Victim Advocate

Victim Services

Bradford County Sheriff’s Office has a full-time Victim Advocate to provide assistance to crime victims. The Advocate works closely with Investigations and the Patrol Divisions on crimes that involve Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Sexual Assault, Assault, Elder Abuse, Violations of Injunctions and death cases. Some of our services include:

  • Assistance with restraining orders.
  • Domestic Violence Referral and Assistance.
  • Crisis counseling.
  • Referral and Information services.
  • On-Scene support for victims.
  • Assistance with filing Victim Compensation claims.
  • Registration to notify victim of suspects release.
  • Court accompaniment.
  • Case Status.

1) Domestic Violence 1) Are there laws to protect from domestic violence?

The Domestic Violence laws protect you if you are being physically or sexually abused or threatened by your spouse, former spouse, or another family or household member who is or was living in the same household as you, or you fear such abuse. The law protects you from abuse by a person with whom you have a child in common. You need not be married to the abuser or related to be protected under the law.

2) How does an injunction for protection work?

If you have been abused physically or sexually or fear for your life, you may request an injunction for protection against domestic violence. The injunction gives the judge information about what has occurred and enables him/her to determine what type of protection(s) you need.

Some things the judge may order in the injunction are:

  • That the abuser surrender all firearms.
  • That the abuser not commit any acts of violence against you, your children, or others living with you.
  • That the abuser immediately leaves the home you share.
  • That the abuser stays away from your home if you are not living together.
  • That you have temporary custody of any children you and the abuser have together.
  • That the abuser stays away from your job, children, school, or other areas.
  • That the abuser stays away from your property.

3) Where do I go to fill out the paperwork for an injunction?

The Clerk’s Office in the courthouse.

4) What happens once I file for an injunction?

The judge may issue a Temporary Injunction and set a hearing within 15 days to extend the injunction. The temporary injunction will let the abuser know that they must stay away from you. For the extension to be granted, you must be present at the hearing. At that time the judge may extent the Injunction for up to a year. An Advocate with the Peaceful Paths Domestic Violence Center may be present with you at the hearing.

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS FOR VICTIMS:

Peaceful Paths Domestic Violence Shelter 352.377.8255
DCF Economic Services (Food Stamps) 904.964.1515
WIC Program 352.392.2757
Victim Compensation 800.226.6667
Bradford County Health Dept. 904.964.7732
Three Rivers Legal Service 352.372.0519
State Attorneys Office (Case Status) 904.966.6307
Clerks Office (Restraining Orders) 904.966.6282
Victim Notification 877.846.3435
Elder Helpline 800.262.2243
ACORN Clinic (Medical & Dental) 352.485.1133
Abuse Hotline 1.800.962.2873
Meridian Behavioral Healthcare 1.800.330.5615 or 964.8382

Criminal Justice Process

CRIME COMMITTED: After a crime is reported to law enforcement an investigation will be conducted. If probable cause exists an arrest may be made.

ARREST: Suspect is taken to jail, fingerprinted and photographed. Some are immediately released or some have to post a bond to ensure they will show up in court.

FIRST APPEARANCE: Each suspect kept in jail must appear before a judge within 24 hours of arrest. The judge will deny or set bond and conditions of release. As a victim of the crime you have the right to attend this hearing.

INTAKE: This is the victim’s opportunity to tell the State Attorney’s Office how the crime occurred. If enough evidence exists, the State Attorney’s Office may choose to file charges and summons the suspect into court. An intake date may be given to you by the arresting officer or you may contact the State Attorney’s Office to schedule one.

FILING OF FORMAL CHARGES: The State Attorney’s Office may file formal charges after reviewing law enforcement arrest reports and evidence presented.

ARRAIGNMENT: The accused is formally charged and enters a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest.

PLEA: Defendant pleads guilty or no contest without a trial.

TRIAL PREPARATIONS: The prosecutor and defense attorney interview witnesses and exchange evidence in preparation for trial. At this point the victim(s) may be subpoenaed for deposition.

VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT: A written or spoken statement to the judge explaining the physical, emotional and financial impact the crime had on you. You may also state what sentence you hope the offender to receive.

TRIAL: The prosecutor presents evidence to either the judge or a jury about the case. Victims may be called to testify. The defendant may be found guilty or not guilty. The process ends if the defendant is found not guilty.

SENTENCING: If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will impose his sentence. At this point, victims have the right to address the court with their victim impact statement.

 

Contact:Elizabeth Sheppard

 

 

 

 

 

Under Florida law, e-mails are public records. If you do not want your e-mail released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to the BCSO. Instead, contact this office by phone.