|Victims Advocate Services
Victims and survivors of violent crimes come from every ethnic, social, religious, and economic sector of our population. Due to the nature of the victimization process, victims of violent crimes are reluctant to seek assistance. This cloak of silence is the criminal’s “best friend” as violent crimes are often unreported and potential witnesses unwilling to step forward. There is a pressing need to put an end to this veil of silence and dramatically modify the attitude towards violence from the victim’s perspective.
No one is completely immune from violence, as it can impact anyone, anywhere - particularly families and children. Violent crime often leaves its victims and survivors, and in some cases, the community at large, traumatized. The results of violent crime are often physically and emotionally damaging and financially destructive. Immediately in the wake of a violent crime, victims and survivors are required to cope with law enforcement investigations and the developing judicial process. In this situation, they are unprepared. Often, victims are unaware of their legal rights, eligibility for compensation benefits, and how the criminal justice system can provide protection. Frequently, victims are reluctant to utilize the system that was tailored to support them.
The State of Florida Statutes provides guidelines for the fair treatment of victims in the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems. It authorizes a direct-support organization to assist victims of adult and juvenile crime.
In response to a growing public concern for victims of crime, the City of Miami Police Department, with the support of a Victims Of Crime Act
(VOCA) Grant, established a Victim Advocate Program in 1997.
The Victim Advocate Program is guided by two primary goals. The first goal is to provide personalized, professional immediate and long-term assistance to any person who has suffered, directly or indirectly, a physical, emotional, or personal loss as a result of a criminal act. This assistance includes notifying victims of their specific legal rights and victim’s compensation benefits
and providing referrals to community agencies. The Program strives to guide the victim through the crisis and ease them back to their pre-crisis level of functioning. The second goal is to assist the Miami Police Department by reducing out-of-service time for
The Victim Advocate Services Program provides support to victims of domestic violence, violent crimes and survivors of homicides. Specialized assistance is available to victims and survivors immediately at the crime scene under certain circumstances, when needed, throughout the investigative process, and during the criminal justice process, when needed.
The Victim Advocate Services Program currently has 2 part-time victim advocates and a full-time victim advocate administrator. Each victim advocate services 6 of the 12 NET Services areas within the City of Miami. Services provided includes:
- Assistance with filing Victim Compensation forms for burial expenses, medical bills, disability due to the incident, grief counseling, loss of wages, loss of support to dependent survivors, property loss for adults over 60 years or who are disabled.
- Emotional support to victims, survivors and families.
- Relocation referrals to the Coordinated Victim Assistance Center (CVAC) and the Lodge for victims of domestic violence.
- Referrals to domestic violence shelters, grief counseling, support groups for parents of murdered children, and other agencies that provide mental health and other empowerment counseling.
- Assist victims in understanding the criminal justice process and their rights.
- Assist victims with information on obtaining an injunction for protection against domestic violence or intimate partner. Violence
- Provide follow-up to victims regarding their case investigation.
- Provide on-scene crisis intervention and support, when requested
- Provide U-visa assistance to cooperative victims who are not citizens.
- Provide assistance for Victim and Witness Relocation after approval from the Criminal Investigative Commanders.
- Provide Training on services offered, as well as attend community meetings.
The Victim Advocate Services Program is located at the Central Headquarters Building located at 400 N.W. 2nd Avenue, room 523. The Victim Advocates contact information is as follows:
Victim Advocate Anabel Morales305-603-6292
Victim Advocate Ana Rodriquez305-603-6293
Violent Crimes Intervention Administrator Therese Homer305-603-6291
The Victim Advocate Program has become an integral element of the comprehensive services provided to the resident and visitors of the City of Miami. The Program complements the efforts of the Miami Police Department in reducing crime and enhancing the quality of life in our community by providing immediate assistance to all victims of violent crimes, including domestic violence and survivors of homicide.
NATIONAL, STATE, AND LOCAL HELPLINES
National Domestic Violence Hotline800-799-7233
National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline866-331-9474
National Organization for Victim Assistance800-879-6682
National Victim Center800-627-6872
Florida Domestic Violence Hotline800-500-1119
Florida Child Abuse Hotline800-962-2873
Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center800-627-6872
Switchboard of Miami305-358-4357
Coordinated Victim Assistance Center (CVAC)305-285-5900
The Lodge Shelter The Lodge Shelter305-693-1170
Safe Space Shelter305-758-2546
Rape Treatment Center305-585-7273