The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Victim Assistance Program is part of the Investigations Division. The program responds to victims of violent crime and family survivors in cases of violent and sudden death. Victim advocates provide information, follow-up support, and referrals as required by the Colorado constitutional amendment for victim rights. They also act as a liaison between the criminal justice system and the victim.
The advocates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help victims get information and support, and provide for advocate safety. Each advocate carries a pager as well as a cellular phone. Using these communications, advocates can assist victims in locating additional family or friends, getting information from officers and hospitals, and requesting assistance from other services.
The success of the program can be attributed to the many volunteers that dedicate themselves to helping others and helping their community. These volunteers represent all geographical areas of the county. Most maintain full time jobs and families in addition to committing to assisting victims of crime in Douglas County.
The Victim Assistance Program also has 4.5 full time staff. All full time paid staff members have achieved national certification from the National Organization for Victim Assistance and international certification from the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists. The Coordinator and other members of the section also have several years of experience in providing services to victims, working with the court system, victim compensation programs, and legislative issues. The salaries of 2.5 staff members are supported by one local VALE grant and one federal VOCA grant. Additionally there are two part time Spanish Speaking advocates that have been funded by a local VALE grant on an on-call basis.
With the assistance of a specialized computer program designed for a victim assistance database, the staff can track services to victims, get information letters to victims, and provide victim rights and services efficiently and effectively. The computer program is one of the many technological enhancements in the victim services field. Using community volunteers, grant funding, and advanced technology, the Victim Assistance Program is able to provide a tremendous amount of services to victims while providing cost effectiveness to County taxpayers.
The Victim Assistance Program does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and age in the delivery of services.