Fundraiser benefits victim assistance program

-- Contributed

Hancock volunteers who support the Hancock, Brooke and Ohio Counties Victim Assistance Program recently held a paint and sip fundraiser with Mike Swartzmiller, back left, volunteering to conduct the art class. Funds generated were used for six sessions of counseling and gas cards for victims. The Hancock Brooke Ohio Counties Victim Assistance Program has served victims of crime in the three counties since 1994, according to Michelle Wuyak, victim advocate for Hancock County. “We believe that it is important that victims know their rights, which are: The right to attend criminal justice proceedings; the right to apply for compensation; the right to be informed of proceedings and events in the criminal justice process, of legal rights and remedies and of available services; the right to protection from intimidation and harassment; the right to restitution from the offender; the right to prompt return of physical property seized as evidence; the right to a speedy trial; and the right to enforcement of these rights,” noted Wuyak. The community-based program provides free support services to victims of crimes and is a network of advocates in the three-county area who are trained to assist children and adults who are victims of crime, including physical abuse, sexual abuse and molestation, domestic violence, elder abuse, assault and robbery, breaking and entering, incest and others. Some of the services the program provides are paying for counseling services, offering personal advocacy, making referrals to appropriate support agencies, acting as an intermediary and offering assistance in filing for victim compensation. Information on the nonprofit organization in Hancock County can be obtained by calling (304) 564-4277 or in Brooke County (304) 737-2515.