VICTIMS OF CRIME
In 1997, the Polk County Criminal
District Attorney's Office formally established the Victim Witness Program to
address the needs of people directly affected by crime in Polk County. Sherry
Sprayberry serves as the Victim Witness Coordinator. The program educates crime
victims about the criminal justice process and provides information about the
social service agencies that can best handle their particular needs.
Services are available to victims of sexual assault, aggravated robbery,
kidnapping, or cases involving serious bodily injury and to relatives of
deceased victims. The program is also available to victims in applicable
Upon indictment of a felony case, or acceptance of an applicable misdemeanor
case by the District Attorney's Office, the Victim/Witness Assistance Division
sends a contact letter to the crime victim. The letter contains informational
brochures, victim impact statements for the victim to complete, and
applications for Crime Victim's Compensation.
Victims are encouraged to keep in contact with the Crime Victim's Coordinator.
The coordinator can provide the victims with docket dates, jail status, case
disposition, information about available social services and agencies, and
assistance in completing the Crime Victim's Compensation application and the
Victim Impact Statement, and help to understand courtroom procedure and
policies. The coordinator also provide courtroom accompaniment as needed during
court proceedings. Other agencies, such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk
Driving), CASA and SAAFE House may provide court accompaniment as well. The
Victim/Witness Assistance Division provides a comfortable waiting area, away
from the courts and media, where victims and/or their families can relax and
feel secure during trials.
The Victim/Witness Assistance Division provides an established place where
victims can turn in their search for justice and understanding. By devoting
significant resources to crime victims, the District Attorney's Office seeks to
make their journey through the criminal justice system as comforting as
possible, representing their interests and helping to protect their rights.