Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Nearly a month has passed since missing Columbia teen Gabbiee Swainson was last seen.
Deputies, FBI agents and family members have led searches for the 15-year-old across Richland and Kershaw Counties, but there is still no sign of the girl.
Sheriff Leon Lott has said Gabbiee's mother Elvia Swainson is trying to remain strong right now, but has a victim advocate helping her and the family.
Victim advocates help families dealing with various situations like kidnappings, murders and assaults and they stick with them throughout the entire process.
"When people become victims of crime, they're immediately knocked into a world that they have never experienced, so victim advocates are really their guide to navigate that new world," said Veronica Swain Kunz, CEO of the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network.
No matter the crime, victims in the Palmetto State have someone to turn to, Kunz says from the report of a crime advocates in law enforcement are there to help families during a difficult time.
"We all know that criminals have rights, well victims have legal rights as well and victim advocates are there to tell them what their rights are and how to make sure that they get them," she said.
Advocates are found in various departments throughout the state, from law enforcement agencies to solicitors offices, courts and the department of corrections.
They let families know about things like arrests in cases, dates and times of court proceedings, and if a person is being transferred or released from jail.
"It's the advocates job in each stage of the of the criminal justice process, where ever the criminal goes, there's an advocate there on staff to help them as well," said Kunz.
Advocates are thoroughly trained, and work with those affected by crimes to make sure they have what they need to begin to move on.
"It can hook them up with a number of organizations that can provide all sorts of various resources like food, clothing, medicine, crime scene clean up, transportation to a safe place shelter if they need it, so victim advocates are really essential to helping crime victims get through the most difficult days of their lives," said Kunz.