University Press

FAU Victim Services is missing its spokesperson for trauma survivors

Students are instead being referred to Palm Beach County Victim Services for help.

FAU%27s+Victim+Services+is+a+part+of+the+university%27s+police+department.+Photo+courtesy+of+FAU+police%27s+Facebook
FAU's Victim Services is a part of the university's police department. Photo courtesy of FAU police's Facebook

FAU's Victim Services is a part of the university's police department. Photo courtesy of FAU police's Facebook

FAU's Victim Services is a part of the university's police department. Photo courtesy of FAU police's Facebook

Farhan Chowdhury, Contributing Writer

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Students who are looking for help after a traumatic experience like sexual assault will find themselves sent to an off-campus organization instead of receiving direct help from a specialized professional in the FAU police department’s Victim Services.  

It’s the job of a Victim Advocate to help the student in need by letting them know what their options are, referring them to therapy and other community resources if need be, accompanying them to court, and helping them understand their rights — but the former advocate Jumorrow Terra-Johnson is no longer in the position and has not yet been replaced, according to FAU Police Chief Sean Brammer. In the meantime, FAU is sending trauma victims to Palm Beach County Victim Services.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

The University Press asked why Terra-Johnson is no longer employed at the university, but was told that FAU does not comment on “personnel matters,” FAU spokesperson Lisa Metcalf said.

“It has not affected the Department negatively, but [Terra-Johnson was] a resource with invaluable years of experience that is sometimes hard to replace,” Brammer said.

Terra-Johnson was the Victim Advocate from March 2016 to August 2018. Her qualifications included an expertise in sexual crimes, domestic abuse, and human trafficking. She previously worked as an advocate at the Plantation police department.

Jumorrow Terra-Johnson was FAU’s Victim Advocate for the past two years. The vacant position she left has not yet been filled. Photo courtesy of FAU

Until a new advocate can be hired, students are being directed to Palm Beach County Victim Services. The organization has worked alongside FAU for “many years,” a partnership that started with the establishment of the Sexual Assault Response Team. This brought together anyone in Palm Beach County who was in charge of helping victims of sexual assault and put them into a partnership, organization director Nicole Bishop said.

The county victim services group has been operating for over 45 years, and was “one of the very first fully functional victim services in the country,” Bishop added. “We are the certified rape crisis center … and work hand in hand with other advocates throughout the county, at local colleges and universities, and even local police departments.”

They also provide free forensic exams, or “rape kits,” to anyone who needs one. The exam can “look for injuries, or evidence, but can also help with any … medication to prevent HIV, or any other STDs that might be contracted during an assault,” Bishop said.

Check back with the University Press for updates.

Farhan Chowdhury is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].

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