Victim Advocates provide crisis intervention, assistance with filing crimes compensation, criminal justice information and social service referrals. The Unit Supervisor can be reached at 727-582-6259. Florida Abuse Hotline: 1-800-962-2873 (1-800-96-ABUSE) Click here to visit the Department of Children and Families Abuse website. Crisis Intervention In the Pinellas County Sheriff’s jurisdiction, a Victim Advocate may be called to the scene by law enforcement to assist victims of crime and/or their families, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Victim Advocates respond to meet the immediate needs of the victim and their family. Support Services Due to the trauma of victimization experienced by many victims, Advocates are available to help victims rebuild their lives. The Victim Advocate staff is available to explain victim’s rights and options, and to help victims navigate the criminal justice process and social service system. In some cases, the Advocates may accompany victims to court and other crime related appointments. Victim’s Rights The Florida Constitution guarantees victims of crime to certain basic rights, including but not limited to, the right to be informed, to be present, to be heard at all crucial stages of criminal proceedings. These rights extend to the extent that they do not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused. The Victim Rights Act of 1988 further insures that victims: Be informed about the availability of Crimes Compensation and other victim services. May submit a victim impact statement. Be protected from intimidation. May seek restitution from the offender Information & Referrals The Victim Advocate staff works closely with local social service agencies to secure the services necessary to alleviate the physical, emotional and financial impact of crime. Referrals are made on the basis of the victim’s specific needs. Typically referrals are made for short and long term counseling, abuse shelters, emergency food, shelter, medical, crime prevention and legal aid. Helpful Links: Pinellas County 211 Helpline - A general multilingual helpline available 24/7 to connect residents with needed services. Area Agency on Aging - Plans, coordinates and offers services through state and federal resources that help older adults stay in their homes. The Haven - One agency providing food, shelter, safety and clothing throughout Pinellas County. CASA - Community Action Stops Abuse: providing refuge, crisis intervention, and advocacy to victims of domestic violence. Pinellas Clerk of the Court - This site includes forms, instructions, and video helpful for all court proceedings. Pinellas County Health & Human Services - Providing access to low-income for medical care and other safety net services. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement - ICE Victim Notification Program – Eligible victims can register to obtain reliable and timely information regarding a criminal alien’s release from custody. Additional Services Victim Advocates help victims in gathering documentation and filing for crimes compensation claims which may cover medical and mental health costs, funeral bills, wage loss, property loss and loss of support. Advocates also aid victims in preparing restitution documents and victim impact statements to be presented in court.