Overview of the Unit
Summary of Victim Services
The essence of this program is to make crime victims and witnesses truly a part of the criminal justice system. This is done by providing a liaison person within the office of the Prosecuting Attorney. We are in daily contact with other victim resource agencies such as the Women's Center. When services are needed, the Victim-Witness Coordinator works closely with the deputy prosecutor. Victims and witnesses may seek information and assistance from Victim-Witness Coordinator. By providing a central contact person who is aware of the full array of resources in the community, a much needed service is provided to directly affected individuals and to our community.
Step By Step Guide to Victim Services
After a felony case has been filed, a victim information packet including a personalized letter with information describing that victim's specific case is sent by mail with the Victim Impact Statement, and information describing the court process with directions to the Kootenai County Courthouse.
Our staff person greets victims and witnesses appearing for court and provides them information on their cases. Witnesses may be escorted to the courtroom prior to their court hearing so that they may familiarize themselves with the surroundings. When needed, the staff instructs the victim and/or witnesses in court procedures, protocol, legal terminology and appropriate attire. When necessary, our staff provides assistance to victims and witnesses. A member of the Victim-Witness Unit will accompany the victims or witnesses to the courtroom and remain with them throughout their court appearance.
Our staff will keep victims informed of any significant developments in the investigation and prosecution of their case, including final disposition and judgment. This is accomplished by mail, telephone and/or personal contact.
Multi-Agency Approach to Victim Services
To provide for timely and comprehensive response to victim's needs, the unit is established as an active participant in local service networks and, as necessary, refers victims to these agencies. The staff maintains a current listing of established agencies appropriate to victims' needs.
All agencies that are not part of the local criminal justice system but are likely to be a resource for victims and witnesses are identified. In-service training sessions are held with identified agencies on an ongoing basis. These sessions are tailored to the characteristics of each agency and will enhance cooperation between agencies, provide a forum for the exchange of information, inform agencies of the rights and needs of victims, and describe the services available through the Kootenai County Victim/Witness Unit.