Mayor Edward G. Enns

Ft. Pierce Police Department - Victim Assistance Program

The Fort Pierce Police Department's Victim Assistance Program was begun in June, 1990, as part of a grass-roots movement sweeping the country over the past few decades that recognized that victims were being neglected in the criminal justice system, and that saw domestic violence victims as the most neglected of all.

The main objective of the program is to assist victims in getting the help they need as a result of victimization. In domestic violence cases this could be through referrals for protection orders, shelter, financial assistance, medical assistance, mental health counseling or legal assistance. The program also helps victims deal with a complex judicial system. Frequently the most important function of the program is emotional support for the victim. This holds true even in cases where the victim is not ready to leave the batterer. In these cases, there is information that can be passed on to the victim that may help to ensure future safety.

Since reporting of domestic violence has increased dramatically over the past years, it is impossible to use incident reporting as a gauge of the program's effectiveness. There has been a steady decline in the number of domestic-related murders within the city in the past several years, however. In addition, measures have been put in place (through criminal prosecution and protection orders) that offer more protection for the victim than in the past.

The Victim Assistance Program is operated by one civilian employee, whose salary and benefits are paid for by city funding.

CONTACT: Linda V. Webb, 920 S.U.S. #1, Ft. Pierce, FL 34982, Telephone - (561) 461-3820, Ext. 5273, Fax - (561) 465-7925.

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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