or hospital emergency room. Ask the staff to photograph your injuries and keep detailed records in case you decide to take legal action.