The Wood County Commission Monday honored those who deal with domestic violence cases.
A victims advocate program is in its ninth year in Wood County.
"West Virginia has the Crime Victims Fund," says Wood County victims advocate Diana Williams. "This is a fund created from offenders' fees. Misdemeanor offenders pay ten dollars into the fund, while felonies pay 50 dollars. This is to go to physical needs, emotional needs, lost wages, funeral expenses. We don't want the victim to pay out of pocket expenses. This wasn't their fault."
It provides support for victims while law enforcement officers investigate domestic violence cases and appears at court trials for suspects.
"The law enforcement are the first ones to make contact with the victim," Williams says, "and they give them a chance to tell their story, and they're very important for the victim."
Twenty-five counties now have victims advocate offices, compared to eight counties when the program began in West Virginia nearly a decade ago.