Name: Samantha Ashdown
Occupation: Crime victim advocate for Liberty and Long counties.
Background and family: Ashdown was born in Sasebo, Japan, and raised by her military family. She moved to Hinesville in 1981 and said this is where her family is so she calls it home. Ashdown and her husband, Liberty County Fire Coordinator James Ashdown, are coming up to their 14th wedding anniversary next month. Together they are raising five boys: J.R., 22, Shane, 21, Christopher, 20, Zachary, 17, and Brandon, 15.
What does your job entail? As a crime victim advocate, Ashdown deals directly with crime victims and provides information about their specific cases, such as what will happen after a police report is written and what will happen when a case goes to court. She gives victims information on available community resources, such as counseling, court accompaniment, financial compensation and crime prevention.
When did you begin your career? Ashdown started as an advocate about a year and a half ago. She said her previous career in customer service supplied her with the experience she needs to deal with people, specifically ironing out difficult situations or dealing with extrordinary circumstances.
What’s the best part of your job? Ashdown is happy she has the opportunity to meet and help people. She said the staff is like a big family and often supports each other through difficult times.
What’s the most difficult part of your job? “The hardest thing about my job is that there are some cases that you get very involved in,” Ashdown said. “You meet or talk with the victims on a weekly basis, go through the processes with them, relive hardships or struggles and when the case is over, they tend to eventually move on. While that’s good, sometimes it’s like losing a friend. There are times when the cases turn out well for the victim but there are times when there is no happy ending and those situations tend to touch your emotions and pull at your heart.”
Do you have any hobbies? Off duty, Ashdown’s favorite pastimes are hanging out with her kids and family and working out at the YMCA.
Do you have any advice for people who are considering going into your field? “My advice to anyone interested in this type of career is to make sure they have the ability to be compassionate yet strong,”Ashdown said. “They should also have a strong network of people they can rely on to help them decompress.”
Ashdown said she has a strong support system of family and friends who understand the stress of her career and are always there to get her throught the ups and downs.