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Victim Advocacy Program

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If you have been a victim or witness to a crime and could benefit from our assistance, contact the Kerry Clarke our Victim Advocate at (954) 746-3536.

The Victim Advocate assesses and addresses the emotional well-being of victims and/or witnesses who may have experienced a physical, emotional, and/or psychological trauma resulting from crime victimization.  This unit provides short term crisis and counseling intervention, guidance and support through the criminal justice system, assistance with restraining orders, and applicable shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Additionally, the Victim Advocate Unit  provides referral information for community-based organizations that may assist in the needs of the victim.  If you have been a victim or witness to a crime and would like to discuss your rights as a victim, please contact the Sunrise Police Department's Victim Advocate at (954) 746-3536.  The following assistance may be available to you:

• Explaining your rights and your role within the criminal justice system.
• Personal Advocacy
• Information and assistance regarding the Victim Crime Compensation Program.
• Information and referrals to community-based organizations.
• Short term crisis and counseling intervention.
• Guidance and support through the criminal justice system.
• Assist with the return of property.
• Intervene with landlord and creditors when a criminal case is pending.
• Seek emergency shelter for domestic violence and sexual assault victims.
• Transportation when applicable. 

The Victim's Bill of Rights

Know your rights under the law. Victims of crime are entitled to information regarding:

  • Local community services
  • Availability of crimes compensation, when applicable
  • The victim's role in the legal and judicial systems

Victims also have a right to:

  • Protection from intimidation
  • Advanced notification of judicial proceedings related to arrest, release and proceedings, including when to submit written statements
  • Notification of scheduling changes by the agency scheduling court appearances
  • Attend and be heard at crucial stages of the judicial process
  • Prompt and timely disposition of a case (provided it does not interfere with the rights of the accused)
  • Consultation by the State Attorney's Office in certain felony crimes
  • Prompt return of property (if there is no compelling need to retain the property as evidence)
  • Request assistance from law enforcement or the state attorney in notifying employers and creditors of circumstances resulting from the crime
  • Request and receive restitution
  • Submit a victim impact statement to the court
  • Have a victim advocate attend depositions
  • Review portions of the pre-sentence investigation
  • Receive notification of the escape or release of the offender
  • Have a defendant tested for HIV/Hepatitis when bodily fluids are transmitted.

Also, victims of a crime and the state attorney, with the consent of the victim, have standing to assert the rights of a crime victim as provided by law.


VINE Program (Victim Information Notification Everyday)

BSO's Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) is a free, anonymous, 24-hour, computer-based telephone service for victims of crimes. The VINE program is designed to provide easy access to offender information and an offender's custody status changes.

For inmate custody information, call 1-877-VINE-4-FL (1-877-846-3435) and follow the prompts. VINE informs a caller if an offender is still in custody, the offender's bail amount and the name of the facility where the offender is being held. Live operator assistance is also available.

Callers may also choose to register for automated notification via phone when an offender is arrested, released, transferred, escapes or dies. To register, callers enter the phone number at which they wish to be reached and are then asked for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for use during notification. The service will automatically call when one of the above events occurs.

Only offenders in Broward County jails are included in the Broward County VINE service. Offenders in another county's jails,  in state or federal custody are not included in this program.

The Sunrise Police Department strongly encourages victims of crimes to NOT depend solely on VINE or any other single program to maintain their safety.

Protection from Domestic Violence

Under Florida law, domestic violence is any assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of a family or household member by another, who is or was residing in the same dwelling unit.

"Family or household member" means a spouse, former spouse, persons related by blood or marriage, persons presently residing together as a family, or have resided together in the past as a family, and persons with a child in common, regardless of whether or not they are married or reside together.

If you have been abused physically or sexually, or have reason to fear you may become a victim of domestic violence, Florida law enables you to file for a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence; it explains your situation to the judge and tells the court from whom you need protection. An Injunction For Protection is a court document that states a particular person must not have contact with another person. You are eligible for an Injunction for Protection if you have lived with the abuser at some time and were recently the victim of abuse and/or threatened with abuse by the abuser.

To file for an injunction you must go, in person, to the Broward County Courthouse at 201 SE 6th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. The Clerk of the Court's Domestic Violence Section receptionist can help you properly complete the required forms and statements. Click here for more information on injunctions and information on restraining orders.

Domestic Violence Emergency Cell Phone Program
If you've been a victim of domestic violence or stalking and need a cell phone to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, Sunrise Police Department can help.

Information on Restraining Orders

Restraining orders are issued by a judge and are intended to protect those who fear for their safety. Essentially, a restraining order prohibits an individual from an action that is likely to cause harm; usually, a restraining order prevents any contact or communication between two or more people.

A restraining order is an injunction. A temporary restraining order can be granted immediately, without a hearing and or any notice to the opposing party. Temporary Restraining Orders are intended to last only until a hearing can take place. If a restraining order is violated, call 9-1-1 and report the situation. The violating party can be arrested immediately and taken into custody.

To obtain a restraining order, go to the Broward County Courthouse in downtown Ft. Lauderdale at 201 S.E. 6th Street, Room 248 from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The process takes approximately three hours to complete and it's suggested you arrive early.

If you find yourself in a life-threatening domestic violence situation after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays or during the weekend and holidays, have no safe shelter, and wish to apply for an emergency domestic violence restraining order immediately, call (954) 463-0911 for assistance. This will connect you to Henderson Mental Health Center, Inc. - Crisis Services, where a clinician will gather information over the phone about your circumstances to see if you meet the requirements to apply for an emergency restraining order. If you qualify, you will be met at the courthouse by a domestic violence specialist who will assist you in completing the necessary paperwork. The specialist will then contact the duty judge who will decide whether or not to grant the emergency domestic violence restraining order. There is no charge or fee to obtain a restraining order.

A copy of your restraining order should always be in your possession. A copy should be on file with the police departments in whose jurisdictions you live and work and filed with other counties where you regularly spend time.

Let your employer, neighbors, close friends and family know about the restraining order. Ask that they contact the police if they see the other party near you. If a restraining order is violated, call the police immediately and go to Room 248 to complete legal paperwork.

Protect your children by notifying school administration, teachers, childcare centers, babysitters, and neighbors of the restraining order and requesting that they contact police if they suspect the order is being violated.

Click here for information on protecting yourself and your family following the issuance of a restraining order: Protecting Yourself After a Restraining Order is Issued.

Staying safe at your residence

  • Change the locks on the doors, replace any weak doors (metal doors are better than wood) and reinforce sliding glass doors by installing a lock or placing a piece of wood in the track.
  • Add interior window locks so that windows can't be opened from the outside
  • Install a security system or speak to someone at your local hardware store for less expensive alternatives; install motion-sensitive lighting outside your home
  • Plan an emergency escape route from all areas of your home, including upstairs, and make sure all family members are aware of the plan.
  • Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1. If possible, purchase a cordless telephone and take it with you as you travel to different rooms in your residence
  • Teach your children how to make a collect call to you or family members in case they are abducted. Tell your children not to unlock the door if the respondent tries to get into your home
  • Include family pets or other animals in your safety and escape plans. Animals are often targeted (threatened with harm, cruelly injured, or killed) by a batterer or stalker as a means of controlling, terrorizing or punishing human victims. If it is not safe for you to remain at home, it is likely not safe for your animals, either.

Staying safe at work

  • Inform your supervisor of the existence of the restraining order and of any concerns you may have for your safety at your place of employment
  • Leave work in the company of at least one other co-worker
  • Park in an area that is well lighted and/or where there are other people around
  • Alter your route to and from work

Staying safe in the community

  • Use different grocery stores and shopping malls; regularly change the hours you shop to avoid the detection of a routine.
  • Avoid alcohol and/or drugs as they can affect your ability to react quickly and make rational decisions.
  • Avoid walking in unlighted or isolated areas
  • If you are being followed while driving or riding in a vehicle, proceed to the nearest police station or look for a police officer - do not drive home 

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