SAVIN Aims To Help Victims

Automated Message System Updates Victims On Current Case

Keeping victims of crimes like domestic violence and assault in the loop about what’s going on with their offender can be a difficult, manual process.

Now, it’s going to be as easy as getting a text or email.

On Tuesday, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley introduced “SAVIN,” or the Statewide Automated Victim Information Notification System.

With approval from a state’s attorney, a victim registers for an account and keeps track of what happens to their offender.

They receive up-to-date messages on details like court hearing dates and results, parole information, protection orders, and even when their attacker gets out of jail or prison.

Jackley said he sees the system as an opportunity to do a better job helping victims of serious crimes.

“To help them feel at ease with the criminal justice system and to help them get information important to making decision to help them protect themselves,” said Jackley.

Child Sexual Abuse Advocate, Jolene Loetscher said she believe something as simple as a quick message can make a big difference.

“Victims of crimes so often feel like they lose power in the act of the crime. I think SAVIN is an opportunity for them to feel like they have a little bit more control in the system,” said Loetscher.

She also explained that in cases like child sexual abuse, entire families are affected due to relationships with the offender.

Having up to date knowledge of the case, she said, can take a burden off of a victim’s shoulders.

“It helps them feel like they’ve got a little more control in a world that may feel like there isn’t much control at all,” said Loetscher.

Six counties: Brookings, Lake, Hughes, Clay, Pennington and Meade are currently using the automated system.

Minnehaha and Brown Counties are next to get the messaging system in place, which Jackley anticipates taking around three to six months.

The entire cost of the SAVIN system was $788,000.

South Dakota is one of the last five U.S. states to launch this kind of messaging system for victims.

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