Monday, April 02, 2012

April news article from the Circuit Attorney's Office: Victim Services Unit

“The greatest lesson I’ve learned in this field is the importance of being a presence for a victim. That is
the best reward: to help that individual have a voice in the system.”
–Kathy Tofall, Director of Victim Services
Many St. Louis citizens never come into contact with the criminal justice system until after they are crime
victims. If you’re the victim of a crime, the idea of navigating the criminal justice system may seem
daunting. However, victims and witnesses are an important part of the criminal justice system. Victim and
witness participation is often the key to a successful prosecution. If a victim does not assist in bringing a
defendant to justice, it puts the victim and community at risk.
If you yourself have not been the victim of a crime, chances are a friend, family member, or neighbor has.
Fortunately, the Victim Services Unit is available to help victims and witnesses through every part of the
The Victim Services Unit of the Circuit Attorney's Office offers numerous services to victims and
witnesses. In 2011, the Victim Services Unit (VSU) served over 2,745 victims and was present during
1,000 trial hours. The Victim Services Unit is made up of Director Kathy Tofall, 10 experienced case
managers, and support staff dedicated to providing comprehensive services to all crime victims in the
If you are the victim, family member of a victim, or witness to a crime, the Victim Services Unit will
provide you with services free of charge. The VSU provides support in a number of ways, including
serving as an escort to court, helping you obtain compensation, informing you of your rights, and offering
free crisis counseling.
The Missouri Constitution grants rights to victims of dangerous felony crimes. The Victim Services Unit
will help make sure you understand your rights. They include being present at proceedings, to be
informed of court dates, and to make a verbal or written victim impact statement.
To request information from the Victim Services Unit, call 314-622-4373. Training is available if you are
interested in learning how to assist victims in your community. Call the Victim Services Unit for more

1114 Market St. Room 401
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
(314) 622-4941
FAX: (314) 622-3369!/circuitattorney.

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