Earlier this month the Burnett County District Attorney’s office got a new victim/witness coordinator. She has experience working with domestic abuse and sexual assault victims in Burnett County.
Vickie Bauer was hired in mid-April and spoke with the Sentinel after being on the job for four weeks. Her main role is assisting the DA’s office with working with victims or witnesses in cases.
Bauer is a Webster high school graduate. Outside of the office, she has been involved in wildlife rehabilitation for over 20 years and has enjoyed beekeeping over the last three years. She is an avid hiker, kayaker and horseback rider among many other outdoor activities.
Before being hired to work in the DA’s office she worked for the Community Referral Agency in Burnett County for over four years. Bauer was a domestic abuse and sexual assault legal advocate.
Bauer has trained all over the state for this position and her former position at Community Referral. Most of her training comes from sessions held by End Violence, Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and the Department of Justice.
Most of her training is in dealing with victims and witnesses to better assist them in the legal processes of the criminal justice system.
“I also worked with the St. Croix Tribal Police Department as a dispatcher for 10 years before that,” Bauer added.
She said it is very different answering those phone calls compared to her current job.
“We are working on sensitive cases all the time,” Bauer explained. “Overall in Burnett County we are here to help the victims. My job is to be the personal contact with these people and help understand the victim and their concerns.”
Bauer works with people from the beginning all the way through plea hearings and sentencing. She works closely with DA Joe Schieffer to make sure the victims or witnesses are heard throughout the process.
“I make personal contact with the person first, whether they are a witness or a victim,” Bauer said. “I try and make an in-person visit first so it’s not just a phone call or email.”
Then Bauer sends out a standard victim/witness packet that explains the process and includes dates. For some cases, there is a lot of information and the DA’s office needs to get as much information as possible from a witness or victim.
“Our office needs that information and I help with getting that information from the victim or witness in any given case,” Bauer said.
“For victims, we go over what they would like to see happen with the case and then I go over the details of the case with the DA,” Bauer said. “I try to understand what the victim is hoping the outcome will be. We discuss what they would like the outcome to be.”
Bauer also volunteers a lot when not working in the DA’s office, she gets a similar satisfaction from volunteering as she gets from her job.
“When you’re helping someone that is struggling I will always do my best to help,” Bauer said. “Helping people has always given me a good feeling.”