|Published:||Feb 04, 2011 12:25 AM EST|
|Updated:||Feb 03, 2011 9:26 PM EST|
CAPE CORAL- There's a new push to get rid of Cape Coral's Victim's Advocate Program, because some say it costs too much.
A mother who's young daughter died after being left in a hot car tells WINK News the program needs to be saved.
This program helps people who are victims of a crime or a traumatic incident.
Julia McKinnon lost her little girl last year.
She says you can't put a price tag on the help victim advocates provide.
"Without her we would never be able to get where we are today," McKinnon said.
Last year, McKinnon's 18 month-old baby died after her father accidentally left her in hot car.
Following the tragic accident, Julia relied heavily on Christine Seymour, a Victims Advocate at Cape PD.
"Christine was with me from the moment she told me my baby passed away. She helped us make funeral arrangements," McKinnon said.
Seymour is one of the three victim advocates working for the Cape Coral Police Department.
She says they give comfort and guidance.
"We don't counsel. We provide resources that are out in the community that will meet the need of the victim," Seymour said.
Cape resident Michael Buchinski agrees the services are necessary, but says the Lee Sheriff's Office or the State Attorney's Office could do it.
"We are being redundant. These same positions, we have these services at the state and county level. It's duplication of services," Buchinski told WINK News.
Buchinski says the city is spending more than $100,000 dollars a year on the program and on Monday, asked city council to do a way with it.
But Seymour says the State Attorney's Office can only provide the service if theres been an arrest and a charge.
The Lee Sheriff's Office has five victim advocates, but have a heavy caseload.
For people like Julia McKinnon, if the program were to be cut, the only people who would lose are the victims.
"Without her there's no way we could have gone through what we've gone through and be where we are today," McKinnon said.
Last year the Cape Police's Victim's Advocacy Program helped more than 2,000 people in the city.
The police department is applying for a grant to help supplement the program.