LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - Victims of domestic violence or sexual assault will likely never feel safe while their perpetrator is out free, and that's why they must rely on tools to make sure they stay out of harm's way.
The violent death of a woman in the hands of her ex-boyfriend in the early 90’s led to the development of a tool that will, to some degree, ease the minds of victims.
So far this tool has helped over 25 million victims with vital information on their perpetrators jail and court status.
"After the victim has reached out for help is when they're more vulnerable."
When a victim’s perpetrator is behind bars, there is a small window of time that they have to make some tough decisions, like where to go or stay.
In order to stay one step ahead of their perpetrator, locally victims can use a tool called the “Victim Information and Notification Everyday,” or VINE, that provides them information on protective order statuses, court case information, and the criminals release from custody or transfer.
This is something a local shelter, Casa de Misericordia, recommends to the individuals who pass through their doors.
“Just the fact that the survivor knows where her perpetrator is, that he's not in custody, that's he's free and he's out there makes her more vigilant of what's happening to her, and that's a plus that they don't lower their guard,” said Nena Arambula. “That they don't expose themselves in situations where they can be in danger."
Webb County has provided this to victims for a while, but according to Precinct One Commissioner and former Sheriff Deputy Jesse Gonzalez, he's seen firsthand just how beneficial this tool is for the victims.
"They were just glad to get that call, give them that wakeup call that this person’s going to be bonded out, you need to be careful. By that time hopefully there's already a protective order in place that person cannot get close if not they will get arrested again."
Gonzalez says it's the county's and law enforcement priority to always keep the victims safe.
The Victim Information and Notification Everyday is available to provide services over the phone, online, or through the app.
For more information on the VINE system, you can visit the ‘extras’ tab here.