Interview With a Representative of Term Paper

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Another important component of the Unit's functions is to assist victims in creating Victim Impact Statements. "Victim input is solicited in the form of a written Victim Impact Statement, however witness input is verbal. The needs of the victims and witnesses are relayed to the appropriate persons" (Victim/Witness, 2013, Office of Monmouth County Prosecutor). This data may be used when deciding to prosecute a crime or in sentencing. One of the reasons that victim's rights agencies have become more common and established throughout the United States was the belief that the impact of the crime upon the life of the victim in terms of pain and suffering must be taken into consideration. Often, victims are still extremely traumatized and have difficulty articulating what happened to them. The personnel at the Unit are specially trained to deal with victim reticence and they are oriented in techniques to make talking about the crime less traumatic for the victim while still fulfilling the need to inform the court of the emotional, physical, and social impact of the crime. Also in keeping with the need to honor the right of victims is that victims are notified through the Unit when their victimizer may be paroled or is released from prison. And "victims who are exposed to a defendant's bodily fluids such as saliva, blood or semen, or victims who were pricked with a hypodermic needle" can request that the defendant submits to an HIV test (Victim/Witness, 2013, Office of Monmouth County Prosecutor).
One of the most difficult components of dealing with victims is those whom are ambivalent about testifying. This is the case in many domestic violence incidents, where it is more common than uncommon for women to submit a complaint and then withdraw it after they 'make up' with their abusive partner. This often occurs repeatedly, much to the frustration of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. Once again, the Victim-Witness Advocacy Unit is extremely useful because it can help connect women with vital social services such as counseling and resources to enable them to economically separate from their partners. One of the reasons women are often reluctant to leave abusive situations is a fear of being unable to support their families or themselves.

Overall, my impressions of the work of the Unit were extremely positive, and I ended the interview with a sense that there has been a real, substantive effort made to address the needs of victims within the justice system and to balance out the rights of defendants with the rights of victims. The main criticism of the Unit is that the agency's mission is so broad some of the unique needs of specific victim populations may be underserved. However, the Unit strives to remedy this by referring victims when necessary to outside sources, including referrals to agencies that can help them financially as well as provide counseling.

References

Victim/Witness. (2013). Office of Monmouth County Prosecutor. Retrieved:

http://prosecutor.co.monmouth.nj.us/victim-witness.html.....

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