Serving the Victims of Violent Crimes

Photo courtesy of Marina D. Sandoval, flickr.com. Original photo altered

Photo courtesy of Marina D. Sandoval, flickr.com. Original photo altered

By Jenna Monk

Tucked in the YWCA building off Augusta Road is one of the offices of the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network. Established in 1985, SCVAN has provided “immediate and holistic” services to victims of assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, rape, domestic violence, and other crimes.

The organization exists to ensure that the victims’ rights are maintained throughout the justice process, that their emergency needs are met, and ultimately that the victims can heal and continue to constructively live their lives after traumatic incidents. In order to do this, SCVAN provides a series of services, including a network of service providers such as medical professionals, locksmiths, mental health professionals, or any other appropriate immediate services. SCVAN also provides legal representation for victims. For example, for a victim of assault or domestic violence, to have their locks changed or their broken window fixed within a matter of hours is pivotal for their safety, peace of mind, and their family.

These services benefit the Greenville community as well as the victims directly affected. SCVAN works with law enforcement to help process open cases involving their victims so that those cases can be closed efficiently and justice can be served. Because of this collaboration, the Greenville community can also bring violent criminal cases to a close and move forward.

SCVAN has hosted interns for years, many of which have come from Furman. After speaking with several interns, it is evident that their time there has been well spent. Marie Smith, the Director of South Carolina Immigrant Victims Network, a program of SCVAN, says that they could not complete the amount of work that they do without the help of their interns. While most internship experiences divide the students’ time between substantive and menial work, SCIVN is quite different. Interns are trained and thrown into the mix on day one, taking on the kinds of tasks that staff members complete. As an organization with two staff members on location everyday, every minute of the day matters, and many of those minutes are freed up for the staff with the help of their interns.

The SCVAN staff members are passionate about their work and are able to fill a large need in the community with few resources. In order to maintain these resources, SCVAN has organized a fundraiser for April 8 called the Bright Beginnings Breakfast. The breakfast will feature speakers from SCVAN, South Carolina law enforcement, and former victims who benefitted from the services provided by SCVAN.

To learn more about SCVAN or their upcoming Bright Beginnings Breakfast, check out their website at scvan.org, or contact Marie Smith at marie@scvan.org.

Categories: Opinions

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