Victim Witness Advocate

Conway Police Department

What does a victim witness advocate do?

The Victim Witness Advocate's goal is to reduce the impact that crime, and the resulting involvement in the criminal justice system, has on the lives of victims and witnesses. The Victim Witness Advocate is committed to ensuring that all victims of crime within the Town of Conway are treated with fairness and the respect and dignity that they deserve. As an assistant to the prosecutor, the Victim Witness Advocate enhances the effectiveness of the prosecution division by assisting the department Prosecutor with trial preparation, case tracking, evidence presentation, witness preparations, negotiated dispositions and general court proceedings.

The Conway Police Department is lucky to have a Victim Witness Advocate on staff Monday through Thursday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The Conway Police Department is also lucky to have a Victim Witness Advocate with experience in the prosecution of both felony level offenses, as well as with misdemeanor level offenses.

As a victim...

Being a victim of a crime can be a traumatic experience. Crime can happen to anyone, regardless of precautions a person may or may not have taken. While a victim’s world can be turned upside down by a traumatic event, victims can regain a sense of balance and strength as they heal.

Common Short-Term Effects

People often suffer emotional and physical trauma following a crime. Victims may blame themselves instead of the person or people who hurt them, or be afraid that family or friends will blame them. Hardest of all, victims may worry that they will be victimized again. A victim may feel numb or unemotional for some time after the event. Disbelief, denial, and anger are also common responses to victimization.

In addition, victims may have questions about where to go for medical treatment, about what will happen if they report a crime to the police, or how to find psychological or emotional support in the community. These concerns are normal, understandable responses to crime, and it may be helpful to speak to a victim service professional or counselor to discuss the impact of the crime on your life.

Common Long-Term Effects

Possible long-term effects from victimization can include:

· Nightmares or sleeping disorders

· Flashbacks

· Extreme tension

· Overwhelming anger

· Feelings of isolation or estrangement from others

· Trouble with short-term or long-term memory

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, please contact a victim service provider. A professional may be able to help you identify ways to cope with the long-term impact of the victimization.

Decision to Arrest

The Police Officer has the responsibility to decide whether or not to make an arrest; an Officer can arrest with or without your consent if the Officer believes that a crime has been committed.

How to Obtain a Protective Order

· Go to the Conway District Court, 35 East Conway Road, Center Conway, or the Ossipee District Court, 96 Water Village Rd, Ossipee. If the court is closed you may go to, or call, the police department for an emergency protective order. The order will remain in effect until the end of the next business day.

· Fill out the appropriate paperwork, providing as much information as possible. Once the court has issued the temporary order, read and be familiar with the order and how it works.

· A date for a hearing will be scheduled. You must attend this hearing and bring any evidence you may have to support your petition. The judge will hear both sides and decide if the protective order will be granted for a one-year period.

· You are not alone. There are advocates available through Starting Point to assist you throughout the protective order process. Please ask the clerk of the court to assist you with contacting an advocate.

Safety with a Protective Order

· KEEP A COPY OF THE PROTECTIVE ORDER WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES

· Give a copy to a trusted friend, neighbor or family member.

· Report any violation of the order to the local police department.

· Make a plan to stay safe until the police arrive.

· Inform coworkers, children’s schools/daycares, health care providers and neighbors of the protective order.

Crime Victim Compensation

The New Hampshire Victims’ Compensation Program helps innocent victims of violent crime in NH with expenses directly related to crime injuries. Crime victim compensation is a direct reimbursement to, or on behalf of, a crime victim for the following crime-related expenses:

· Medical and dental care needed for crime-related injuries.

· Mental health counseling with a licensed therapist.

· Relocation costs not to exceed $5,000.

. Up to 10 days emergency funds available through your local crisis center for domestic and sexual violence victims.

. Reimbursement for replacement of clothing or bedding held for evidence purposes.

. Mileage to and from licensed health care providers.

. Reimbursement for crime scene clean-up.

. Medication and medication management.

. Security systems and up to one year of monitoring.

. Loss of earnings.

. Loss of support for the dependents of homicide victims.

. Funeral and burial costs for homicide victims (up to $5,000 and up to $500 for a grave marker).

. Other reasonable crime-related out-of-pocket expenses.

You cannot be paid for property loss or pain and suffering. Awards can be made up to a max of $25,000. Collateral sources available to the victim such as insurance, Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security need to be considered first.

Should you require additional information please call:

1-800-300-4500 (in NH only) or (603) 271-1284

Prior to a Violent Incident:

. Know how to identify your partner’s level of violence so that you can assess danger to yourself and to your children.

. Notify a neighbor to be alert to strange noises and to call the police when this happens.

. Plan where you will go in an emergency situation. Tell this person not to talk with anyone until they speak with you first if you believe your partner will contact this person.

. Teach your most responsible child to call the police and give your name and address if a violent incident is occurring and he or she is able to safely get to the phone.

. Review your safety plan often.

When Preparing to Leave:

. Leave extra keys, important documents, medicine and clothing with someone you trust.

. Get your own post office box and open your own bank account.

. Identify where you will go and how to get there. Practice your route. Keep a good supply of gas in the car.

. Determine who will loan you money if needed.

. Have change available to make calls.

. Keep shelter and important numbers close.

. Remember: using a calling card will show up on your phone bill.

Safety in your Home:

. Change all locks immediately

. Review a safety plan with all members of the household.

. Inform your children’s caregivers who has permission to pick them up.

. Keep a phone charged and with you at all times.

. Purchase a long cord for a regular phone.

Know Your Rights:

If you are the victim of domestic violence and you believe that law enforcement protection is needed for your physical safety, you have the right to request the officer assist in providing for your safety, including asking for an EMERGENCY RESTRAINING ORDER OF PROTECTION. You may also request that the officer assist you in obtaining from your premises and curtilage; toiletries, medication, clothing, business equipment, and other items as determined by the courts, and in locating and taking you to a local safe place including, but not limited to, a designated meeting place to be used as a crisis center, a family member’s or friend’s residence, or a similar place of safety. If you are in need of medical treatment you have a right to request that the officer assist you in obtaining an ambulance.

Melissa Smith
Victim Witness Advocate
msmith@conwaypd.com

Victim Resources:

Conway Police Department

Emergency - 911
Non-Emergency - (603) 356-5715
Victim/Witness Advocate - (603) 356-5715

New Hampshire Circuit/Family Court System (State Wide)

Phone - (855) 212-1234
Website - https://www.courts.state.nh.us/

Carroll County Attorney's Office

Phone - (603) 539-7769
Website - https://www.carrollcountynh.net/county-attorney

Memorial Hospital, North Conway, NH

Phone - (603) 356-5461
Website - https://mainehealth.org/memorial-hospital

NH Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

Phone - (603) 224-8893
Website - https://www.nhcadsv.org/

NH Bureau of Elderly & Adult Services

Phone - (800) 949-0470 or (603) 271-9203
Website - https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/beas/index.htm

NH Division of Children Youth & Families

Central Intake Phone (Reporting Child Abuse) - (800) 843-5533 or (603) 271-6562
Website - https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcyf/cps/index.htm

Human Services General

Starting Point - (800) 336-3795
Sexual Assault Support Services - (888) 747-7070
Help Line - (800) 852-3388
State Domestic Violence Hotline - (866) 644-3574
State Sexual Assault Hotline - (800) 277-5570

Corrections, Probation & Parole

Probation Office Phone (Ossipee) - (603) 539-4137
Carroll County Department of Corrections Phone - (603) 539-2284
New Hampshire State Prison Phone - (603) 271-5600

Miscellaneous

New Hampshire Victim's Bill of Rights (NH RSA 21-M:8-k) - http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/I/21-M/21-M-8-k.htm