N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--July 1998

Victims' needs highlighted

RALEIGH — As the crime victims’ rights movement grows, correction professionals across the state are becoming more aware of victims’ concerns. Recently, more than 20 Department of Correction employees took part in the North Carolina Victim Assistance Network (VAN) Conference in Raleigh.

Anita Culbreth, DAPP Victim Advocate

Mel Chilton, a victims advocate with the Division of Adult Probation and Parole, and Tracy Little, a public information officer with the Parole Commission, helped plan the three-day conference held June 10-12.

After attending the VAN conference, Norma Batten of the Division of Prisons North Piedmont Area Office, said prison staff are working to become more aware of crime victims’ concerns.

"Just hearing the victims talking put a different light on the subject," she said. "Hearing the people tell us about what happened to them helped us see the tragedy and pain they suffer. We found victims have needs. A lot of it is just providing the information they need."

Judicial District Manager Robert Shannon , who also attended the conference, agreed that the conference helped shed some light on the needs of victims.

"It does us good to be reminded that with every offender we deal with, there is usually a victim involved," he said. "The vast majority of victims have no contact with our agency. Those that do, deserve our respect, empathy and whatever information we are allowed to release."

The conference provided a crime victim sensitivity session for criminal justice professionals led by Chilton and Anita Culbreth, the two victims advocates at DAPP. Little participated in a panel discussion on crime victims and the media.

During the conference Chilton was elected the network’s South Central Region Vice President. Chilton has been a member of VAN for the last four years. u