Prioritizing Victim Rights: Technology for Prosecutors
Prosecution teams are consistently working day in and out to serve their communities and make them safer. Even among persistent industry challenges such as staffing shortages and high burnout rates, prosecutorial offices continue to serve others, even when it’s often a thankless job.
At the heart of this work, prosecutors and public safety officials care about victims. But while trying to manage heavy prosecutorial caseloads and backlogged trials, how can prosecutors still work to prioritize victims? How can prosecutorial teams keep victims at the core of their services?
Surprisingly, technology may be able to help.
Case management platforms for prosecutors can help officials consistently monitor and support victims across cases. Specifically, these platforms help foster communication with victim advocates with an array of tools such as communication threads for necessary parties, dashboards updates, real-time alerts, and more.
In this blog, we’ll examine how victim advocates’ access to case management (CMS) platforms can ultimately help public safety officials better serve victims, even amid ever-present time constraints. Also, we’ll explain the importance of integrated victim advocate access within CMS, and how victim advocates can empower victims with these integrated tools.
Victim Rights: Empowering Victims with Information and Access
Victim advocate access within existing public safety technology platforms (like a CSM) is designed to give advocates access to relevant details and updates about their clients’ cases.
In these access points, victim advocates can directly communicate with the prosecutor’s office, while also completing necessary tasks such as document exchanges.
Features of a Victim Advocates’ CMS Access
Victim advocate access points can offer a range of features to ultimately support victims. Some of these offerings typically include:
Case Information Updates
Victim advocates can view basic information about the case, such as the charges filed, court dates, and the status of the investigation or court proceedings. This baseline information helps victim advocates stay up-to-date and informed about the progress of cases.
Victim advocates can easily access important case-related documents, such as witness statements, and court filings. This ensures transparency and helps provide easy access for victim advocates to review relevant information related to cases.
Victim advocates can use the access point to communicate securely and confidentially with the prosecutor’s office. They can ask questions, provide additional information, or request updates on cases. This streamlines the communication process and provides a direct channel between victim advocates and the prosecutor’s office.
Notifications and Real-Time Alerts
CMS platforms with victim advocate access can send automated notifications regarding important case updates, such as court date changes or plea negotiations. This ensures that victim advocates can promptly notify victims of any developments in their case.
Confidentiality and Security
Advanced CMS technologies prioritize the confidentiality and security of victims’ information. Victim advocates’ access points may require secure login credentials and encryption to protect sensitive data and ensure that only authorized individuals can utilize the victim advocate acess point.
How Victim Advocate Access Benefits Victims and Prosecutor Offices
These features, among others, are designed to directly support victims by providing victim advocates with the necessary information, resources, and direct contact with the prosecutor’s office. It helps enhance transparency, facilitates victim engagement, and works to ensure that victims’ rights are respected throughout the legal process.
Below, are other ways that victim services tools within technology positively impact both victims and public safety teams alike.
Empowering and Protecting Victims
Protective Order Violation Notifications
Real-time alerts inform victim advocates of essential information, such as protective order violations, which are necessary for protecting victims of crimes including, but not limited to, domestic violence. These alerts allow victim advocates to receive updates on a perpetrator’s activities, release dates, and more directly from the prosecutorial office. This intel is necessary for keeping victims both safe and informed.
Victim advocates and prosecution teams can also use these digital notifications and alert logs to clearly document any such violations as necessary. By logging this information directly within a case management system with corresponding audit logs, prosecutors can securely track any such incidents and ensure that such incidents are admissible in court.
Victim Well-Being and Agency
After experiencing traumatic situations, victims can have varied coping responses that may inhibit their initial response and participation in legal proceedings.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police writes that “Infusion of victim services into law enforcement response may help prepare victims to participate in the criminal justice system more effectively and empower them to engage with professionals and services aimed at responding to their unique identified needs.”
By prioritizing victim advocate liaison during the prosecution process, public safety officials can help victims regain a sense of agency in their cases. This sense of confidence and security is essential in equipping victims to actively participate alongside their public defenders.
Case Developments, Reminders, and Status Changes
Victims are under immense stress during the prosecution process. Technological tools like victim advocate access points can equip victim advocates, and therefore, victims, with constant access to case developments, status changes, and updates, which can help reassure victims during legal proceedings. Additionally, reminder features can notify victim advocate teams of upcoming court dates, any changes in time/date, and more. These updates can similarly work to empower victims and their advocates with continuous access to their cases.
Equipping Prosecutors and Public Safety Officials
Prosecutor offices, too, can significantly benefit from the ease and access of victim advocate access. Some of these benefits include:
Improved Transparency and Communication
Prosecutors can precisely track their victim communications, while simultaneously building trust and confidence with victims by sharing necessary information in a clear, timely manner.
Empowerment of Victims Through Increased Access
As mentioned above, prosecutors can use technology to help embolden victims to share their stories and actively participate in their cases through streamlined victim advocate access. In this way, prosecutors can better serve victims and achieve desirable outcomes.
Particularly, some studies show that victims who actively participate in their cases walk away from proceedings with stronger confidence in the criminal justice system than those who do not.
Reduced Administrative Work for Public Safety Officials
Victim advocate access directly embedded within case management systems allows public prosecutorial teams to easily access and manage victim activities. Instead of toggling between systems, officials can manage cases and support victims, all within the same platform. This centralized approach saves time and streamlines all necessary tasks within a singular system.
Enhanced Reporting and Statistical Analysis
Another benefit of syncing all documents in one place (including victim-specific files and information), is that public safety officials can better create lines of transparency within reporting. A singular platform allows officials to better build out their analytics and tracking since all data is cleanly organized. Additionally, public safety officials can then leverage this data to fuel responses. Because of this synchronization of necessary information, prosecutors can work to improve compliance with reporting requirements.
Victim advocate access is increasingly becoming a requisite tool within public safety technology systems. As prosecutors across the United States move to embrace technologies of this nature, public safety agencies and victims alike can benefit from increased transparency, streamlined workflows, and centralized document management.
With victim advocate access points, prosecutorial offices can continue their daily workflows, all without worrying about forgetting to loop in victim advocate teams and victims with updates and necessary information.
To learn more about CivicEye’s full spectrum public safety platform and how it can help your agency support victims while managing cases, click below.
GET IN TOUCH
Schedule a demo today and learn more about the CivicEye platform.