Is move good for victims?

NLJ Staff

As the editorial board at the News Letter Journal discussed the needed story on the move of both FOCUS and the local public defender’s office to the Weston County Annex to join the Weston County Attorney’s office, and UW Extension office we all had a similar reaction.


Shock that, it seems, the feelings of the victims were not fully weighed when making a decision to save the county some money. Shock that the safety of those victims and the kids that attend functions at the extension office were not considered fully. 

During the final approval of the lease agreements, Commissioner Tracy Hunt did make it clear that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty. Which is their fair and just right until convicted by the court of law, but, was the feeling of the alleged victims taken into consideration? 

In our opinion, no!

The wants and needs of the suspected defendant were considered and their right to use the public restroom was quickly defended by the commissioners, but not once during the commissioner’s discussion was the right of the victims and the concerns about their feelings or safety expressed by a single individual on the commission.

I ask, isn’t that the purpose of both FOCUS and the county attorney? To protect the victims and make sure they receive justice. 

We feel that the important concern, for those people that have already been violated and targeted, was quickly thrown to the side in favor of saving money. 

Put yourself in the shoes of the victim. Would you want to go seek help from FOCUS knowing that the individual that assaulted you, or at least that you believe already took full advantage of you in a variety of ways, was sitting in the next room… that they could potentially reach for the bathroom door handle at the same time as you?

We can definitely say that we would not. We as potential victims would not want to step foot in that building to seek the help we rightfully deserve in the chance of facing our accused perpetrator. 

Victims of crimes, no matter the type,  already face enough stigma and accusing eyes in this world. They are asked if they really said ‘no’, if they are sure that is the person that assaulted them, and if they are rightfully accusing the perpetrator. And now they must stand for their right to justice knowing that person could be in the next room, that the person who is going to question your accounts is in the next room. 

Whether there is a blockade of makeshift walls, we feel that victims for no reason should be put in the situation where they may face the one who hurt them anymore, especially while seeking help. 

We challenge the commission to think about the victims in this community, about their safety and feelings before saving a realistically minuscule amount of money. 


News Letter Journal

News Letter Journal
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P.O. Box 40
Newcastle, WY 82701
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