Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center provides legal help to victims


COLUMBUS - Court advocates are rolling out a new online tool to help victims know and understand their legal rights.

Anna, who asked us not to use her last name, said she was a victim of child sex abuse and then a victim of the legal system.

"My mom would get the phone call and I would look at her and I would just pay attention to her face while she was on the phone. Is this going to be another continuance?" said Anna.

Anna said her case was continued for more than 20 times, and took more than two years to go to trial.

"I still remember to this day they were like his right to a speedy trial. And I was like, what's a speedy trial? Because this is not speedy,” said Anna.

Cathy Harper Lee created the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, a non-profit agency that provides legal services to crime victims 16 years ago.

"By the time victims get to us they're often angry and feeling hopeless.

They are frustrated. The system's not working. They feel they're not safe. Many of their rights have been violated,” said Harper Lee.

Now, the Justice Center is unveiling a first-of-its-kind online crime victims tool kit. Users can enter their age and type of crime, and learn how to advocate for themselves after becoming a victim of a crime.

Anna finally had her day in court. Ultimately, the defendant was found not guilty, but she said what's important to her is that she stood up for herself. Anna said she wishes she'd had access to the victim's right tool kit, because she would have done things differently.

"They told me so many things that I wish I'd known from the get go. My mom wishes she'd known from the get go. So things could have been different from the get go.”

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