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Picture from left are Erica Boos, Youa Yang, Katie Salaba and Nora Radtke

2021 Unsung Legal Heroes: Saint Paul City Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Team

The SPCAO Victim Witness Team, though a relatively new unit, is already making an impact.

The unit’s mission is to protect the rights of crime victims, help throughout the criminal justice process, and address individual needs brought on by victimization. The team provides information to crime victims about the criminal justice process and helps in both safety planning and connecting victims with community services to meet their needs.

The four team members — Katie Salaba, Youa Yang, Nora Radtke and Erica Boos — all have separate caseloads, but they still work collaboratively.

“As we’ve added people to the team, our process has become more collaborative,” said Salaba. “We talk about the best way to divide job duties. We have the freedom to do that however we think we should.”

Each year the team serves more than 3,000 victims of crimes ranging from theft of property to domestic violence and elder abuse. Their work includes gathering information from a crime victim so that they may be able to collect restitution, as well as being a source of comfort and assurance while a victim of a violent crime navigates the criminal justice system.

At the same time, the unit has implemented strategies to make sure that the criminal justice system is accessible to all community members. That has meant writing brochures in five different languages, working with Language Line to ensure victims’ voices are being heard throughout the case, obtaining assistive devices to have available for victims who are hard of hearing and implementing training on the variety of cultures in St. Paul.

“We’ve gotten good feedback,” said Radtke. “Victims always appreciate being included and informed. We think it’s important for victims to stay at the center of these cases.”

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