By: Jill Bartlett, General Crime Victim Services Supervisor
In July of 2017 Cornerstone began a program providing advocacy services to victims of general crime. Victims of general crime may experience many challenges after being victimized such as loss of employment, adverse effects on relationships, trauma, depression and other mental health issues, as well as the increased chance of being re-victimized. Our program works to support participants by providing them with advocacy that includes, but is not limited to individual advocacy, support, access to referrals, assistance with accessing emergency funds as well as reparations, therapeutic services and community engagement.
The participants we have worked with have experienced victimization through crimes such as assault, vandalism, auto theft, identity theft, and gun violence. Our program has been working with Farji Shaheer, a counselor from Next Step at the Hennepin County Medical Center. His program provides services to individuals who have been gunshot victims. Through the use of our programs distribution of Emergency Victim Assistance and other advocacy we are able to work together to support the needs of these participants and move them into safe housing. Many of the participants and their families are targeted as witnesses and are no longer safe to live in their homes due to repeated gun fire and/or other threats on their lives. I spoke with Farji recently at an event at Minneapolis’s City Hall and he had words of thanks for our program and the work we do. He stated, “Because of your program and what you do we save lives together.” Our team feels privileged to work with him and others who are in need of our services.