City Council Working To Fully Restore SPD Victim Advocate Program

According to our sources, the city council is working to come up with nearly $300,000 to restore two Seattle Police Department victim advocate positions scheduled to be cut next year.

The city currently employs seven civilian victim advocates—one assigned to work with robbery victims; two to work with sexual assault victims; two that work with domestic violence victims; and two that work with victims of violent crimes and the families of homicide victims.

Each advocate works with crime victims—helping them get counseling, setting them up with safe housing, and accompanying them to court hearings and defense interviews—and have hefty caseloads.

Domestic violence advocates say they handled more than 1100 cases in 2008 alone.

With the city’s budget troubles, police were planning to let go the robbery advocate and one of the homicide and violent crimes advocates in April. The other five advocates would be retained using city funds and grant money.

While the city is facing a $67 million shortfall, the city council apparently wants to use some of the cash gained from a deal with the Museum of History and Industry through some sort of financial wizardy to retain the two victim advocates.

The approximately $300,000 would pay for the advocates through 2012.

We hear the council’s going to take a look at restoring the two advocate positions this week, and we’ll update when we know more.