ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office is creating a new unit to handle sex crime cases and allegations of domestic violence.
Officials said combining the two divisions streamlines the process and allows the Ninth Judicial Circuit to be more efficient.
Keisha Mulfort, director of public affairs for the Ninth Judicial Court, said because these two types of cases require similar specialized training to provide victims with appropriate trauma support, combining the two units will provide victims with more efficient representation.
“Having it like this ensures there’s uniformity ensures there is equity and it also provides them with an opportunity to lean on one another as well as there division chief,” Mulfort said.
And for the victims, she said it streamlines what’s often considered a long drawn out difficult process.
“When we are talking about the importance of this new unit and we are talking about the interest of justice we have victims who have been waiting over two years for their cases to be resolved,” she said. “We have some accused who are waiting over two years for their cases to be resolved.”
And officials said there are also staffing deficiencies that make it nearly impossible to maintain two separate divisions.
Mulfort said between COVID-19, inflation and rent hikes, it’s hard for assistant state attorneys to afford to raise families on the salaries offered, which start at $50,000.
Right now, officials said there are 144 assistant state attorneys to handle thousands of cases each year.
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