HILLIARD, Ohio (WCMH) – A central Ohio suburb is taking a major step in advocating for victims of crimes in their community.

The city of Hilliard recently hired a full-time victim advocate.

That new advocate, Cynthia Newsome, said her role is to help victims of crimes like domestic violence or assault navigate the legal system, establish safety plans, explore their rights, and discuss available protection opportunities.

Previously, Hilliard utilized Newsome on a contract basis, but the city prosecutor said the decision to hire for the position in a full-time capacity was a no-brainer, a way to support Hilliard residents in their most vulnerable moments.

“It builds that lasting trust with them,” said Hilliard prosecutor Dawn Steele. “She’ll tell you she has people long after their case is resolved, they’ll reach out to her and she’ll provide some level of support and steer them in the right direction of what they need at that moment.”

“I love the law, I love all the rules and everything, and the position’s kind of a little hybrid of social work and legal,” Newsome said.

Newsome will continue to serve in a contract role with eight other communities across central Ohio.