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SEE HOW: Victim advocates help survivors of crime navigate grief, bereavement, and crisis

Posted at 3:38 PM, Jun 11, 2024
  • Victim advocates are a crucial part of law enforcement response on the scene of a crime.
  • Their role is to help survivors navigate their emotional journey from the moment the crime occurs.
  • Watch the video to hear from a tragic lived experience about Victim Advocates play a critical role on a healing journey.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

There's a tool available to help with counseling, grief and crisis intervention in our community. I'm getting a closer look at resources you can access to help in my neighborhood and beyond.

Victim advocate support was one of the tools that helped Betsy Goehrig get through the hardest moment of her life.

"Brittany was 31 when she was killed by the father of her two babies," said Goehrig, explaining how she lost her daughter. "I just let out this guttural scream."

Goehrig said the State Attorney, detectives, and victim advocates supported her.

She has also relied on her faith and family to carry her through.

"To live with that reality was a huge, painful thing," said Goehrig.

But she's learned to put a voice to her pain.

"Anything I can do to help share the message, share Brittany's life, share lessons we've learned," said Goehrig.

One of those missions has been working with groups like the Leon County Sheriff's Office Victim Advocate Unit.

"What we are trained to do is to listen, and figure out where people are, and to meet them where they are," said Maria Folsom, Victim Advocate.

Folsom said their job is to support the victim as they process their own pain from the moment of the crime.

"It's their actions that save them, not us, we just guided them," said Folsom.

Some of these tools including breathing exercises called "Heart Math" and a recent hiking event.

"I don't think people realize the power there is to get outside, and to talk and to walk it out," said Folsom.

Folsom wants to develop this into a regular hiking group.

"I want it to be safe, you know, a place people feel comfortable going to," said Folsom.

To find ways, as Goehrig said, to put purpose to the pain.

"You'll always miss Brittany but it will change and you will heal and you will have hope again," said Goehrig.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office Victim Advocate Unit provides support for anyone who's listed as a victim on a report within their agency. They can also connect you with more resources and organizations in the community.

CONTACT NUMBER: 850-606-3300