GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County recently had its Victims of Crime Survivors Services Grant Program renewed to continued funding victim’s advocate services along with a trauma counselor.
The financial support comes from state funding and the county will re-apply for the grant annually while also seeking to wave the county’s match in future applications.
“Since taking office, we have partnered (with agencies) in a lot of cases involving (sexually violent crimes) involving not only juveniles but adults,” said Gallia Prosecutor Jason Holdren previously. “We had previously been able to obtain VOCA funding for a second full-time victim’s advocate in my office. We have referred a number of cases for trauma-based care, which assists (victims) in moving forward with their lives as best they can and it also assists us in preparing them for trial and that type of thing. They’ve (victims) made a lot of strides in the right direction. We saw a need arise and with the help of Commissioner Montgomery, (Gallia Economic Development Director) Melissa Clark, (County Admnistrator) Karen Sprague and Columbus worked together to see how we could get this funding.”
“The Gallia Commissioners, after being made aware of this valuable service to especially the youth of our community, we had conversations and cooperation with the prosecutor and different staff of ours to see how to continue this community service which is vital to our area,” said Montgomery previously.
The majority of sexually violent crime cases handled by Gallia law enforcement involve minors.
“I’m really excited to be able to provide services for Gallia victims,” said Sisson previously. “I’m impressed our leaders are making sure they have the services they need.”
Victim’s advocates walk victims through the criminal justice process, inform them of their rights and refer them to services. Sisson will provide counseling services. Among Gallia’s victim advocates for the prosecutor’s office include Regina Brown and Christy Perkins.
“I’ve been in the field for about 17 years as a therapist and legal advocate,” said Sisson previously. “I love seeing people move from the victim state into survivor and then into thriver,” said Sisson. “Sometimes victims think they’re stuck forever with PTSD or whatever their symptoms are, so when they realize they can heal and move on, there is nothing like that. It’s extremely humbling and fulfilling to be able to watch.”
While also working with victims, Sisson works with county first responders to address their mental health needs and training as well.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.