Fran Scheel coordinator of the Troy student counseling center (TSCC) reminds students that victims aren’t just strangers. Victims of crime could be our family members, friends, neighbors or teachers, she said.
In honor of the 30-year anniversary of the Victims of Crime Act, the TSCC has partnered with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to celebrate how far the United States has come in supporting those who have been victimized.
In the same breath, Scheel said they want to bring awareness to the ongoing fight to keep advancing in victim care. For the TSCC, this meant first and foremost being a presence on campus.
“There is still more work to be done in informing faculty, staff and law enforcement of our resources,” Scheel said. “We do try to work closely (with the university) and be very visible on campus and that is an ongoing process.”
Counseling personnel engaged students and faculty on the Bibb Graves Quad on April 6 and 8 with facts about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and information on the services that the counseling center provides.
Jessica Childs, a criminal justice lecturer at Troy said that she sees this cause as important and has encouraged her criminal justice students to participate in the campaign by hanging up posters on campus.
“Victims need to have a voice and not to be considered just another number,” Childs said. “Victims are encountered in every aspect of the criminal justice field and it is essential that all agencies understand and provide the needs of the victim in a compassionate manner.”
As a survivor of domestic violence, Childs said that victims’ rights is a passion of hers.
“I am a huge advocate for victims’ rights and have passed that passion onto my students that take the victimology course I teach every semester,” she said.
Protecting victims’ rights might look like providing crime scene response, covering medical expenses, funeral or counseling bills, or providing victim support groups and helping facilitate victim participation in justice proceedings.
The TSCC offers many of those basic services that include crisis response, advocacy and one-on-one counseling services, Scheel said.
She said that often the first point of contact with the counseling office comes from the hospital, a concerned professor or law enforcement after a student has been victimized.
She said that the workers at the counseling center have been called to the hospital to assist students in the past.
“Even if we have to shuffle appointments around, we will make ourselves available to students who have been victimized.”
After making contact, they then step in as advocates for the student. She said that they try to function as a support system for the student without biases or hidden objectives.
“It’s important to know that we don’t try to push a certain agenda or pressure them into pressing charges,” Scheel said. “We certainly encourage them to consider that because the perpetrator is libel to repeat the offense, but it is ultimately their decision.”
She said that they also serve as counselors for students “knowing that students might experience a range of emotion associated with the victimization,” she said.
The student counseling center located at 113 College Drive, in Troy. The center can be reached at (334) 670-3700.