Crime Victims Services offers support in times of need in Craig
April 22, 2015
Craig — No one ever wants to find themselves in the middle of a crime scene or a traumatic accident, but when the worst happens, Moffat County residents have someone in their corner.
Advocates Crisis Support Services welcomed a new Crime Victims Services Coordinator, Bernadette Roper, to its team in November. Roper's office is in the Moffat County Public Safety Center, and she works closely with the Craig Police Department and the Moffat County Sheriff's Office to ensure that victims and their families get the support they need.
This week is National Crime Victims Week, and Roper is working to get the word out to the community about the resources available to them in times of crisis.
"It's amazing that we've got such great resources in such a small community and (I'm trying) to get word out there that we're fortunate to have it," Roper said, who moved to Craig from the Denver metropolitan area. "Hopefully you'll never need it but if you do, hopefully there'll be someone on the other side of the phone."
The Crime Victims Services team, including Roper and a small crew of volunteers, responds to crime and accident scenes alongside law enforcement to offer support to victims and their families.
"I'll go out to fires or car accidents or unintended deaths, so what I do is I kind of make sure that they're taken care of as far as their physical needs," Roper said. "I'm making phone calls that they would like made. I contact either family members or ministers or anybody that they would like there with them while they go through this. If they don't have anybody, I stay with them as long as they would like me to."
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Roper and her volunteers also help victims and family members after an event has happened, helping to coordinate things such as emergency shelter and providing for basic needs such as food, clothing and toiletries in the case of fire, or helping victims through the legal process in the case they should have to testify against a perpetrator.
"For law enforcement, it's important because it allows us to deal with the situation at hand," said Lieutenant Jeremy Ashton with the Sheriff's Office. "Either we're arresting someone or dealing with a crime scene and a lot of times we have victims or family who are in distress, so with someone like Bernadette, we have someone there to help them… It makes it easier on the victims or victim's family."
The Ministerial Alliance in Craig is another partner who works closely with Advocates and law enforcement to support victims through times of crisis.
"I think when you are the victim of a crime, it can be overwhelming and it can be emotionally draining," said Len Browning, pastor at The Journey at First Baptist and member of the Ministerial Alliance. "Until you're the victim of a situation, you can't really appreciate all that is involved, whether it's the tragic death of a loved one or you are the actual victim of a crime… Just to know that there is safe place and safe people to help get you through that situation."
Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.