Arc of Dreams lit purple for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
Local advocate describes vast resources available in South Dakota
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - This week, the Arc of Dreams is lit purple to commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
Holly Wethor was inspired by her experiences navigating the criminal justice system as a victim; she decided to become a victim advocate and help those in abusive situations.
A victim advocate can be made available by the court system or through a counseling center.
“They’ll go with you to the court and help you and write victim impact letters and just be with you there for the whole entire process and it’s actually a very much healing journey when you can do this,” said Wethor. “And so it was for me that I can definitely tell you that’s the best feeling in the world. And then you are finally able to breathe.”
Some victims are trapped in a domestic violence relationship through financial limitations. New grant funding is available in some cases to help with legal assistance to sever the relationship and navigate legal complications.
“A lot of times, victims will not leave their abuser because of the financial aspect. Whether they threaten them with money, or losing the kids. Some offenders have their names on the houses or the cars or anything like that, so it’s really hard for victims to leave. So there is help out there. You just really have to want it and you have to reach out but there is help,” said Wethor.
“Marsy’s law gave me a voice, but not only a voice — it helped me build a relationship back with God and my family and find something I’m passionate about. Fighting for my life and kids, continuing to fight for other victims to have that voice. If I could crawl out of the wrath of hell and succeed, there is no reason anyone else can’t. You have to find your voice, and you have to fight for it; that’s what Marsy’s Law did for me. "
Helpline Center: helplinecenter.org/
The Helpline Center is a state-wide program offering connections for many services across the state, including victim assistance, housing, food, and a vast array of other resources available to residents.
The Network: sdnafvsa.com/home/
The Network is a state-level non-profit agency comprised of caring people dealing with the concerns of domestic violence and sexual assault victims.
The Compass Center: thecompasscenter.org/
The Compass Center is an organization in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that provides counseling and support for survivors of sexual and domestic violence.
Children’s Home Shelter for Family Safety: chssd.org/shelter
Children’s Home Shelter for Family Safety is an emergency shelter providing crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy, and support. All services are free of charge.
South Dakota SAVIN system: savin.sd.gov/portal/
The South Dakota SAVIN program is a free, automated service that provides crime victims with vital information and notification 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This service will allow you to obtain offender information and to register for notification of a change in offender status, such as offender release. All registrations through South Dakota SAVIN are kept completely confidential.
Marsy’s Law: marsyslawforsd.com/
Victims of violent crime in these states must by law be treated with respect and dignity by the criminal justice system. Courts must consider the safety of victims and families when setting bail and release conditions. Family members have legal standing in bail hearings, pleas, sentencing, and parole hearings.
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