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WWW.STLOUISCOUNTYMN.GOVCOUNTYATTORNEY 5 Patty Wheeler VictimWitness Director Duluth Office Anne Fisk Lori Ulvi Virgina Office Michael OBryan Hibbing Office Elaine Lee VictimWitness Division The goal of the VictimWitness Services Division is to help ease the physical emotional and finan- cial hardships caused by criminal victimization and to reduce the confusion and inconvenience that might be caused by involvement in the criminal justice system by providing comprehensive services to victims and witnesses of crime. Each of the St. Louis County Attorneys offices in Duluth Hibbing and Virginia has a VictimWit- ness staff member. Patty Wheeler is the division director. The office makes initial contact with a victim by letter informing them of the charges filed against the offender. Included in that letter is a brochure explaining their rights as a victim and a request for them to call the office so that advocates can get input from them and address any questions or concerns they may have. Staff tries to make contact with every victim by telephone to address any needs they might have as their case moves through the system. Often the biggest part of the victimwitness offices work is listening.The staff handles thousands of calls texts and e-mails from victims and witnesses.The office is responsible for ensuring that the Minnesota Crime Victims Rights laws are upheld.Victims are often feeling afraid or confused and witnesses might be frustrated or even angry with a system they do not understand and sometimes may seem not victim friendly. However information about court advocacy notification of hearing dates trial preparation working with other community programs to support them and a myriad of other issues are competently and compassionately dealt with by the advocates. The division works closely with other organizations such as Safe Haven the American Indian Com- munity Housing Organization AICHO First Witness Child Advocacy Center the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault PAVSA Domestic Abuse Intervention Project DAIP Men as Peacemak- ers and Advocates for Family Peace to make sure victims needs are met and they are receiving the comprehensive support and services they need. Staff also attends community meetings and training sessions to talk about victim issues. The division is responsible for getting victims and witnesses to court for trials. Staff helps find witnesses stays in contact with them and keeps them informed of trial and hearing dates which can change multiple times. The division also coordinates the Youth Accountability Program providing an alternative to delinquency court or prosecution.The goal of the program is to develop reasonable alternatives to the juvenile justice system which reduces court costs and caseload burdens.The program includes parents and helps them and their child to truly understand the impact of poor decisions.And it provides some tools for a more successful future. VICTIM WITNESS DIVISION