July 31, 2009
Town to hire victim's advocate


GOFFSTOWN - Residents will be getting a victim’s advocate thanks to a vote at last week’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

The victim’s advocate position will be paid for for a 12-month period by a grant from the New Hampshire Department of Justice, totaling $46,806.95. Goffstown Police Chief Patrick Sullivan said he hopes to have he position filled by September 1.

The town will not incur any cost, Sullivan said, because the grant requires only a “soft match” from the town that will be met with volunteer hours, office space, and other available resources.

“We don’t have to put up actual funds,” he said.

The advocate will work primarily out of the police department, but will spend much of his or her time at the Goffstown District Court, serving victims from Goffstown, New Boston, Weare and Francestown. 

“They provide information. They give people direction on where to look for services and help once they get into the court system or even before they get into the court system,” he said.

For example, the advocate would be able to help a victim of domestic violence find a crisis shelter, duties that previously fell to prosecutors, he said.

“It will allow [prosecutors] to focus more on the trials, the preparation for the trials and also getting justice for the victims,” he said.

During the meeting, Selectman Vivian Blondeau, asked whether the town would be responsible for paying for the victim’s advocate in the future, but Sullivan said Goffstown is not obligated to continue the program if no further grant funding is available and that he would not seek to keep the position if the town had to pay for it.

“From what I heard grants will start to dry up after this first round of [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] grants,” he said. “Will they still be there? It’s hard to say.”



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