Nassau County Sheriff's Office

An Accredited Florida Law Enforcement Agency

Non-Emergency Lines: (904) 225-5174 | (904) 548-4009 | toll free (855) 725-2630

Victim Advocate Services

The Victim Advocate Program is assigned to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division and is supervised by the division’s detective lieutenant. The Victim’s Advocate is dedicated to providing assistance to victims of certain crimes that are being investigated by the Patrol and Investigations Divisions. The Victim Advocate for the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is a non-certified civilian and the program is funded with State of Florida Victims of Crimes Act (VOCA) grant dollars.

The Victim Advocate Program offers advocacy and services to victims who report crimes of child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, DUI crashes, domestic violence, elderly abuse, survivors of homicide victims, stalking, robbery and assault.

The service provides information to assist victims in becoming aware and understanding their rights, victim compensation, and other services. This can by facilitated through victim’s rights pamphlets, phone calls, letters, and office/home visits. The personal advocacy entity is a major part of the delivery of such victim services. Personal advocacy is achieved by providing information and referrals through office and home visits, coordinating the delivery of services, and attending court proceedings with the victim. Additionally, follow-up visits and ongoing communication occur to provide the victim with emotional support and to check on and track victim’s progress.

Services offered to victims include:

  • Information on case status
  • Information regarding the judicial process and victim’s rights throughout this process
  • Community resources information and referral services
  • Accompaniment and support through criminal proceedings
  • Ongoing emotional support to victims and their families
  • Assisting filing an injunction for Protection
  • Assistance in filing for crime victim compensation

All services are free and available whether or not an arrest has been made.

The Victim’s Advocate can be contacted by phone at (904) 548-4099 or e-mail at drshough@nassauso.com.

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.

 

VICTIM SERVICES PROGRAM

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Victim Service Program offers advocacy to victims and their family. Being a crime victim can be a frightening experience that can leave a person with unfamiliar emotions and financial problems. Our program is designed to assist with: emotional support, victims compensation, personal advocacy, criminal justice advocacy, community information and referrals, assistance with property return, assistance with filing an injunction, assistance with transportation for services related to the initial victimization, and assistance with arranging for an interpreter when needed.

The primary role of advocacy is to intervene on behalf of the victim and assist the individual in surviving the experience. This includes supporting the victim’s legitimate interest regarding any problem or concern resulting from the victimization. If you or someone in your family has been victimized, please contact the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Victim’s Advocate @ (904) 548-4099.

Victims Have Rights

IT’S THE LAW
(Florida Statute, Section 960.001)

THE RIGHT to be present, informed, and heard when relevant at all crucial stages of the criminal and juvenile justice system as long as that right does not interfere with the rights of the accused.

THE RIGHT to be free from threats, intimidation, or harassment.  It is against the law  to cause a victim/witness to be  placed in fear by force or threats, to  make an assault on or harm any victim/witness.

THE RIGHT to be notified when the defendant escapes or is released from a correctional facility.

THE RIGHT to ask the court for restitution (payment for financial loss as a result of a crime) from the defendant and information from the court on enforcement of that order.

THE RIGHT and employers in regards to financial hardship or absences resulting from the crime to request assistance from law enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office in notification to creditors

THE RIGHT to a prompt and timely disposition of your case, provided this right does not interfere with the rights of the accused.

THE RIGHT to be notified of scheduling changes in your criminal or juvenile justice system appearances.

THE RIGHT to be consulted by the Sate Attorney’s Office in certain felony cases in order to obtain you or your family’s views about the disposition of any criminal or juvenile case.

THE RIGHT to have a Victim Advocate accompany you to a deposition.  Victims who are not incarcerated shall not be required to attend discovery depositions in any correctional facility.

THE RIGHT to request the presence of a Victim Advocate during the forensic medical examination.  An advocate from a certified rape crisis center shall be permitted to attend any forensic medical examination.

THE RIGHT to review certain portions of a pre-sentence investigation report for an adult and/or a youthful offender prior to the sentencing of the accused.

THE RIGHT of a victim or the victim’s legal guardian, or the parent or legal guardian of a victim, if the victim is a minor, to request that a person who is charged with any offense enumerated in Section 775.0877(1) (a)-(n), Florida Statutes, that involves the transmission of body fluids from one person to another, undergo hepatitis and HIV testing.

THE RIGHT to submit an oral or written victim impact statement to the court.

THE RIGHT to a prompt return of property following the completion of the investigation and/or prosecution.

THE RIGHT to have their rights outlined in this brochure asserted through the State Attorney’s Office.

THE RIGHT to request and know at the earliest convenience, if the person charged with an offense which involves the transmission of bodily fluids, has tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

THE RIGHT in certain circumstances to request that the offender be required to attend a different school than the victim or siblings.

THE RIGHT to have the courtroom cleared, with certain exception, during his or her testimony, regardless of their age or mental capacity if you are a victim of a sexual offense.

THE RIGHT to request, for specific crimes, an exemption prohibiting the disclosure of information to the public, which reveals your home and work phone numbers, home and work addresses, and personal assets not otherwise held confidential under the Public Records Law.

THE RIGHT to be informed of the Address Confidentiality Program administered by the Office of the Attorney General for victims of domestic violence.

THE RIGHT to be informed and submit statements at all crucial stages of the criminal and juvenile justice system, if you are incarcerated.

THE RIGHT for the victim, next of kin of a victim, or relative of a minor victim must receive advance notification of judicial and post proceedings relating to the case including the arrest, release, work release, or release to the community control of the accused, and proceedings in the prosecution of the accused.

THE RIGHT to receive information regarding the role of the victim in the criminal or juvenile process, including what the victim may expect from the system as well as what the system may expect from the victim.

In some cases, victims (or their relatives where the victim is deceased) may be eligible for financial compensation from the State of Florida.  Information regarding the eligibility may be obtained from the State Attorney’s Office, local Witness Coordination Office (where available), law enforcement agency or from the Bureau of Victim Compensation, Office of the Attorney General 1-800-226-6667.

No victim shall be asked or required by a law enforcement officer, prosecuting attorney or governmental official to submit to a polygraph or truth-telling device as a condition of the investigation.

The victim or next of kin of a homicide victim is obligated by Florida Statute, Chapter 960 to not release any information in a case involving a juvenile.  The exception to this is if it is necessary in the pursuit of the legal remedies.

The victim or the next of kin of a victim cannot be excluded from any portion of a hearing, trial or proceeding based solely on the fact that such person is subpoenaed to testify, unless the court determines their presence is prejudicial.

The victim and the State Attorney’s Office has the right of standing, with consent of the victim, to assert the rights of the victim.

STAGES OF THE  CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS

CRIME COMMITTED – After a crime is reported to law enforcement an investigation will be conducted.  If after the investigation, probable cause exists, then an arrest by a law enforcement officer may be made.

ARREST – There are two basic routes a case can take in order to be brought to court:

  • Arrest of the accused at the scene of the crime.
  • Arrest by warrant issued by the court in response to a sworn complaint.

In both instances, the evidence available must be sufficient to convince the court that there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed, and that the person arrested committed the crime.

OR

INTAKE WITH THE STATE ATTORNEY’S OFFICE – The victim reports a crime to the local State Attorney’s Office.  If probable cause is found, the State Attorney’s Office may choose to file charges and issue an arrest warrant, summon the suspect into court, or issue a capias for the suspect’s arrest.

FIRST APPEARANCE – Occurs within 24 hours of an arrest.  At this hearing the Judge decides whether a bond amount should be set and if so, how much.  During first appearance, the Judge may include a special condition of release ordering the defendant not to have contact with the victim.  If you are contacted or harassed by the defendant, you should contact the State Attorney’s Office immediately.

FILING DECISION – Once the State Attorney’s Office receives the formal complaint from law enforcement, an Assistant State Attorney will review the case.  If the Assistant State Attorney determines that there is sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, criminal charges may be filed.

ARRAIGNMENT – The accused is formally charged and enters a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest.

TRIAL PREPARATIONS – Through out this preparation, there will be pre-trial hearings and continuances. These hearings and continuances will give the prosecutor and the defense attorney time to interview witnesses, take depositions and exchange evidence in preparation for the trial.

PLEA – The defendant pleads guilty or no contest for a negotiated  sentence, without a trial.

TRIAL – The State will present its evidence, then the defense will present its case.  At the trial, the Judge or a jury of citizens will decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

SENTENCING – If the defendant is found guilty, the Judge reviews sentencing guidelines, prior record of the defendant and determines what type of sentence the defendant should receive.

Note:  It is your responsibility to keep the State Attorney’s Office informed of any address or phone number changes.

State Attorney’s Office

(904) 548-4700

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

What is Domestic Violence?

Under the provisions of Section 741.28, Florida Statutes, domestic violence means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member. This includes acts such as:

Physical Abuse – pushing, slapping, kicking, punching, choking, and beating (Section 741.30 F.S.)

Emotional/Verbal Abuse – threats, verbal intimidation, following and stalking, or acting out in anger (Section 741.30 F.S.)

Sexual Abuse/Battery – any unwanted touching or forcing of someone to engage in a sexual act against his/her will (Section 784.046 F.S.)

Dating Violence – violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature (Section 784.046 F.S.)

Repeat Violence – two incidents of violence or stalking one of which must have been within 6 months of filing a petition and must have been directed against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member. (Section 784.046 F.S.)

Human Trafficking – the recruitment, harboring, transportation, or obtaining a person through force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of a commercial sex act or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under 18 years of age (Section 787.06 F.S.)

Procuring a Person Under the Age of 18 for Prostitution – (Section 796.03 F.S.)

Lewd or Lascivious Offenses – sexual activity committed upon or in the presence of a person less than 16 years of age (Section 800.04 F.S.)

Services for Victims of Domestic Violence

Micah’s Place
1-800-500-1119 or 904-225-9979

SEXUAL ASSAULT

Sexual Abuse/Battery—any unwanted touching or forcing of someone to engage in a sexual act against his/her will (Section 784.046 F.S.)

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, help is available.  Please contact the Rape Crisis Hotline @ 1-888-956-RAPE (7273) or  911.

INJUNCTION FOR PROTECTION

Injunctions for Protection are issued as a result of domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence or sexual violence.  Generally domestic violence is violence within the family.  Repeat violence means that the same person commits two incidents of violence within the past six months.  These are civil matters but they may occur at the same time as a criminal prosecution.

To obtain an injunction for protection, you will need to go to the Clerk of the Courts Office in the NassauCountyJudicialAnnexBuilding located at 76347 Veteran’s Way, Yulee, FL32097.  You will need to bring a picture identification card with you, along with a good address to where the respondent can be served and any other case related paper work that you have.  Once you have completed the forms a judge will review them and either grant or deny your petition.  If granted, you will be given a temporary injunction for 15 days and a court date to appear before the judge.  YOU MUST ATTEND THE COURT HEARING.  The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office will serve the respondent with the injunction.  In order to verify that the respondent has been served, please call (904) 225-0331 or toll-free 855-725-2630.

 IF YOU HAVE AN OUT OF STATE COURT ORDER FOR PROTECTION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, federal and state law provide that law enforcement recognize and act on the order as if issued by a Florida court. This includes orders issued by Courts from the District of Columbia, Indian tribes, commonwealth territories, or possessions of the United States.

EXEMPTION FROM PUBLIC INSPECTION

Under the provisions of Section 119.071(2)(j), F.S., any information which reveals the home or employment telephone number, home or employment address, or personal assets of a person who has been the victim of sexual battery, aggravated child abuse, aggravated stalking, harassment, aggravated battery, or domestic violence is exempt from public inspection and examination. Any information that is not exempt or confidential but that reveals home or employment telephone number, home or employment address, or personal assets of a person who has been the victim of sexual battery, aggravated child abuse, aggravated stalking, harassment, aggravated battery, or domestic violence is exempt, upon written request by the victim to the custodian of the records, which must include official verification that an applicable crime has occurred. Such information shall remain exempt for 5 years, after which it will become available to the public.

NOTIFICATION OF POST ARREST RELEASE

AS A VICTIM YOU ARE ENTITLED TO NOTIFICATION OF THE DEFENDANTS RELEASE FROM THE COUNTYJAIL, THE JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITY OR AN INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT FACILITY.  THE ARRESTING OFFICER MUST REQUEST THAT THE VICTIM OR APPROPRIATE NEXT OF KIN COMPLETE A VICTIM NOTIFICATION FORM.  NOTIFICATION WILL BE MADE BY THE APPROPRIATE FACILITY.

JUVENILE DEFENDANTS

What happens if my case involves a juvenile?

A juvenile arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or non-violent felony, may be released immediately into the custody of the parents or legal guardian.  Juveniles charged with more serious and/or violent crimes may go to a pre-detention hearing within 24 hours to set the conditions of release.  You have the right to appear at these hearings.  You may contact the Nassau County Detention Facility at 904-225-9185 or 904-980-1563 regarding the hearing.

DIRECTORY OF SERVICES

Emergency Ambulance/Fire/Police ……….………..…..………………………….911 

Non-Emergency 911 ………………………….….………..……….……..904-225-5174

Nassau County Sheriff’s Office ……….……….………..…….……904-225-0331/0332

Callahan/Hilliard ..……………………….…….…….….………….toll-free 855-725-2630

Fernandina Beach Police Dept …………………………………………..904-277-7340

Sheriff’s Office Victim Services ….……….………….………….………904-548-4099  

State Attorney’s Office ……………………………………..……………904-548-4700

Clerk of Courts ……………………………………….………..…………904-548-4600

Jacksonville area Legal Aid …………………………………….……..…904-356-8371

Lawyers Referral Service ……………………………………..………1-800-733-6337  

Abuse Hotline (Children & Adults) ……………………….1-800-96-ABUSE (22873)

Child Advocate Rapid Response Team ….……………………………..904-225-8520

Micah’s Place ……………………………………(904) 225-9979….or.1-800-500-1119

Micah’s Place Callahan Outreach ……………….………………….….904-879-6270

Micah’s Place Court Advocate………………….…………….……..….904-548-4646

Rape Crisis Hotline…………………………………………..1-888-956-RAPE (7273)

Sutton Place ……………………………..……..…………….………….904-225-8280

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers)…………..……….………1-800-772-6233

Crime Victims Compensation………………………..………..……..1-800-226-6667

Barnabas…………………………………………904-845-4999 or…..904-261-7000

N.E. Florida Community Action Agency…………………….………904-261-0801

United Way “211” (24hrs) Information & Referral………….…………..….2-1-1

Shelters for the Homeless

City Rescue Mission……………………………………………………904-353-8561

Trinity Rescue Mission………………………….…….…………….…904-355-1205

 BaptistMedicalCenterNassau, Hospital..……….……………….….904-321-3500

ShandsHospital of Jacksonville..……..……….……………….……..904-244-0411

Medical Examiners Office………………………………….…..…..….904-630-0977

 NassauCounty Detention Facility………………………….Yulee …..904-225-9185

NassauCounty Detention Facility………………………Callahan…..toll-free 855-725-2630

Juvenile Detention Facility…………………………………………….904-980-1563

 VICTIMS CASE INFORMATION

You can use this information to get or give additional facts

(904) 225-0331  or  toll-free 855-725-2630

Report #__________________________________

Date:_____________________________________

Offense:__________________________________

Police Officer’s Name/ ID#___________________

Detective Name::___________________________

 “CRIME STOPPERS”

(Remain Anonymous)

1-866-845-TIPS (8477)

To ask questions about

RECOVERED PROPERTY

Call 904-225-0331

SUICIDE / FEELING HELPLESS

SUICIDE PREVENTION

911 or 1-866-318-0211

211-EMERGENCY

EEOP SHORT FORM

2015051111571997

WE ARE COMMITTED TO PROVIDING PROFESSIONAL POLICE SERVICE.

Any further requests for information pertaining to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Victim’s Advocate Program can contact:

Lieutenant Ryan VanTassell

Supervisor of the Victim’s Advocate Program

(904) 548-4093

rvantassell@nassauso.com

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.