Sarasota FL: PoliceHome Menu
Victim Advocate Services
|Jude Castro, Victim Advocate Coordinator||Brandy Borling, Victim Advocate|
|(941) 263-6021||(941) 263-6074|
The Victim Advocate Program (VAP) within the Sarasota Police Department is a crucial resource to victims of crime, witnesses to crime, and those experiencing crisis and trauma in the City of Sarasota. The VAP is a vital link to the community showing law enforcement’s support to crime victims and those affected by crisis by providing critical assistance and resources in times of tragedy. Advocates respond as crisis interveners to provide on-scene crisis intervention to those experiencing crime, crisis, and trauma. Advocates act as coordinators between victims, officers and detectives, the Office of the State Attorney, and other outside agencies as well as follow up support through continued contact with clients. Advocates regularly accompany victims through investigational and court proceedings to ensure that victim’s rights are being upheld and to provide education and support to clients during these proceedings. The presence of agency-based advocates throughout the criminal and civil justice systems shows the continued support of law enforcement agencies to victims. The VAP stays active with both local and national organizations focused on assisting victims of crime and persons experiencing crisis.
The Victim Advocate Program is housed in the Criminal Investigations Division and is directly supervised by a Detective Sergeant. VAP services are free and focus on customer service by assisting primary and secondary victims as well as witnesses of crime; assistance is also provided to those experiencing trauma or crisis that may be unrelated to a criminal act. Both on-scene services as well as follow up services are provided by the VAP. Daily reports are reviewed in an effort to offer proactive intervention services. Other clients include those who call in for services after being referred by outside agencies or by finding a listing online or in the Victims’ Rights Brochure provided by the responding officer. Support and assistance is also provided to any SPD personnel, including employees, volunteers, and retired personnel, and their families on an as needed basis. Services provided by the VAP include, but are not limited to: on-scene crisis intervention, follow up crisis intervention sessions, emotional support, exploration of options, practical assistance, assistance throughout the criminal justice system, assistance with applying for injunctions for protection, accompaniment to medical, judicial, and legal proceedings (as related to the criminal case), assistance in applying for victim compensation, providing transportation (when available) to legal and judicial appointments (related to the criminal case), assistance in retrieving property, and providing general information and referrals. In addition to these services, the VAP also participates in various community committees that focus on issues surrounding crime, crisis, and victimization.