ST. ALBANS — The Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services held a listening forum at the St. Albans Town Education Center Tuesday evening, the fifth in a series of eight such forums around the state.
Chris Fenno, the Center for Crime Victim Services’ executive director, said that the forums are to gather input as the center plans its next three to five years.
“In order to do that, we really need to hear from people who have been hurt and harmed by crime,” she said.
The Center for Crime Victim Services provides financial and medical services for crime victims. The Center funds Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, or SANEs, and victims advocates, working out of state attorney offices. It is in charge of restitution, and victims’ compensation.
“We’re not just talking about courts and cops,” Fenno said, introducing the forum. “We’re talking about our neighbors.”
She said the Center designed the forums to invite conversation about how victims are treated in our legal system.
“It’s not something that happens to us,” Fenno said. “It’s something we participate in.”
A listening panel at the forum consisted of Voices Against Violence’s Kris Lukens, Franklin-Grand Isle Restorative Justice’s Nina Curtiss, Franklin County State’s Attorney Jim Hughes and Vermont State Police (VSP) Lt. Maurice Lamothe, who directs the VSP’s St. Albans barracks.
Also in the audience was Gov. Phil Scott, who did not speak, but simply listened.