Victim Advocate

In a continuing effort to enhance victim services to all residents and visitors, the Margate Police Department applies for and receives grant funding dedicated to providing for a full time Victim Advocate position.

The Florida, Attorney General’s Office, through The Federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), one of the seven components within the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), administers the Crime Victims Fund established under the 1984 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) to help victims and victim service providers with program funding in accordance with OVC’s Program Plan for the fiscal year. The Margate Police Department continues to strive for excellence in service to the community. The Victim Advocacy program is emblematic of that pursuit of excellence in service delivery.

Tara Arena is the Police Department’s full time Victim Advocate.  Tara has over ten years of experience working with crime victims including victims impacted by homicide, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, and assault. Tara has been trained in community crisis response by the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA).  Tara’s training and experience in crisis intervention provide victims and witnesses with the extra support needed to reduce the impact of trauma. Tara stays current in victim services with her involvement in the Broward Victim’s Rights Coalition, Broward Domestic Violence Council, and the Child Abuse Coordination Committee.

The Victim Advocate reviews police reports and receives referrals for assistance. The Victim Advocate assesses and addresses the emotional well-being of victims and/or witnesses who may have experienced a physical, emotional, and/or psychological trauma resulting from crime victimization.  This unit provides short term crisis and counseling intervention, guidance and support through the criminal justice system, assistance with restraining orders, and applicable shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Additionally, the Victim Advocate Unit  provides referral information for community based organizations that may assist in the needs of the victim.  If you have been a victim or witness to a crime and would like to discuss your rights as a victim, please contact the Margate Police Department's Victim Advocate at (954) 935-5385.  The following assistance may be available to you:

• Explaining your rights and your role within the criminal justice system.
• Personal Advocacy
• Information and assistance regarding the Victim Crime Compensation Program.
• Information and referrals to community based organizations.
• Short term crisis and counseling intervention.
• Guidance and support through the criminal justice system.
• Assist with the return of property.
• Intervene with landlord and creditors when a criminal case is pending.
• Seek emergency shelter for domestic violence and sexual assault victims.
• Transportation when applicable. 

Victims within the State of Florida have a right to:

• Protection from intimidation (Petition for various types of protective orders).|
• Advanced notification of judicial proceedings related to arrest, release and proceedings, including when to submit written statements.
• Notification of scheduling changes by the agency scheduling court appearances.
• Attend and be heard at crucial stages of the judicial process.
• Prompt and timely disposition of a case (provided it does not interfere with the rights of the accused).
• Consultation by the State Attorney's Office in certain felony crimes.
• Prompt return of property (if there is no compelling need to retain the property as evidence). • Request assistance from law enforcement or the state attorney in notifying employers and creditors of circumstances resulting from the crime.
• Request and receive restitution.
• Submit a victim impact statement to the court.
• Have a victim advocate attend depositions.
• Review portions of the pre-sentence investigation.
• Have a defendant tested for HIV/Hepatitis when bodily fluids are transmitted.

If you are a victim, the following community based organizations may offer some assistance. Please contact them directly for additional information.

Margate Police Department Non-Emergency Police Services (954) 764-4357
First Call for Help Crisis Hotline (954) 537-0211
Office of the Attorney General Bureau of Compensation (800) 226-6667
VINE (Victim Information Notification Everyday) (877) 846-3435
Henderson Mental Mobile Crisis Unit (954) 463-0911
Broward County School Board Family Counseling (754) 321-1590
Nova Southeastern Counseling Programs (954) 262-5730
Women in Distress of Broward County Crisis Hotline (954) 761-1133
Women in Distress Outreach (954) 760-9800
Nancy J. Cotterman Center (954) 357-5775
Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline (954) 761-7273
Family Success Center (954) 357-6367
Family Central (954) 724-3994
Florida Coalition against Domestic Violence (800) 500-1119
Elderly and Child Abuse Hotline (800) 96-ABUSE
Aging and Disability Resource Center (954) 745-9779
Legal Aid of Broward County (954) 736-2400