LGBT victim-advocate position created

The Center City Crime Victim Services of Philadelphia has created a new LGBT victim-advocate position, following the receipt of a state grant.

CCCVS, which is responsible for servicing the Gayborhood and Chinatown, is now accepting applications for the full-time position.

The primary responsibility of the job is to foster a sense of safety and support among victims in the LGBT community in the hopes of increasing crime reporting and participation in the criminal-justice process. Additionally, the advocate will work to raise awareness and education about victims’ rights throughout the city and state.

CCCVS executive director Sherry Hunter said she had wanted to create the position for several years now, but it was not possible until the agency received grant funding.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for years, but we just haven’t had the funding until now,” Hunter said. “When a grant opportunity came up through Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, we applied.”

Hunter said the agency learned it received the grant earlier this month, and she hopes to fill the position by Sept. 1.

The impetus to create the new position arose from a number of LGBT people who have been victimized in the Gayborhood contacting CCCVS.

“We have a lot of contact with people that have been assaulted there,” Hunter said. “It’s obvious to us that there is a need in that community.”

Several years ago, CCCVS hired a Mandarin-speaking advocate to address constituents in the Chinatown area. According to Hunter, that move was a big success, and she is optimistic the LGBT advocate will have similar results.

“More people started speaking out because there was someone who is familiar with their culture,” Hunter said. “It’s been fantastic. I hope the new LGBT advocate will similarly make people in the LGBT community feel comfortable enough to speak about their situation.”

Hunter said the LGBT advocate will also be able to go to court with victims, help them navigate the criminal-justice system and train and educate police officers.

The application deadline for the position is Aug. 10.

In addition to the advocate, CCCVS is also recruiting, training and certifying LGBT victim-advocate volunteers.

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