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Sexual assault victim turns terror into motivation & helps victims everywhere

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RACINE (WITI) -- A sexual assault survivor in Racine is celebrating a victory. The sex offender who tormented her almost ended up becoming her neighbor! But she took action, and made things better for sexual assault victims everywhere.

The Racine woman, whom FOX6 News is not identifying says she was victimized by Michael Fink.

He was committed as a sexually violent person, and spent years behind bars.

Fink was set to be released in January of 2013 -- and was nearly placed in a home around the corner from his victim.

"The immediate emotion was fear. The possibility of running into paths of an attacker was scary," the woman tells FOX6 News.

The woman says the terror quickly turned to motivation.

"I had help making flyers and informing people about the lack of attention that our city does have in placement of sex offenders," the woman said.

The woman got the attention of Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said.

"She felt like she was being victimized a second time. We called for an audit of the Department of Corrections policy of placing sexual offenders back in communities. The Audit Bureau did a tremendous job, thorough job -- analyzed the policies in place, analyzed the type of coordination that goes on between the Department of Corrections and law enforcement and the victim witness coordinator and found some real gaps in the way the policies are set up," Barca said.

As a result of the audit, the state's Department of Health Services says the policy has been rewritten and changes are coming.

DHS will now share all available victim information with other agencies, like the Department of Justice before an offender is released -- and it will take steps to identify and notify a victim when an offender is being released.

Barca says the real test lies in the implementation -- which he says he and all agencies involved are going to track very closely.

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