Safe haven for crime victims and witnesses unveiled
Crime victims and witnesses who are participating in trials now have a place of their own in the Kenosha County Courthouse where they will not have to confront friends and family members of defendants.
Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser and Kenosha County District Attorney Robert D. Zapf today unveiled the space dedicated as a safe haven.
“When I learned there were no safe places for crime victims and witnesses to wait during court hearings and trials, I knew we had to take quick action to address that,” Kreuser said.
District Attorney Zapf said that, too often, crime victims and witnesses felt intimidated by friends and family members of the defendants as they waited in hallways or in the courtroom.
“We don’t want to re-victimize people who are taking the brave action to report a crime and to participate in court,” Zapf said. “This new space allows them to take a break from court proceedings in a safe and relaxed atmosphere.”
Here’s some video of Kreuser, Zapf and other explaining why the room is important and how it came about:
The area was furnished through the generous donations of Kenosha County businesses. The donations were:
- Grand TV and appliance donated a 32″ LCD flat screen TV and 18 cubic-foot refrigerator.
- Ashley furniture donated all the furniture, wall art and rug.
- Wal-Mart donated $500 worth of toys, games, movies and a DVD player.
“Rather than fill the space with discarded second-hand furniture from other county departments, these businesses helped to create a comfortable space for crime victims and witnesses. We are truly grateful to all of them,” Kreuser said.
No county dollars were used to renovate the space, which was made available in the lower level of the courthouse when the county Division of Information Technology moved to renovated space at the Kenosha County Public Safety Building. Minor cleaning of the space was provided by the county Public Works-Facilities Division employees.