Parallel Justice offers support, validation and resources to victims of all crimes, including property crimes like vandalism or theft. We work with any victim of a crime that occurred in Burlington, even if a perpetrator is never caught, and even if the crime is not reported to the police.
We connect people with other organizations who can assist them, with businesses in our community who offer discounts and donations, and with a commission who can address system-wide problems and barriers e that victims face.
Parallel Justice is a national demonstration project that began in July, 2006. It is a partnership of the Burlington Community Justice Center (part of CEDO), the Burlington Police Department, and the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services.
Our Replication Guide to help other communities enhance their own response to crime victims using what we’ve learned through 10 years in Burlington is coming out in Summer, 2017. Email us to be notified when it is available.
For victims of crimes occurring outside of Burlington, VT: If your internet search for help and support has led you here, here’s some basic information to help you find help closer to home
1. Call 211.211 is a directory each state maintains of all the programs and agencies that are helping people where you live. You tell them what county you live in, and they can help you find victim services, community and faith organizations that can help with your specific needs (like relocation assistance, temporary housing, food, etc...)
2. Connect with an advocate.If you have experienced domestic or sexual violence, connect with your local community agency focused on these issues. To find your local agency, call 211 or look on www.rainn.org for sexual assault support and www.thehotline.org/help/ for domestic violence.
3. Is there a victim advocate the prosecutor’s office assigned to your case?If you reported the crime to the police, ask the investigating officer if there is a victim advocate you can speak in the prosecutor’s office and get their contact info. Their job is to help you understand what is happening with an investigation, and if a charge is brought against the person who committed the crime, to keep victims informed of what’s happening in the case and your rights to be heard. It’s important to know that advocates who work for the prosecution are *not* completely confidential. They need to share information relevant to the criminal case with their prosecutor, so talk with them about what that means when you begin working with them. For more info about victim advocates in your community, look on www.trynova.org/crime-victim/advocacy/
4. Trying to recoup financial losses:There are usually 2 different ways that victims can get financial assistance through the state. Victims Compensation helps with medical expenses immediately after a crime, if “probable cause” is found. Restitution is what it’s called when the court orders the perpetrator of a crime to pay the victim back for some of their financial losses. Since the criminal justice system moves slowly, this can sometimes take more than a year.