Victims advocates in Lexington offering help, resources after a crime

Victims advocates in Lexington offering help, resources after a crime
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:56 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington continues to grapple with a string of violence throughout the city, with the latest shooting happening just Tuesday night.

It comes as the city is also trying to work with victims after a crime.

“We can’t guarantee an outcome for them, the only thing we can do is ensure they are informed and engaged and treated with respect throughout the process,” said Brittany Scordo, director of Victim Services.

The Fayette County prosecutor, Lexington police and commonwealth attorney’s office all have victims advocates on staff. People like Brittany Scordo, who are tasked with helping victims of a crime navigate the legal and judicial system. As well as find them resources in the community, like safe housing following an incident.

“Explain their rights as a crime victim, do safety planning with them, answer questions that they have, facilitate conversations with them and the prosecutors,” Scordo said.

Cornetta Harris works as an advocate with the police department, serving as one of their first line of the defense for a victim following a crime. Sometimes they’ll assist someone filing a protective order. Other victims may not want to press charges.

“Which is okay, we don’t try to force it on them. But we explain to them, how their safety is a priority,” said Cornetta Harris, a victim’s advocate with the Lexington Police Department.

They say they can also help victims get in touch with financial assistance and compensation funds, and also register to get updates about inmates or arrests involved in their case.

For a victim, they may feel powerless. These women told WKYT their biggest offering is lending an ear, so their words no longer fall on deaf ones.

“There are sometimes when victims are appreciative that someone listened to them because a lot of the times they really just need someone to listen to them, and hear their fear and hear their pain and hear their experience and kind of hold space for that. I think that is a gift we can give people,” Scordo said.

Lexington police is reigniting a program that took a hiatus during the pandemic called SOS, which stands for Surviving Onward Sessions. It’s for families of those who lost someone in a homicide.

Those will be held Tuesday evenings at Dunbar Community Center starting in mid-October.