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Alert And Protect

July 21, 2013, 10:10 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Alert And Protect

We carry around technology in our pockets all day long and we demand information instantly.

"Now we have so much technology available to have this kind of information at our fingertips," Krista Heeren Graber Executive Director of the South Dakota Network Against Domestic Violence said.

South Dakota is currently setting up a system which will send instant information to victims' cell phones or computers about important developments in their cases.

"The victim can actually sign up for whatever form of notification they want. It could be a text message, it could be an email, it could be snail mail, all sorts of technology ways to give them information about what’s happening in their case," South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said.

The system is called SAVIN (State Automated Victim Information Notification) and it was passed as part of the sweeping criminal justice reform approved by the legislature earlier this year.

"This system is going to save lives and so we're very excited about this and being part of the whole process in developing it," Heeren Graber said.

Heeren Graber is on the board overseeing the system's set up.

"It's really a safety issue. It lets the victim know if the person is going to be released, what's happening with the person, how they can plan accordingly," Heeren Graber said.

The system can also notify victims of court dates and parole hearings for offenders.

"Domestic violence for example is all about power and control and so this type of system allows the victim to take back some control in their life and really empowers them to move on and keep themselves safe," Heeren Graber said.

Forty other states currently have this type of system in place. It will not only provide notification to victims, but also to family members of the offender and members of the public can also sign up for the alerts.

"At times we have not done the best job of timely notification, things happen in a criminal proceeding quickly, there's human error. We want to try to do away with some of those errors and make a timely and efficient notification to the people that really need to know what's going on in their cases," Jackley said.

That notification can provide security and a peace of mind for victims.

"It's a safety issue. It can really save lives and I think it's really exciting for South Dakota for victim's services," Heeren Graber said.

A service that will be delivered through all that technology that's always at our fingertips.

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