WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: ACPO VICTIM WITNESS ADVOCATES HAVE 86 YEARS OF COMBINED SERVICE IN ATLANTIC COUNTY


MAYS LANDING-March is Women’s History Month! Did you know the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office of Victim Witness Advocacy is made up of 6 female Victim Witness Advocates with a total of 86 years of service? This Women’s History Month, ACPO will share some of their stories with you.

  1. Tricia A Hayek, M.S.W., Supervising Advocate, 23 years
  2. Maria Sosa, Bilingual Victim Witness Advocate, 14 years
  3. Shavonne Davis, M.A., Victim Witness Advocate, 2 years
  4. Kristie Baker Gardener, Victim Witness Advocate, Child Abuse MDT Coordinator, 28 years
  5. Melody Kirby, Victim Witness Advocate, 16 years
  6. Bella Alameda, Bilingual Victim Witness Advocate, 3 years

The mission of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office of Victim Witness Advocacy is to provide services and support to victims and witnesses of crime that will assist them through the criminal justice system and will aid and empower them in their recovery from a traumatic event.

When you are a victim of a crime or a witness to a traumatic event, it can seem overwhelming and you may be uncertain of who can help you through the crisis and the aftermath.  The advocates employed by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office are available to provide information, support and advocacy, link you to recovery services-all with the goal of helping you to recover and be supported through the justice system. Our services are free of charge and offered in English and Spanish. Access to an interpreter service, if needed, is available to assist you.

If you are a victim or witness of crime, trained victim witness advocates are available to answer your questions about the criminal justice system, provide you with case-specific information, support through the criminal justice system and provide referrals to victim service agencies that can assist you with your loss or injury.

The services provided are:

Information about the criminal justice system and juvenile justice system

Advocate for the rights and needs of crime victims

Case specific information and notification

Assistance with completing the Victim Impact Statement

Crisis intervention and support counseling

Provide a secure, separate waiting area for victims and witnesses of crime

Assistance with a restitution request

Court accompaniment for hearings, trial, and sentencing

Prosecution interview accompaniment

HIV testing of certain charged offenders

Social service agency referrals

Counseling referrals

Assistance with property return

Assist with completing the Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO) application and follow-up

Provide letters for school and employer attendance in court

Information and assistance with VINE (Victim Information Notification Everyday) and Parole

Arranging for interpreting services, when needed

Child care, if needed, when testifying

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Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at http://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.

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