December 18, 2017
The Victim/Witness Assistance Program provides assistance and information to victims of crime and referrals to other quality support services offered in Seneca County. Advocates are available twenty-four hours a day to assist victims of crimes such as domestic violence, stalking, assault, sexual abuse, child abuse/neglect and drunk driving. These services are available to all residents of Seneca County, or anyone who becomes the victim of a violent crime in Tiffin or the surrounding area.
This Division is headed by Ms. Tracy Elder, a trained advocate and counselor, and she and her staff are available to lend immediate support to victims of crime, to accompany them to court appearances, provide information and guidance concerning the criminal justice system, make referrals to appropriate social service agencies and counselors, provide information concerning payment of medical bills from State funds, and to notify victims and witnesses concerning important hearing dates and the status or outcome of criminal cases in which they are involved.
The Victim Assistance Program is housed in room 208, 51 East Market Street, Tiffin, Ohio. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or by appointment.
There is no charge for any of the services provided by the program. The Program is funded by fine monies from the Tiffin Municipal Court and the Seneca Community Chaplain Corps.
Personal Advocacy - Available to meet crime victims at crime scenes, hospitals, and police stations 24 hours a day. Familiarize victims and witnesses with the criminal justice system and explain the adjudication process. We accompany victims to court hearings, provide reassurance to those experiencing fear of retaliation, assure separation from the defendant or defendant's family at the courthouse, and transport victims and witnesses to and from court if necessary.
Notification - Inform the victims and witnesses of the present status and/or disposition of their case.
Referrals - Refer crime victims to counselors and appropriate social service agencies.
Victim Compensation - Eligible crime victims in the State of Ohio may collect from the Victim Compensation Fund. We supply Reparations applications and referrals to attorneys who assist the victim in the filing of a claim free of charge.
Victim Impact Statement - A statement written by the victim of a crime expressing his or her feelings regarding how the victimization has affected his or her life. It is submitted to the Tiffin Municipal Court and to the presiding judge to read prior to sentencing.
Victims' Rights - Upon request, we provide information to victims regarding the Ohio Parole Board and parole or release hearings.
Public Education - Inform the public of programs and services through brochures and education.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are my rights as a Victim of Crime?
Ohio law gives you specific statutory rights before, during, and after the trial. Your statutory rights under the Ohio Revised Code include, but are not limited to:
- The right to receive information about your rights as a crime victim
- The right to appoint the victim advocate as their representative
- The right to receive current information about the criminal investigation
- The right to be notified when the offender is arrested or released before trial
- The right to reasonable return of property
- The right to information from and input about defendant's incarceration and parole status
Can I be compensated for the harm done to me?
The Ohio Victim's of Crime Compensation program provides reimbursement for certain out of pocket expenses that result when innocent victims are physically injured, emotionally harmed or killed by violent criminal acts.
The program was created in 1976 by the Ohio Legislature, which recognized that because the effects of violent crime can be so devastating, victims or their dependents should have access to financial assistance to pay bills for medical treatment or burial.
Victims can use the program only as a "payer of last resort", which means they must first exhaust all other available sources of financial assistance before becoming eligible for compensation. Other sources may include but are not limited to medical or dental insurance, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, worker's compensation, civil recovery and restitution from the offender.
Am I eligible for help from the Fund?
Maybe. In order to be eligible to make a claim, a victim must report the crime to a law enforcement officer within 72 hours and must cooperate fully in the investigation and any prosecution of the crime. However, the offender does not need to be caught or convicted for the victim to be eligible for compensation. The victim also must file a claim for compensation within two (2) years of the date of the crime. Minor victims have until their 20th birthday to file a compensation claim.
What is the maximum amount that I can receive?
The maximum amount of compensation available from the program is $50,000 per victim per incident. The total amount includes all awards incurred as a result of victimization.
Who can I contact for help?
- Tiffin City Prosecutor’s Victim Assistance Program- (419) 448-5413
- Seneca County Prosecutor’s Victim Assistance Program – (419) 448-5070
- First Step - (419) 435-7300
- Firelands Mental Health Services - (419) 448-9440
- Seneca County Job and Family Services - (419) 447-5011
- Mercy Hospital - (419) 447-3130
- Clerk of Courts - Seneca Co. Common Pleas Court - (419) 447-0671
- Seneca Community Chaplain Corps – (419) 455-9320