The Victim Advocate Unit of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office has been established since 1995 and aims to be the first source of help to victims of crime. As advocates it is our goal to provide the best possible service to those in need. Victims of crime have rights
too. This unit is available on a 24 hour basis to respond to the needs of victims of crime in Leon County and is often one of the first to respond to a crime scene to assist victims and survivors.
How Can a Victim Advocate Help Me?
The Law Enforcement Victim Advocate is often one of the first to respond to a crime scene to assist victims and survivors. During this critical time victims may experience a wide range of feelings and emotions.
As an advocate, we can assist in many ways:
- Provide emotional and moral support
- Conduct on-scene crisis intervention and grief & bereavement counseling
- Act as a liaison between victim, deputies, detectives, and community-based agencies
- Identify and inform victims of their rights under the law
- Educate law enforcement and victims of new laws pertaining to specific victimization
- Provide information about professional counseling and support groups
- Offer assistance with filing crime victim’s compensation to help with lost wages, medical, counseling, and funeral expenses
- Help prepare victims for court injunction hearings, provide court advocacy and accompaniment
- Provide transport to court, referrals to emergency shelter, and safety planning. Assist victims in obtaining cellular phones for 911 emergencies
- Provide information regarding current status of cases
Who is a Victim?
A Victim is a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional, or financial harm as the result of an act by someone else, which is a crime. The Leon County Sheriff's Office Victim Advocate Unit has served 71,835 victim services to 12,426 crime victims since its start in July 1995.
- Assist victims in providing cellular phones for 911 emergencies.
- Crisis Intervention, Grief and Bereavement Counseling
- Support through the criminal justice system
- Community information and referrals
- Assistance with filing crime victims compensation
- Safety Planning
- Assistance with domestic violence injunctions
- Provide transportation to court and emergency shelter.
- On-call twenty-four hours, seven days a week.
Information for Crime Victims
The Victim Advocate Unit in the Leon County Sheriff's Office aims to be the first source of help to victims of crime. As advocates it is our goal to provide the best possible service to those in need. Victims of Crime have rights, too.
Florida State Statute 960
This statute is intended to establish guidelines for fair treatment of victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system. Victims, including the next of kin of a homicide victim, have the right to be informed, to be present, and to be heard when relevant at all crucial stages of a criminal proceeding, to the extent that this right does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused. The implementation of FSS 960 is the cornerstone of ensuring that these rights for victims are met.
Crime Victim Bill of Rights
Guidelines For Fair Treatment of Victims And Witnesses In The Criminal Justice System
Victims, including the next of kin of a homicide victim, have the right to be informed, to be present, and to be heard when relevant at all crucial stages of a criminal proceeding, to the extent that this right does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused. In the case of a minor, the victim's parent or guardian and the next of kin of a homicide victim is given notification.
What Rights Are The Victims Entitled To?
- Information concerning available crisis intervention services, supportive or bereavement counseling, community-based victim treatment programs, the availability of crime protection services and crime victim compensation.
- Information about the role of the victim in the criminal justice system, the stages in the criminal and juvenile justice process which are of significance to a crime victim, and the manner in which such information can be obtained.
- Information concerning steps that are available to Law Enforcement Officers and State Attorneys to protect victims and witnesses from intimidation.
- Advance notification of judicial and post-judicial proceedings which relate to the offender's arrest, release or community work release, provided that the victim gives the State Attorney's Office her/his current name and address.
- In felony crimes or homicide, consultation by the State Attorney's Office to obtain the views of the victim or in the case of a minor child, the guardian or the victim's family regarding the release of the accused, plea agreements, participation in pretrial diversion programs, and the sentencing of the accused.
- Return of the victim's property collected by Law Enforcement or the State Attorney's Office for evidentiary purposes.
- Assistance from Law Enforcement or the State Attorney's Office, when requested by victims, to inform the victim's employer about necessary absences from work, and to explain to the victim's creditors about serious financial hardship incurred as a result of the crime.
- Request restitution from the offender for certain out-of-pocket losses. The State Attorney shall inform the victim if and when restitution is ordered.
- Submit a Victim Impact Statement orally, or in writing, to the judge, prior to the sentencing of an offender who pleads guilty, nolo contendere, or is convicted of a felony crime.
- Information concerning the escape of the offender from a state correctional institution, county jail, juvenile detention facility, or involuntary commitment facility.
- Accompaniment by a victim advocate during any deposition of the victim or testimony of the victim of a sexual offense.
- Request HIV testing of the person charged with committing any sexual offense (under F.S. 794 or 800.04 which involves the transmission of body fluids). HIV test results shall be disclosed to the victim or the victim's legal guardian, if the victim is a minor.
- Prompt and timely disposition of the court case (as long as this right does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused).
- In the case of minors, if the victim or any sibling of the victim and the offender attend the same school, the victim and their siblings have the right to request that the offender be required to attend a different school.
- A victim of a sexual offense shall be informed of the right to have the courtroom cleared of certain persons as provided in s. 918.16, F.S., when the victim is testifying concerning that offense.
- The victims of domestic violence shall be provided with information regarding the address confidentiality program as provided in s. 741.465 F.S.
Important Telephone Numbers for Crime Victims
Leon County Sheriff's Office
Tallahassee Police Department
(Shelter and assistance for victims of
domestic violence and sexual assault)
24 Hour Hotline
211 Big Bend Hotline
2-1-1 or 850-617-NEED
State Attorney's Office
Helpful Links for Crime Victims