Office for Victims of Crime--Putting Victims First Rural Victim Assistance--A Victim/Witness Guide for Rural Prosecutors OJP seal
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Rural Community Dynamics
Victim/Witness Assistance in Rural Communities
Overcoming Challenges to Serving Rural Victims
Promising Practices in Rural Prosecutors' Offices
   Volunteer Victim Advocates:
    Cochise County, Arizona

   Collegiate Advocates: Cass
    County, Michigan

   Advocates Riding the
    "Circuit": The Ohio Victim
    Witness Association

   High-Tech Advocacy: The
    CyberCrisisT Anonymous
    Messaging System
   The "Styling" Advocate: The
    Hairdresser Project of
    Southeast Connecticut

   Technology and Advocacy:
    Web Sites

   Community Partnerships
    Are Key to Success

Supplementary Material
 
Community Partnerships Are Key to Success

Even though prosecutor-based victim/witness programs have gained support for the services they provide, they still face many obstacles to delivering service to victims of crime. For programs that serve low-income, secluded rural areas of the United States, these challenges only intensify. Victims in these areas face the same difficulties as those in larger urban jurisdictions, but the programs designed to help them overcome their trauma and loss must do so with fewer resources and fewer advocates.

Funds for training volunteers and interns can be limited. General trainings for crisis intervention, understanding the court process, or victims' rights and issues, however, can be created with area partnerships. These partnerships may include churches; senior citizen groups; domestic violence shelters; rape crisis centers; schools; hospitals; police, fire, and rescue departments; and others.

All of the successful programs highlighted here have built and relied on partnerships with these and similar organizations to enhance their services. Whether they received people or funding, access to office space or other services, each of the jurisdictions mentioned owes some part of its success to those in other government offices and in the community who were willing to get involved in the effort to better serve victims of crime in rural areas.

To improve these services, the public, prosecutors, and the rest of the criminal justice community must become aware of these challenges and join the fight to overcome them.


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