From the first interaction with law enforcement, to court hearings that are often rescheduled and continued, until the case is either resolved, dismissed or the defendant is convicted; victims may feel worried, anxious, frustrated or even intimidated by the process.
That is where victims’ rights advocates can become a beneficial resource of knowledge and provide compassion and understanding, often becoming a lifeline to victims seeking recovery.
Executive director of Huron County Victims Assistance program, Linda Border, said many times advocates provide an essential link to the public in understanding their rights and their options in court at all levels. The program, which is funded by and operates on grants, is a part of the Huron County Prosecutor’s Office.
“We essentially have three nationally accredited advocates available in each courtroom — felony/common pleas court, misdemeanor/municipal court and juvenile court. Our advocates are available to all crime victims to assist them in understanding legal processes, free of charge. When understanding of courtroom procedures occurs, victims’ anxiety levels go down,” Border said.
Border started volunteering in 2011 and was hired shortly after, and worked in all capacities. In 2017, when James Joel Sitterly was elected county prosecutor, he named Border as director of the program.
“I have learned so much in this role and I appreciate the opportunities I have been given. I feel that each of us should use whatever talent, skill or service we have to offer to help others,” she said.
The program has received a 2019 grant award from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, with a generous match provided by the Huron County commissioners.
Border serves as grant writer and manager, as well as the Norwalk Municipal Court advocate. The staff consists of Tina Ashakih, elony court advocate, and Kimberly Jones, juvenile court advocate. For further information about Huron County victims assistance or help regarding a protection order or community services information, residents are encouraged to call 419-663-3839.