MILLER COUNTY, Ark. — Eighth Judicial District South Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Potter Barrett has announced that her office was recently awarded a grant that will improve services for crime victims.
The $44,681 grant is from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Office of Intergovernmental Services, and is funded by the Victims of Crime Act program. Barrett said the funds will be used to provide high-quality services that are directly related to the emotional healing and recovery of crime victims by creating a position within the prosecutor's office for a victim/witness coordinator and a Victim Services Fund for Miller County, Ark.
Barrett, whose office serves Miller and Lafayette counties, said the coordinator position will serve victims in both counties when needed.
The coordinator will provide guidance and support for victims and their families throughout the entire judicial process. This includes providing information about the trial process and keeping victims up to date on court scheduling, attending trial with victims, coordinating restitution recovery, assessing the needs of victims and putting them in contact with resources as needed.
The Victim Services Fund will provide financial assistance to victims of crime through professional services, relocation services and travel expenses. For example, if a victim of domestic violence needs to obtain a different residence from the perpetrator or simply needs financial help changing locks and securing an existing residence, the Victim Services Fund can help with those expenses. Victims often move far away and do not have the funds to come back for trial, resulting in dismissal because of "lack of victim cooperationl," when in reality, he or she simply does not have the ability to come back, Barrett said. The fund will allow for travel expenses for both victims and witnesses.
"I am so excited about this grant award. As an elected official, I believe it is our job to be a good steward of taxpayer money. Obtaining grants to assist the payroll and expenses of our office saves taxpayers money and benefits the victims of crime at the same time," Barrett said. "I am very proud of my staff and the work of the existing victim/witness coordinator, Brodie Reddin. This additional position will relieve her heavy caseload and allow even more attention to be focused on victims and in particular restitution recovery." After grant committee and quorum court approval, funding is expected to begin Oct. 1, 2019.