The services of the Virgin Islands Police Department’s Victim/Witness advocates are available to witness of crime; crime victims and their families.
The Victim/Witness advocates can be with you at the scene, at the hospital, in the courtroom and help you navigate the justice system. They are the “first responders” to the victim or witness and their family.
Leslye Webb-Keith is assigned to the St. Croix district and can be contacted at 340-643-0295
Deseree Lambertis is assigned to the St. Thomas/St. John/Water Island district and can be contacted at 340-642-3101
What does the Victim/Witness Advocate do?
- Explain to victims or survivors of crimes what is happening in present time or explain what is going on around them. This is in an attempt to help give them back a sense of control around their immediate surroundings. Offer them options to allow them to attempt to regain control.
- The advocate offers creature comforts – a relaxed victim/witness functions more efficiently thereby making a better subject to interview.
- If the Victim Advocate is present early on, we are better able to identify needs of the victim/witness and their families.
- The Advocate can assist with the timely filing of the Crime Victim Compensation claim.
- The Advocate can transport individuals i.e. Police Station, Attorney General’s office, Hospital, Family Resource Center.
- Assist in obtaining police reports.
- Assist victim who leave the island but wishes to be kept informed of the case.
- Assist tourists in leaving the island at the airport, seaport or answer questions on how to satisfy Federal requirements in leaving the island.
- Attend court proceedings with or without the victim.
- Assists in preparing the victim or witness for court to include introducing the person to a court hours, court room etc.
- During the trial the Advocate stays with the victim or witness and explains the procedure and answers all questions.
- The Advocate turns over any information that may be relative to the investigation.
- The Advocate attends various meetings and reports back to the VIPD.
- The Advocate is the liaison between the community and the government offices to attempt to have the machine function smoothly or help identify and work-out kinks.
- Bureau of Corrections contacts the Advocate so she can contact a victim when a defendant will be released from incarceration, especially if the victim has not kept their contact information current with the BOC.
- Attorney General’s office contacts the Advocate in an attempt to inform the individuals of a pending parole hearing. The victim is entitled to testify at the hearings.
- The services do not stop with the end of the trial. Long after the police investigation is completed, the case is disposed of in court and the defendant is serving their sentence the victim is still dealing with the results of the crime. Advocates are still available to the victim knowing that this event has altered their life forever.