The criminal justice system is not designed to answer to the needs of crime victims. It’s designed to figure out if there’s enough evidence to bring a case. If there is, a defense attorney builds a case for the defendant and a prosecutor builds a case for the state of Vermont. The alleged victim in the case becomes a witness in their own story. They may have felt the impact of a crime, but they play no direct role in how the crime is adjudicated. For most people brand new to the system, this comes as a shock.
In every Vermont prosecutor’s office, in the Vermont State Police, in the Department of Corrections, there are people who see to the needs of these victims, from the time a crime is reported until long after the attorneys have gone home. It’s not their job to build cases or determine guilt or innocence. Their job is to support the victims in their cases. And that can mean a million different things. But always it’s complex and deeply personal.
This is a story about the victim advocates.
This show features:
Kate Brayton, victim advocate for Vermont’s Major Crime Unit
Amy Farr, victim advocate for Vermont’s Attorney General’s Office
Val Gauthier, victim specialist at the FBI covering Vermont and the Plattsburgh area
Aimee Stearns, victim witness coordinator at Vermont’s U.S. Attorney’s office
Danielle Levesque, victim service specialist at Vermont’s Department of Corrections
Kelly Woodward, victim advocate at the Franklin County State’s Attorney’s Office and victim advocate at the Northwest Unit for Special Investigations
Big Thanks to Toni Monsey for introducing me to these women, and to Jessica Dorr, Corrections Services Director.
Music for this show by Vermont musician Brian Clark and Kai Engel
This show is sponsored by Honey Road, the best restaurant in Burlington, Vermont. Click below for menu and accolades….