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Departments » Sheriff's Office » Victim Services Unit
General Information

What is the Victim Services Unit?

The Victim Services Unit (VSU) is an all-volunteer group of advocates dedicated to helping victims survive a crisis or crime against them. The VSU specializes in "Short Term Crisis Intervention." They are the "Helping Hands" of the police, fire and medical personnel. They free the departments up to do their jobs without leaving the victim alone. Our objective is to avoid further victimization. VSU volunteers offer answers to such common questions as what happens next, funeral preparations, why a crime scene takes so long to process, and who will guide them through the court system. Referrals can also be made to appropriate agencies and services within the community. On scene, VSU plays a vital role by lending support and assisting victims and witnesses throughout the initial shock of trauma. Advocates can separate victims from the scene of investigation while maintaining the link to officers for victims' questions and concerns. At a secondary site, when safe, they can stay after the officer leaves, working to pull a support system of available resources, close friends, family or church personnel into place.

What is the Sexual Assault Response Team?

On February 1, 2013, the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) was activated in Menominee County, as a sub-unit of the VSU. They provide short term crisis intervention, comfort, help victims and make appropriate referrals to agencies and services available to them. The SART Program is a coordinated effort between several agencies in Menominee and Marinette Counties, bringing together law enforcement, a specially trained nurse examiner (SANE) volunteer, prosecutor's office and the SART volunteers. The SART program provides victims with immediate assistance when it is needed most - at the scene of the call. Once law enforcement determines that a specially trained nurse examiner is required, SANE and SART volunteers are available for a timely response. The SANE nurse is not only trained to provide physical and emotional support for victims, but also to gather and preserve forensic evidence. All exams are performed at NEWCAP in Marinette, Wisconsin. The SART volunteer can provide the victim with information, referral and a friendly shoulder to lean on. They support victims during the examination - until a long-term support system can be established. If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted, please report it to law enforcement immediately.

When to Request VSU Services

The unit shall be called out for:

Homicides, suicides, any death, including fatal traffic accidents, farm accidents or serious injury accidents, natural or sudden unexpected deaths, death notifications.

Sexual Assault

Child Abuse

Domestic Abuse

House, Commercial and Wildland Fires

Natural Disasters

Lost Person/Children

Mass Casualties

Any traumatic incident that has exposed victims/survivors or witnesses to emotional or physical trauma

How Can the Unit be Requested

The unit can be requested through any Law Enforcement Agency, Fire Department or Rescue Squad in Menominee County. Also contact Central Dispatch for emergency response via 911 or non-emergency request 906-863-6614.

Benefits to Emergency Personnel

By having advocates present, emergency personnel will be able to return to the scene, perform follow up, or complete the report. The program is designed to relieve some of the emotional stress from the emergency persons and provide emotional support for the families and victims.


Confidentiality is required and adhered to by all advocates and information is only shared with other associate advocates and coordinator in the event they need to assume responsibility for a case. Victims are informed that whatever they say will be repeated to the investigator in the event it will help the case.


Advocates are very dedicated individuals. Their commitment is proven in the many hours of training they receive from the Michigan Sheriffs Association and monthly training meetings. All advocates are deputized by the Menominee Sheriff Department. They welcome and encourage your comments which might help future victims cope with a life altering crisis.

Victim Service Volunteers should be

Mature, Responsible, Have good communication skills, Ability or experience to deal with crisis situations. Knowledge of community resources, Transportation.

Contact:  Lori Van - Unit Coordinator
Phone: 906-863-4441
Fax: 906-863-2239
Office Hours:  Vary
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