victimadvocacyVictim Advocacy is an important function of assisting our citizens when a crime occurs against them. Our advocates are available to assist both law enforcement officials and victims during this sensitive time.

Our office is located in the Sheriffs Office at the courthouse, 100 W. Third Street. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday- Friday.

What is a Victim and a Victim Advocate?
A victim is the principle client of the criminal justice system; without their cooperation, there is no justice and no justice system. Advocates play a significant role in improving the treatment of victims within the criminal justice system.

A victim advocate is a professional that represents the rights and interest of crime victims. An advocate works with victims as a first responder, informing a victim of their rights, serving as a liaison between the victim and the officers investigating their case or with other agencies, helping victims cope with the consequences of the crime, answering victims questions, explaining the court procedures and being with the victim through the court process and even after sentencing.

A victim advocate provides information to the victim and referrals to other agencies that provide support services to the victim. Also, assistance is provided in filling out victim compensation paperwork to victims that qualify. The advocate can intercede with an employer to explain time missed from work due to cooperating with a law enforcement investigation or court procedure.

A victim advocate in law enforcement may have to share any information with the deputy’s or investigators. All advocates must report certain types of information to law enforcement to include any type of threat to a person (client threatening to hurt themselves or someone else) and in addition to the abuse or neglect or abuse of children.

How Advocates Work With Victims
An Advocate can offer victims information about different options and services available to them. Advocates do not tell victims what to do, they provide assistance and guidance to victims so that they can make informed decisions during very stressful times. Advocates maintain the highest level of confidentiality possible. If you are a victim it may be tough for you to reach out for help. Victim advocates offer support and information concerning access to services in your community. The Pitt County Sheriffs office advocates are certified through the North Carolina Victim Service Practitioner Academy.

The Role Of The Advocate
Provide information on victimization
Provide information on crime prevention
Provide information on victims’ legal rights and protections
Provide information on the criminal justice system
Provide emotional support to the victims and their family
Provide information on safety planning
Assisting victims or family members with victims compensation applications
Assisting victims in finding shelter and transportation
Assist with Domestic Violence Protective Orders/No Contact Orders
Intercede with creditors, landlords and employers on behalf of the victim
Providing referrals for services/resources the victim may need
Assist with property returns
Provide case status updates
Crisis intervention
Assisting with funeral arrangements
Assist with Line-of- Duty Death

Our Investigators and our Advocates are members of the Pitt County Sexual Assault Response Team; the Pitt County Domestic Violence Network; the Pitt County Human Trafficking Task Force as well as the North Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking. The victim advocate is apart of the Criminal Investigative Division in the Pitt County Sheriffs Office.

Types of victims our office assist
– Surviving family members of homicide victims
– Sexual Assault/Statutory Rape
– Child Abuse
– Robbery
– Breaking & Entering
– Larceny
– Domestic Violence
– Stalking
– Human Trafficking
– Felony assault
– Identity Fraud

Our History of the Victim Advocates Unit
The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office Victim Advocate program is one of the two oldest programs in the state of North Carolina. The program was started in June 1986 with a grant funded by the Governor’s Crime Commission. This grant was applied for by our Sheriff in 1986, Sheriff Ralph Tyson; District Attorney, Tom Haigwood; Administrative Officer of the Court, Bill Nicholls, Jr.; Judge Reed, the Chief Resident Superior Court Judge and the PCSO Crime Prevention Officer, Tim Copeland . The first Advocate to fill the position was Cynthia Doctor who served from July of 1986 until July 1987 ; Angela Brown served from August 1997 until November 1998; Rosemary Haddock(our longest serving Advocate was here from November 1988 until her retirement in January 2010. Our current Advocate, Leigh Place, worked as a intern here in 1991-1992. Ms. Place worked at the Pitt County Detention Center from March 1993 until August 1999. She became the Assistant Victim Advocate in September 1999. Ms. Place became the Victim Advocate in February 2010. Ms. Sharon Singleton began her career with law enforcement in September 1998 as a Telecommunicator for Greenville Police Department. In November 2001 she went to work for the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office as a Telecommunicator until August of 2008 when she worked as a Standards Officer until November 2009. Ms. Singleton became the Assistant Victim Advocate in December 2009.

Contact Info:
Advocate Sharon Singleton
Number: (252) 902-2665
E-mail: slsingleton@pittcountync.gov

Advocate Leigh Place
Number: (252) 902-2667
E-mail: dlplace@pittcountync.gov

Additional Resources
Safety Plan for Domestic Violence 
Stalking Diary
Stalking Fact Sheet
Stalking Safety Planning
Victims Rights Declaration
www.lawhelp.org/nc
www.nc-van.org North Carolina Victim Assistance Network
www.womenslaw.org
www.doc.state.nc.us/victimservices
www.nccrimecontrol.org
www.ncsavan.org North Carolina Victim Notification Resources
www.nccourts.org
www.realcrisis.org Local Resource
www.nccasa.net North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault
www.nccrimecontrol.org/vjs/ North Carolina Victim Compensation Services Division

Victims Rights Declaration
NORTH CAROLINA STATE CONSTITUTION
PREAMBLE

We, the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for the preservation of the American Union and the existence of our civil, political and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those blessings to us and our posterity, do, for the more certain security thereof and for the better government of this State, ordain and establish this Constitution.

ARTICLE I
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

Sec.37. Rights of victims of crime
1. Basic rights. Victims of crime, as prescribed by law, shall be entitled to the following basic rights:
• The right as prescribed by law to be informed of and to be present at court proceedings of the accused.
• The right to be heard at sentencing of the accused in the manner prescribed by law, and at other times as prescribed by law or deemed appropriate by the court.
• The right as prescribed by law to receive restitution.
• The right as prescribed by law to be given information about the crime, how the criminal justice system works, the rights of victims, and the availability of services for victims.
• The right s prescribed by law to receive information about the conviction or final disposition and sentence of the accused.
• The right as prescribed by law to receive notification of escape, release, proposed parole or pardon of the accused, or notice of a reprieve or commutation of the accused’s sentence.
• The right as prescribed by law to present their views and concerns to the Governor or agency considering any action that could result in the release of the accused, prior to such action becoming effective.
• The right as prescribed by law to confer with the prosecution.