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Berkshire District Attorney offers Spanish-language program about victims' rights, criminal justice

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The Berkshire District Attorney's office is offering a Spanish-language program on Saturday in Pittsfield to explain how the criminal justice system works.

The presentation will go over how to request a restraining order, what services are available for victims, what happens in court and how to report a crime.

Victim Witness Advocate Carmen Guevara said sometimes victims are afraid to go to the police.

"Someone might say, you know, it's so easy, just call 9-1-1 and report the crime. For someone who doesn't know English, it takes a little bit more of courage [to] say, 'I want to report this. This has happened to me,'" she said.

Guevara said sometimes people aren't sure if they report a crime whether something could happen to them or their families — or whether someone could retaliate.

She said she wants people to know the police will protect victims.

"They are here to protect them, regardless of their race or their immigration status. If they've been victims of crimes, they also have rights," Guevara said

A Pittsfield police officer, an assistant DA, someone from the Elizabeth Freeman Center, which supports domestic violence survivors and the Berkshire County Kids Place are also presenting on Saturday.

Child care will be provided, along with lunch.

Guevara said the DA's office also plans to offer a virtual presentation and another in-person program in the southern part of Berkshire County.

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Earlier in her career she was NPR’s Midwest editor in Washington, D.C., managing editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub and recorded sound for TV networks on global assignments, including the war in Sarajevo and an interview with Fidel Castro.
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