New VOCAL chapter in St. Clair County
ST. CLAIR Co., Ala. (WBRC) - The St. Clair County District Attorney’s Office is working to make sure citizens who are victims of violent crimes are not forgotten. They’re launching a local chapter of Victims of Crime and Leniency, or VOCAL, to bring awareness and offer support.
They hosted their first group of meetings Monday, July 11, 2022, at the St. Clair County Courthouse in Pell City and will hold the second on Tuesday, July 12 at the courthouse in Ashville. Both meetings will begin at 6 p.m.
VOCAL has helped crime victims and their families change the legal system across the state. St. Clair County District Attorney Lyle Harmon believes it’s time to bring this program to their community.
“It was started back in the ‘80s by a lady named Mrs. Miriam Shehane, whose daughter was murdered,” says Harmon. “At the time victims’ rights weren’t acknowledged. And due to the experiences she was going through she created VOCAL which is unique to Alabama in an effort to protect Victim’s rights.”
DA Harmon says he doesn’t see a lot of groups that fight for victims and he wants that to change in St. Clair County.
“I think we’re all hard-pressed on naming an organization that’s there for victims of crime,” says Harmon. “When the victims of crime don’t ask to be victims, it’s important for our victims of St. Clair County to have a voice to be a part of a group of people like themselves.”
He’s hopeful VOCAL will not only offer victim support in the community but also through legislation and in the courtroom.
“Having this organization here not only gives victims the opportunity to be together but it also gives them a voice,” says Harmon. “It gives them a voice here in our county and it gives them a voice In Montgomery. That is very important to have a unified voice to remember the victims of violent crimes.”
Organizers say after this week’s inaugural meetings, they plan to host VOCAL meetings quarterly.
To learn more, contact the St. Clair County District Attorney’s office at 205-338-9429.
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