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Williams named Victim Advocate of the Year Print E-mail

Patricia (Pat) Williams with the Bamberg County Sheriff's Office was awarded Victim Advocate of the year at the South Carolina annual LEVA (Law enforcement victims advocate) conference in Myrtle Beach on Friday, November 12, 2010. Williams has been an advocate for the Bamberg County Sheriff's office for the past 8 years. She was honored at the award ceremony for her outstanding services.

Williams said she was very humbled when she received this award. She was totally surprised and did not know anything about it until her granddaughter gave a speech at the award ceremony about how hard her grandmother worked and how dedicated she is in helping her victims.

"LEVA is the first source of help in the criminal justice system that is available to crime victims. I protect a victim's rights and make sure the law is enforced. I explain the judicial system to them the best that I can and I am a referral source for resources that available to them such as counseling, shelter, protective housing and safe housing," said Williams.

A victim advocate goes to court when the victim is unable to go and speaks on their behalf.

She says the most important thing an advocate can do is listen to what the victim needs and address those needs and issues as soon as possible...Listening is the most important.

Victims' Advocacy is a network throughout the state.

"No one person can do it all, we (LEVA) network with each other and help each other out when needed all over the state. We are professionals and have to have the proper training and take continuing education courses. It is not like it use to be. Every law enforcement office has to have someone assigned to handle victim's services," she said.

Not only is she a victim's advocate , Williams also mentors other advocates and helps to educate them.

She gives credit to her 'wonderful boss' Sheriff Ed Darnell, for allowing her to take the classes and get the necessary training to provide her victims with the best service that she can.

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