Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.
During the meeting of the Madison Kiwanis Club on Thursday, Jan. 5, the club members were treated to an interesting presentation from Shelia Combs, Victim Advocate, for the Madison County Sheriff's Office (MCSO).
Combs spoke of her many duties which include helping victims of crime through the complex legal system from the time a crime is reported until a final judgement is rendered. Often, Combs provides a vital human connection between crime victims and a legal system that can be very impersonal. “I'm that support person for that person at that moment,” said Combs. Combs said her duties also include helping a victim with referrals to other agencies. She reminded those in attendance that the Florida Big Bend area has a system in place for people to quickly access social service resources. Anyone can simply dial 2-1-1 in order to be put in touch with a multitude of social service agencies.
Combs said much of her work brings her into contact with victims of domestic abuse. Combs was very quick to caution people about giving advice that some may think is prudent, but can be very dangerous, such as the advice to suddenly leave an abusive situation. Combs said it is crucially important that the victim have a safety plan in place before they make a move to leave a situation.
Combs is passionately committed to her work with the Sheriff's Office, and that passion carries over to the people she faithfully serves.