Assisting victims

Blue ribbons adorn a tree near City Lot 7, across Washington Street from Seneca County Victim Assistance Program’s office, Monday.

Seneca County Victim Assistance Program can provide trauma-informed care and assistance, provide moral support, ensure victims are aware of their rights and how to execute them, and address safety issues.

The program has five advocates and serves every court in Seneca County, including Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court, Seneca County Common Pleas Court and Seneca County Juvenile-Probate Court. Advocates work with three counties — Seneca, Hancock and Wood — for municipal court cases.

It is under the umbrella of Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office and is funded by a Victims of Crime Act grant.

Advocates help with protection orders, paperwork, court appearances and applying for services.

Lidia Lee, who has directed the program for about three years, estimated advocates work with 300-320 victims and those involved in protection orders per quarter. The majority, she said, are victims of crime.

Protection orders are not limited to domestic violence situations. Advocates could assist with situations involving stalking, harassing and bullying, Lee said.

If the victims assistance office cannot help, officials would make a referral, Lee said.

This week, the office is observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which started Sunday and ends Saturday and has a theme of “Honoring Our Past, Creating Hope for the Future.”

The Clothesline Project is a way for crime victims and others to express how they have been affected by crime by decorating T-shirts, which are to be on display in Tiffin-Seneca Public Library’s reading center through Monday, according to a release.

Lee said the display features 12 shirts. The goal, she said, is to bring not only awareness, but hope that there always is a way to get out of a situation.

A poster honoring victims is to be on display at Fostoria’s Kaubisch Memorial Public Library Saturday through April 19.

Community members can help decorate a tree with blue ribbons in Tiffin’s City Lot 7 throughout the week. Ribbons are available at the prosecutor’s office at 79 S. Washington St.