CLASS TITLE: VICTIM/WITNESS SPECIALIST SKILL LEVEL: VWI
SPECIAL VICTIMS and ELDER ABUSE UNITS Grant-funded position
GENERAL STATEMENT OF DUTIES: Performs semi-complex telephone and in-person contact work with at-risk crime victims and witnesses in potential criminal matters, both pre and post-filing, in order to educate victims and witnesses about their rights during the criminal justice process, and minimize the impact of the criminal justice system on them; supports prosecutors in the preparation, organization and prosecution of criminal cases through a variety of activities, including scheduling and managing victim/witness meetings and interviews, arranging for travel, educating and referring victims to supportive resources based on the needs of the victim or witness and the overall needs of the criminal prosecution/investigation.
SUPERVISION RECEIVED/EXERCISED: Works under the general supervision of the Victim/Witness Director, Special Victims’ Unit (SVU) Chief Deputy District Attorney, and the assigned Elder Abuse prosecutor(s).
EXAMPLES OF DUTIES: (The following examples of duties are intended to be illustrative only and are not intended to be all inclusive.)
Acts as a resource for victims, victims’ families, and witnesses in cases dealing with children and at-risk adults who have been sexually assaulted, exploited and physically abused, including but not limited to elder abuse victims and human trafficking victims; greets victims and witnesses on arrival to courthouse; explains the criminal justice system, processes, procedures, and meaning of legal terminology in lay terms; answers questions and provides information to assist with the process of court proceedings and procedures, e.g. shelter, safety, transportation, compensation, therapy, community referrals; ensures witnesses are present for hearings and appear at the appropriate times; accompanies victims to Court when they testify or when they are present for other hearings; provides court “tours” for victims and families to increase their awareness of the criminal justice process; assists crime victims with sensitive medical and mental health-related referrals.
Assists prosecutors in case preparation through education and problem solving with victims and witnesses to ensure their cooperation and timely appearance in court; informs prosecutors of any potential witness problems or special needs of victims or witnesses; schedules witness appointments for prosecutors and schedules witnesses' trial appearance within a previously defined time frame or at attorney request, arranges transportation, food allowance, and hotel accommodations for out-of-state witnesses.
Works with staff to ensure all notification of “critical stages” (pursuant to the Victim’s Rights Amendment) is done accurately and in a timely manner; creates and maintains factual case records; familiarizes victims with legislation affecting their rights within the criminal justice system.
Initiates and responds to a wide variety of in-person and telephone contacts with crime victims, police, and lay witnesses to provide factual case-related information; communicates with personnel from various departments, e.g. Social Services, police agencies, probation offices, hospitals, doctor offices, detention facilities and schools, to support particular needs of victims and witnesses.
Monitors witness lists to ensure cases have necessary witnesses for trials and various types of hearings; keeps prosecutors informed of witness status and potential conflicts; electronically prepares personal service requests to ensure the attendance of victims and witnesses; provides basic investigative assistance to locate victims and/or witnesses whose whereabouts are unknown. Logs and maintains subpoena waiver cards for immediate reference.
Generates simple correspondence; collects information for the preparation of petitions for payment of witness expenses, makes telephone calls to a variety of agencies regarding case status and other inquiries; reviews police reports on elder abuse cases and contacts social services to gather necessary additional information, e.g. the status of the case, appropriate handling of case.
Downloads cases in ACTION (District Attorney database) to generate a variety of required correspondence; downloads subpoenas for trial; processes and mails notification letters to victims to provide case information; generates, mails, and receives victim impact statements from crime victims.
Maintains and organizes statistical information for grant purposes.
REQUIRED SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, AND ABILITIES:
Advanced interpersonal skills; ability to interact and communicate empathetically, clearly and effectively.
Ability to gain considerable knowledge of: the criminal justice system, standard legal/court procedures and relevant legal terminology, and victimization issues, e.g. sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, child sex assault, at-risk victims, drug and alcohol abuse; ability to discuss same with victims and witnesses of crimes.
Ability to gain considerable knowledge of guidelines and statutes, e.g. Victim's Compensation policy, Colorado Revised Statutes, Victims’ Rights enabling legislation, Child Abuse and Neglect Interagency Agreement, bond hearings, subpoena requests, and restitution issues; ability to stay informed and updated on changing statutes. Ability to provide criminal justice system education, status of cases, court support, and referral services to victims. Ability to quickly learn and internalize information about community agencies and relevant resources.
Considerable knowledge of standard office procedures. Ability to become familiar with and internalize relevant forms to the specific unit and/or assignment. Ability to operate standard office equipment (e.g. computer, fax, copier), gain working knowledge of word processing/database programs (e.g. Word, Outlook, ACTION), and gain working knowledge of procedures on downloading cases from DA database and processing notification letters for victims.
Ability to organize, prioritize, and plan aspects of work, and handle considerable detail and volume. Ability to be persistent and persuasive, and perform under pressure in stressful situations with courtesy and tact. Ability to organize and maintain a referral system from E-Mail (Outlook) regarding the status of cases and Victim/Witness policies and procedures. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with superiors, co-workers, attorneys, other law enforcement agency personnel, and the public, including victims and witnesses, and communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with same.
EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: Bachelor’s degree in victim assistance, human services, criminal justice or closely related field AND four (4) years’ experience as an advocate/specialist with a specialized docket in a District Court setting. Experience working with victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and elder abuse. Comparable education and experience that in the District Attorney’s discretion meets or exceeds the above criteria.
COMPLEXITY/RESPONSIBILITY: Work in the class is characterized by the range of routine to complex contacts and tasks necessary to ensure victim/witness timely appearance in court while remaining sensitive and empathetic to the complex nature of the victim/witness relationship to the crime, the justice system, and the offender.
SCOPE OF INTERPERSONAL CONTACTS: Work in the class involves a wide variety of semi-complex personal and telephone contacts, some of which involve the use of persuasion and explanation to various levels of understanding; contacts are with superiors, fellow workers, victims, police and lay witnesses, other agencies and the general public, and involve the giving and receiving of non-routine, non-reoccurring information.
WORK ENVIRONMENT: Work is generally confined to a standard office environment.