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State Attorney Pilot Program Offers In-House Counseling for Crime Survivors

The Office of the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit and Victim Service Center of Central Florida collaborated to launch a new pilot program offering victims and survivors of crimes access to an in-house counselor at the State Attorney’s office in Orange County.

The goal is to provide additional support to victims and survivors of crime at any point during the criminal justice process.

Under the pilot program, VSC has opened a satellite office at the State Attorney Office’s Orange County location where a dedicated crisis counselor is available to speak with victims privately upon request.

The counselor can provide emotional assistance and support before or after depositions, interviews with attorneys and court proceedings. The counseling sessions are held in a closed, safe space with only the counselor and survivor and their conversations are private.

“Our priority has always been to ensure survivors and victims receive the support and assistance they need as they navigate the criminal justice system,” State Attorney Andrew Bain said. “By partnering with the Victim Service Center of Central Florida and giving them the space to open a satellite office in our building, we are providing a needed resource within our office, offering survivors direct access to emotional support and counseling whenever they need it.”

During the initial phase of the program, one therapist will be available at the State Attorney’s Office in downtown Orlando. Plans are to expand the program to include additional counselors in both the downtown Orlando office and Osceola County office.

“Every step of the criminal justice process can be overwhelming and can cause the victim to relive their trauma,” VSC Executive Director Lui Damiani said. “While the court system provides an opportunity to seek justice, it can also act as a trigger, prompting individuals to seek our services.”

The Victim Service Center of Central Florida is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing individualized services and resources to victims of sexual assault, violent crime and traumatic circumstances. With a team of trained professionals, the center offers a range of services including crisis intervention, counseling, legal advocacy and community education.

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