Genesee County prosecutor receives statewide award for helping crime victims

Take a look at what services are available to crime victims in Genesee County.
Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 5:46 PM EDT
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GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - (4/19/2021) - It’s National Crime Victims Rights Week.

To kick it off, State Representative John Cherry named the Genesee County Prosecutor the statewide “Champion for Crime Victims.”

The award is given to one recipient each year by the Michigan Crime Victims Foundation.

“I can assure you that standing up for victims and protecting their rights and assisting them in so many different ways is always and will always be at the forefront of our duties here in the Office of the Genesee County Prosecuting Attorneys. We will always stand up for victims,” David Leyton said.

He was joined Monday by local advocates his Office partners with every day to bring justice to victims.

Their work extends far beyond the courtroom.

On average, Leyton said his Office receives 4500 to 5000 felony warrant requests a year. You can imagine how many victims those crimes impact.

ABC12 spoke with Hurley’s Trauma Recovery Center about how they handle each one who walks through the hospital doors.

“One thing we know is that when you have experienced trauma, the brain doesn’t process things the same. And so we try to make it as easy for you as possible,” explained Tia Coles, the Center’s Director.

She said they essentially hold each victim’s hand, offering wrap-around services in-house while the person is recovering. Coles said they make sure victims know exactly what’s available and that it’s free.

“It is the lifeline, I would say, to an area like Genesee County... when you talk about access to resources, when you talk about our poverty level,” she explained.

Coles said many don’t even know what’s available. She said the Center can connect some people to the Victim Compensation Fund through the state. Or, they can help with paying rent, a mortgage or an electric bill.

“We had a patient who the only thing that was preventing release was a bed. So we provided a bed. So sometimes it’s not a huge need, it’s a small need,” Coles said. “But we’re here for great and small needs.”

Even needs, she said, of the victim’s support system. Coles explained maybe a Mom is having nightmares about what their child went through or maybe Grandma now has to take care of her grandchildren full time.

The most unique part -- victims have up to three years after he/she is victimized to connect with the Center.

“We’re kinda like that support, that friend, that even if you don’t need us right by your side today, we’re always hanging in the background for the next three years, in case you need us again,” Coles shared.

If you’re in need or know a loved one who needs help, call 810-262-7340. It’ll connect you directly to the Hurley Trauma Recovery Center.

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