The Victim Advocate Law Enforcement (VALE) program increases the knowledge of victims and their families about domestic violence, sexual assault, and personal safety, as well as provides advocacy, support and information about available options and community resources. The VALE program places a certified Domestic Violence Counselor/Advocate in the Norwich Police Department to work alongside police officers when responding to domestic violence calls. The VALE Advocate provides immediate crisis intervention and advocacy to victims, acting as a liaison between law enforcement and victims during the initial investigation and if follow-up visits are necessary. The VALE program has been so successful that the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney has said that they would like to see it replicated across the state as a model program.
The VALE Advocate provides:
- Immediate response to domestic incidents to ensure the safety of the victim and their children, and support to the police officers investigating the call;
- Safety planning for victims, including information on how to enhance their safety in their home and develop an understanding of domestic violence;
- Information and education about protective orders and assistance with protective order modification, as well as information about applying for civil restraining orders;
- Information on the law enforcement processes and education about the victim’s rights;
- Escorted transportation of the victim to and from court;
- Assistance and one-on-one support to help the victim and their family at court, as they are often re-victimized during the court process; and
- Unannounced phone calls and follow up visits along with law enforcement, to ensure that the victim and children are safe, that their needs are being met, and that the offender is honoring restraining and protective orders.