A victim and witness rights advocate pilot program has been initiated in Millard County and some 20 volunteers are needed. They will complete a 10-hour training program.
Specific cases will be assigned to the volunteers by Joyce Beckstrand, victims' assistance coordinator and secretary in the county attorney's office. She will identify victims form police reports and from health care providers.The program has been established with funding from an $8,600 grant authorized through the federal Victims of Crime Act, administered by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Additional expenses will be picked up by the county.
County Attorney Warren Peterson said some victims of crime haven't had the strength to attend court sessions and have had no one they could turn to for help. He added that an active victims' rights program will aid the criminal justice system.
The attorney noted that crime victims can apply for cash grants form the Utah Crime Victim Reparation Office. They will be assisted in filing applications for such funds.
The Utah Legislature set up a victim and witness Bill of Rights in 1987, placing the responsibility for the program with county attorneys.