GUEST COLUMN: Advocate stands ready to assist with crime victim matters

By Carolyn Henry, Chief Assistant Prosecutor, and Janice Carpenter, Victim Advocate

Your world can change in an instant when you become a victim of a crime. It will leave you with many feelings: despair, fear, anger, sadness, anxiousness, depression to name a few. Coping with crime victimization is daunting and often many victims of crime do not even know where to look for help and assistance. There is help and hope for victims of crime.

As the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Victim Rights Advocate, at the direction of the Livingston County Prosecutor, Honorable David J. Reader, we have been providing assistance to victims of many different crimes. It is overwhelming dealing with the many emotions of being a victim and also trying to figure out how the court process works and what the necessary steps are in participating in the prosecution. The Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office staff provides victims with the roadmap of the court procedures and assures victims that their victim impact statement is included as part of the court process. Additional support to victims is also provided by other community agencies and focuses on providing services outside of the court procedures.

Livingston County is fortunate to have many community service agencies offering help, assistance and guidance to crime victims. The following is the contact information for some of the community agencies:

Livingston Family Center: (810) 231-9591; livfc.org
LACASA 24/7 Help Line: (866) 522-2725; lacasacenter.org
Sexual Assault Recovery Assistance (SARA): (866) 522-2725
Mental Health Crisis Line: (517) 546-4126
The Connection Youth Services: (866) 440-7233; theconnectionyouthservices.org
St. Joe’s Livingston: (517) 545-6000

Let’s do our part during this National Crime Victims’ Rights week and thereafter to bring hope to those who are or have been victims of crime. Lend an ear to listen, spend time with a victim to offer support and comfort, offer assistance even if they have not asked for assistance, help with everyday tasks such as cleaning, cooking, child care, and other tasks. Please also remember to not take their anger or other feelings personally.It takes a village and together we can provide comfort, safety and assurances for a hopeful future.

Carolyn Henry is the chief assistant prosecutor, and Janice Carpenter is the crime victim rights advocate at the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office. You can contact themat (517) 548-1850 for assistance with crime victim matters.

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