The criminal justice process is dependant on citizen involvement for it to work. The system would fail without each and every one of you taking an interest in your community. From reporting to prosecuting, the participation of victims of crime or witnesses to one is critical to the functioning of our system of justice.
This brochure will help you understand how the justice system works, what your involvement would be and what services are available to assist you. It will attempt to answer questions that you may have and explain the procedures that will be followed in your case. Keep this brochure handy and refer to it.
During your involvement, you will be working with an Assistant State Attorney (prosecutor) and a Victim Witness Counselor or Trial Coordinator. They will keep you advised as the case progresses and you may contact them at any time if you have any questions.
Nothing takes the place of personalized and individual contact by a person who may be able to help you. In Miami-Dade County, I am pleased to tell you about a service called VAN, Victim Access Network. VAN is a service available to you to help supplement that personal touch, giving you up-to-date information about your case 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I hope that you find this service helpful.
I am committed to developing a Miami-Dade County environment free of fear and violence where all of you and your children can flourish. But if you are touched by crime, I will insure that your pleas and concerns do not go unheeded. The personal, emotional, and financial wounds inflicted upon you must receive the necessary care and attention.
Katherine Fernandez Rundle
Miami-Dade State Attorney
There are two ways in which cases are brought to the attention of these specialized units:
- Walk-In Complaints are when any citizen comes to the State Attorney’s Office after a domestic violence incident where there has been no arrest. A paralegal will take your sworn testimony regarding the incident, and a determination will be made after an investigation as to whether or not we are able to go forth with criminal charges.
- After an Arrest , you may be notified to appear on a scheduled date and time to give your sworn testimony regarding the incident. This is called a Pre-Filing Conference.
In accordance with the American Disabilities Act, persons needing reasonable accommodations to attend any criminal proceeding should contact their Victim/Witness Counselor or Secretary or for the hearing impaired call (TDD) 1-800-955-8771 via Florida Relay Service.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behavior by one person who has or has had a personal, intimate or family relationship with another person. Domestic Violence may include making threats to you, slapping, choking or pushing, holding you down, kicking, forcing or pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to, or any other types of unwanted behavior. If any of these things have happened to you, you may have feelings of helplessness, fear, shame, guilt and anger. You may blame yourself for the things that are happening and feel responsible for what happens to your abuser. There may be other problems in your home, such as lack of money and worry for children or other family members, that make it hard to leave an abusive relationship.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of religious, social, economic, ethnic or educational background. Domestic violence happens to people of all ages and in every community.
Please remember that you are not alone! There are people and agencies willing and able to help you.
What is Stalking?
Florida Statute 784.048 states, “Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another person commits the offense of stalking”. Harassing behaviors may include vandalism, annoying or threatening phone calls, following or other violations of protective orders, sending unwanted letters or cards, leaving you gifts, showing up at your workplace, home, or school, or attempting to obtain information about you from others.
Types of Stalking
Simple Obsessional: This type of stalker is the most common. It is usually a male who knows the victim as an ex-spouse, ex-lover or former boss who begins a campaign of harassment against the victim. The stalking behavior begins either after the relationship goes bad, or has ended, or there is a perception of mistreatment.
Love Obsessional: This stalker is a stranger to the victim, but is obsessed, and thus begins a campaign of harassment to make the victim aware of the stalker’s existence. This type of person often stalks a celebrity or public figure, but can also become obsessed with a bank teller or grocery store clerk.
Erotomanic: This stalker is often female and falsely believes that the victim is in love with her and, but for some external influence, they would be together. The victim may be someone rich or famous or in a position of power, such as an employer, movie star, or political figure. In this situation, those who are close to the victim (i.e., a spouse or lover who is perceived as “being in the way”) may be the most at risk.
Need an Injunction for Protection?
You can obtain an injunction for protection at any of the following locations:
- Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center
175 N.W. 1st Avenue, Mezzanine Floor,
- North Dade Government Center
15555 Biscayne Boulevard, Room 103,
- South Dade Government Center
10710 S.W. 211 Street, Room 1306,
Cutler Ridge, FL
- Coordinated Victim Assistance Center (CVAC)
2400 South Dixie Highway
Miami, FL 33133
Address Confidentiality Program
The State of Florida’s Address Confidentiality Program assists victims of domestic violence who are attempting escape from actual or threatened violence through relocation. The participants are provided with an address designated by the Office of the Attorney General as a substitute mailing address in order to prevent their assailants from finding them. Through use of the substitute mailing address, program participants receive cost-free, security mail forwarding. The Attorney General serves as each client’s legal agent for receipt of mail and service of process. Victims who have left an abusive situation may apply. For further information, please contact the Office of the Attorney General at 1-800-226-6667.
Legal, Financial, and Job Referrals
- Legal Aid Society
123 N.W. 1 Avenue
- Legal Services of Greater Miami
3000 Biscayne Boulevard, 5th Floor, Miami
- Legal Services of Greater Miami
10720 Caribbean Boulevard, Suite 400, Cutler Ridge
Financial & Job Assistance:
- Bureau of Crimes Compensation
- Jobs for Miami Training Academy & Workforce
7900 N.E. 2 Avenue, 6th Floor
Domestic Assistance Response Team
The DART Program – Phone: 305-547-0100
The Domestic Assistance Response Team or DART provides a helping hand for Assistant State Attorneys with victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Battery, and Elderly Abuse by doing a complete assessment of thevictim’s needs and continuing contact with the victims on a regular basis.
Mobile Operations Victim Emergency Services
The M.O.V.E.S. Program – Phone: 305-547-0100
The M.O.V.E.S. Program has on-call paralegals who assist victims of domestic violence. The paralegals respond to domestic violence arrest cases immediately after the crime to help the victims regain control of their lives by assessing their needs, taking sworn statement of the incident, providing a safety plan and appropriate referral information available in the community.
The paralegals are on-call Monday through Friday from 5:00 pm to 5:00 am, and available 24 hours on Weekends and Holidays. This early intervention also helps build better cases for prosecution and provides our prosecutors with the necessary tools to make decisions about each case, improving the probability of successful prosecution.
- Persons with disability who require reasonable accomodations should call the number listed above, or for the hearing impaired may call 1-800-955-8771 (Florida Relay Service).
- Las personas que tengan alguna discapacidad y necesiten servicios especiales deberÃ¡n llamar al telÃ©fono que aparece arriba. Quienes tengan dificultades de audiciÃ³n, deben llamar al 1-800-995-8771 (Servicio de TransmisiÃ³n de la Florida).
- Moun andikape ki bezwen sÃ¨vis spesyal dwe teleone nan nemewo ki parÃ¨t anwo a, aubyen moun ki gen anpechman pou yo tande kapab telefone nan 1-800-955-8771 (SÃ¨vis Tansmisyon nan Florida).
- Monday thru Friday: 5:00pm to 5:00am
- Saturday thru Sunday: 24 hours
Juan Ferreiro (M.O.V.E.S. Program Administrator) is the Single-Point-Of-Contact person (S.P.O.C.) for the M.O.V.E.S. Program. The Auxiliary Aid Plan for the M.O.V.E.S. Program is available upon request.