Being the victim of a crime can cause significant trauma, and the Harford State’s Attorney’s Office and Office of Family and Children’s Services are partnering to ensure victims of all crimes — not just domestic violence or sexual assault — get the support they need to deal with that trauma.
“I saw a void where all our victims could have a need for services,” State’s Attorney Al Peisinger said. “People don’t ask to be assaulted, have their house broken into. They are situations people are not asking for, it’s a trauma that can affect the whole family dynamic.”
Under the new partnership, a case manager from Family and Children’s Services working at the Harford Family Justice Center, through a referral by a prosecutor, can begin to provide victim support right from the beginning, said Jennifer Redding, deputy chief of behavioral health services for Family and Children Services.
“In real time, as soon as they come in contact with a victim, they can link up with us immediately and our case manager can jump right in and assess what an individual’s needs are and help meet them,” Redding said. “By being there, we’re given the fortitude to do whatever the client needs.”
Such services could include therapy, counseling, case management and safety planning.
Peisinger used an example of a young child whose home is broken into and his Xbox is stolen.
“That child is scared to go back in his house or bedroom,” Peisinger said.
Support services have been available to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, but prior to the partnership, victims would have to seek out help to work through their trauma, how to minimize it and how it might affect them in the future, he said.
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