Yakima Prosecutor's Office Is There When You Need It The Most - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Prosecutor's Office Is There When You Need It The Most

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The Witness Assistance Unit in Yakima deals with about 1000 active criminal cases at a time, ranging from murders to robberies, and their focus is on the people hurt the most. The Witness Assistance Unit in Yakima deals with about 1000 active criminal cases at a time, ranging from murders to robberies, and their focus is on the people hurt the most.

YAKIMA, WA -- "You really can't believe what you're hearing you're like "no way...no way.  This is not true.  This is something you hear on TV."

That is how Rob Allen and his family felt when his sister was beaten to death, her body left in an alley in downtown Yakima back in 2009.

"I had received a phone call at work from my mother and came home and found out all the details," Allen said.

But as he sat through hours of court hearings, he soon realized his family was not alone on their journey.

"There's a lot of people out there that are hurt by crime and the criminal justice process doesn't really make things too much easier on them in itself," said Aaron Buchanan, who is the manager of the Witness Services Unit at the Yakima County Prosecutor's Office.

Prosecutor's offices across the state are helping people, like Rob and his family, get through traumatic crimes.

"They at least try to minimize the trauma that can happen with the criminal justice system for a victim, and get them some services to guide them through it," Buchanan said.

Services like medical costs, counseling, and covering funeral expenses.

The prosecutor's office often partners with community organizations to provide the help.

"It can provide people with a lot of relief once the person has been found guilty," Buchanan said.

The Witness Assistance Unit in Yakima deals with about 1000 active criminal cases at a time, ranging from murders to robberies, and their focus is on the people hurt the most.

"It's like a security blanket.  You feel like everything is going to be OK," Allen said.

And when someone leaves the witness stand, and exits the courtroom, it doesn't end there.  The victim witness unit provides services to those who still need them.

"We are informed, they do keep us informed of everything thing that goes on with him, which is very nice too," Allen said.

He also said the process was easy, and in the end, it all worked out better than his family ever hoped.

"All the hard work and the long hours that these people put in on this case and it showed at the end.  They left no stone unturned," Allen said.

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