Victim Witness Coordinator: Kathi Whitman
Phone: (856) 225-8440
The mission of the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office of Victim Witness Advocacy is to respond to crime victims’ concerns regarding their personal safety and security following their victimization; to provide a safe environment for victims to tell their stories to non-judgmental advocates specially trained to validate the victims’ uncomfortable or disturbing reactions; to provide information, assistance, accompaniment and support to prepare victims for their encounter with the criminal justice system; and to make appropriate referrals to meet victims’ physical, emotional, financial and other needs as a result of their victimization.
It is our experience that individuals who are informed about the criminal justice system and their role within it are better able to cope with the system’s expectations of them as well as any problems resulting from their victimization.
The Victim Witness Unit is an on-call unit, available to assist if needed at night and on weekends.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Kathi Whitman is the Victim Witness Coordinator.
She is responsible for:
- Supervising and training the unit staff
- Writing and monitoring victim assistance grants to support the Victim Witness Unit
- Instructing recruits and experienced law enforcement personnel at the Camden County Police Academy about victims’ rights, victim services, and death notification protocol
- Providing community outreach and education regarding criminal victimization and crime victims’ rights and services
- Providing direct service to victims and surviving family members of homicides, vehicular homicides, and other major crimes.
- Assisting indigent victims of sexual assault in obtaining post-exposure prophylaxis and informing victims of the results of their offenders’ HIV/AIDS tests
- Assisting undocumented immigrants who have been victims of crime in obtaining U-Visas
- Facilitating monthly meetings of the Camden County Domestic Violence Working Group
- Providing training to hospital personnel regarding domestic violence (Cooper Against Domestic Abuse)
- Providing community outreach
Megan Price serves as the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) Coordinator and victim advocate. As MDT Coordinator, Megan facilitates bi-weekly meetings where cases of child sexual abuse and serious child physical abuse are discussed. Representatives from the Prosecutor’s Office, Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P), and the CARES Institute at Rowan SOM, conference cases for the dual purpose of expediting appropriate services to the victim and non-offending parent or caretaker and improving the prosecution of these difficult cases by gathering information from all agencies involved.
Megan provides direct service to victims of child physical abuse, child sexual abuse and neglect and their non-offending parent or caretaker, including court accompaniment, advocacy and referrals to appropriate medical, counseling and victim compensation agencies. In addition, she provides community outreach and training to groups of parents, teachers and students regarding child abuse.
The Unit’s victim advocates work closely with victims, assistant prosecutors and case investigators. Victim advocates prepare victims for their encounters with the criminal justice system, answering questions about the status of each case, providing explanations of court terminology and proceedings, and accompanying child and adult victims to court for reassurance and support. They provide transportation to enable victims to participate in or observe court proceedings.
Advocates provide assistance in determining amounts of restitution for losses, compensation for medical, counseling, emergency re-location, crime scene clean-up, lost wages and funeral expenses, and intercede with employers, landlords and creditors in the event of financial difficulties as a result of victimization. They make referrals for counseling, housing, crime prevention, financial assistance and other social services. They also advocate with judges, assistant prosecutors, law enforcement, the Probation Department, the Department of Corrections and the NJ State Parole Board on behalf of crime victims to ensure that the criminal justice system is responsive to victims’ needs and is in compliance with legislation such as the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, Megan’s Laws, and New Jersey’s Constitutional Amendment for crime victims’ rights. Victim advocates are also trained in community crisis response and psychological first aid, offering individual and group crisis intervention to families, schools, businesses and banks following traumatic criminal events, as members of Camden County’s Mental Health Emergency Response Team.