The Crime Victim's Act of 1997 requires specific action to be taken by law enforcement and the courts for certain types of crime victims. All law enforcement agencies are required to have a victim advocate in place. Law enforcement based advocates are involved in the investigative process to advocate for the rights of the victim, and to act as a liaison between the victim and the agency. This keeps victims more involved in the criminal justice process.
A "victim" is defined as a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as the result of the commission or attempted commission of a criminal offense. A criminal offense is an offense against a person or against the property of a person when the value of the property, stolen or destroyed is in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00).
When an officer takes a report or makes an arrest involving a victim and crime as described above, the officer will complete the victim's information sheet and explain the victim's rights statement on the back side of their copy. The victim's information sheet is turned into the Department Victim Advocate.
Upon request, the victim advocate will assist victims in applying for compensation and other financial, social service, and counseling assistance, intervene on behalf of victims with creditors, employers, etc., make a reasonable attempt to inform the victim of status and progress of the case and investigation through disposition in summary court, referral to the Department of Juvenile Justice, or through final transmittal of general sessions warrant to prosecutor notify victims of the arrest, detention, bond hearing, pretrial hearing or other court dates make a reasonable attempt to notify victims prior to release of juvenile to parent/guardian inform the department of a need for transportation of victims and/or witnesses to and from court and protection at court. Debbie Underwood the Victim Advocate for the Department of Public Safety, at MUSC. She can be reached at (843) 792-1986, or (843) 792-4196. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .