The North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety has a victim advocate on staff as mandated by South Carolina law to provide assistance and comply with the Victim’s Bill of Rights, Act 343. The victim advocate notifies victims of all hearings and pertinent dates regarding their case where a defendant has been arrested for a crime committed against them. The VA attends bond hearings and court appearances with victims to ensure they are being represented and heard in the criminal justice system. The VA makes sure the victim receives any restitution, medical payments, funeral or burial expenses, and counseling, through either the court system or The State Office of Victim Assistance. Victims of crime sometimes find themselves in situations where they may be displaced or without their daily needs met so the VA can help secure temporary housing, clothing or food for them. The VA also helps if someone needs an Order of Protection or sanctions if the defendant is in violation of bond restrictions. The VA provides transportation to those who cannot get to court, and in some cases places such as the airport, bus station, or a shelter. The victim advocate also assists the department when individuals experience natural disasters such as fire or flood and are displaced from their homes to recover from the disaster. The VA speaks at clubs and community organizations to educate the North Myrtle Beach population about the victim assistance program at the Department of Public safety and also explain the dynamics of domestic violence and its effect on our community. The VA maintains certification standards and attends annual training on domestic violence, sexual assaults, and new legislative initiatives. Continued training ensures that the victim advocate is constantly learning new ways to assist victims and maintain a network of community and social service resource referrals. The victim advocate ensures that residents and visitors to our city who unfortunately become victims to crime are kept informed of their rights and ways to exercise those rights as provided by the South Carolina Constitution.