IACP Leadership in Victim Services Award

IACP Leadership in Victim Services Award

The IACP Leadership in Victim Services Award recognizes law enforcement agencies that demonstrate excellence in providing innovative service to crime victims by successfully integrating current best practices of enhanced victim response into all facets of their organizations.

Applications are now closed

The 2024 award nomination period is now closed. Complete the 2025 Awards Interest Form to receive information as it becomes available.

The IACP Leadership in Victim Services Award recognizes agencies that best exemplify an organizational philosophy of placing victims at the center of their problem-solving efforts by utilizing effective partnerships, training methods, and performance monitoring tools to enhance law enforcement response to victims of crime. Nominees should demonstrate an innovative approach to meeting the needs of crime victims within their communities and showcase a program that has been fully implemented or is in the process of being fully implemented into their agency.

For further information, contact awards@theIACP.org.

2023 Winners

Small Agency 

Santa Fe College Police Department, Florida

Santa Fe College Police Department, Florida

Santa Fe College’s Victim Specialist Program was built from the ground up by Santa Fe College’s first-ever victim specialist, who shadowed, networked, and consulted with other victim service organizations in the Gainesville community to create an effective and comprehensive victim services program. The VOCA-funded victim specialist position is unique in that it is the first of its kind to be founded at a public college in the state of Florida. Since its inception, the victim specialist’s services have been incorporated into Santa Fe College’s everyday practices, such as presenting in student and staff presentations, resource fairs, and tabling events, as well as a mandatory safety training module that all students are required to complete within their first semester. Positive results of the victim specialist work are clearly visible in that 100% of victims who utilized the specialist’s services have continued their education after victimization. This program continues to thrive as a valuable asset to the Santa Fe College campus community.

Midsize Agency 

Brighton Office of Victim Assistance, Colorado

Brighton Office of Victim Assistance, Colorado

The Brighton Office of Victim Assistance (BOVA) serves the Colorado communities of Brighton, Commerce City, Fort Lupton, and Lochbuie. Through this strong collaboration, BOVA has become a critical part of the response to all Colorado-identified Victim Rights Act (VRA) crimes and personal tragedies that occur within the jurisdictions served. BOVA has an average of 73% on-scene response, providing crisis intervention services and support. In addition, the unit advocates also contact any other victims within 24 hours who did not work with an advocate on the scene. Besides direct victim services, under the BOVA model, advocates attend investigator and community meetings on a regular basis, providing education and a much-needed voice for victims.

Large Agency 

Ajman Police General Headquarters, United Arab Emirates

Ajman Police General Headquarters, United Arab Emirates

As part of a larger initiative called Our Community is our Partner, in 2020, the Ajman Police established a shelter-center with the goal of providing care for victims of domestic and other violent crimes. The center consists of meeting rooms, a reception hall, a café, a waiting hall, and amenities such as a playground as well as volleyball and basketball courts. To provide seamless services to all segments of society, professionals in charge of providing psychological and social care services use a smart headset for direct language interpretation for victims who speak languages other than Arabic and English. The shelter is at the center of the Ajman Police General Headquarters’ operational plan, which includes the protection of victims in all police stations in the Emirate of Ajman and making services of crime victim protection a daily practice in all police stations, at all times.

2022 Winners

Small Agency

Alliance Police Department, Nebraska

Alliance Police Department - Small Agency Award

The Alliance Police Department realized a need for crisis volunteers for their community and officers. With no budget for such a program, the chief created a partnership with the ministerial alliance in the city to provide volunteers. Going one step further, the chief reached out to the IACP and CRITAC for assistance in training officers and volunteers. Today, the program in the city is staffed by volunteers who assist the community at no expense to the department's budget. 

CRITAC sponsored training was provided to all police staff and community members who volunteered to be on-call victim advocates. The department has also developed educational materials to help educate the public on victims' rights. The Alliance Police Department now has a team of VIP's who can be called upon to help victims. Based on the results of a community-wide survey, trust has increased 18% in one year due to the department's practices. 

Midsize Agency

Boulder Police Department, Colorado, and 20th Judicial District Attorney's Office of Colorado

Boulder Police Department - Award Winner

In 2021, the city of boulder suffered a tremendous tragedy involving an active shooter. This event left the entire community reeling. That trauma continues to this day, and the victim advocates from both the Boulder Police Department (BPD) and the District Attorney's (D.A.) Office have worked daily since this incident to provide care for affected individuals. Because of the teamwork between the BPD and the D.A.'s Office, the victims' families had a support system in place within 24 hours of this mass casualty incident. Victims' advocates worked with community members to create the Boulder Strong center where anyone can go to get a variety of mental health services related to his incident. 

Large Agency

Fairfax County Police Department, Virginia

Fairfax county PD - Award Winner

The Fairfax County Police Department Victim Services Division is a complex section managing sensitive and private data, while serving individuals within multiple jurisdictions. Their popular and successful model allows a more immediate response by specialists along with more long-term and regular contact between specialists and the victims and/or witnesses of crimes. 

As the largest county in the DC metropolitan area, the county's racial and ethnic composition is quite diverse. The Victim Services Division recognized the need to improve the quality of public services offered to those who have long suffered in silence from the effects of hate crime and discrimination. They recently obtained grant funding and established the Spanish Speaking Victim Services Specialist Unit. 

The team provides a vast array of comprehensive services to victims and witnesses of crime. Services include crises intervention, counseling referral, court accompaniment, referrals, transportation, property retrieval, housing assistance, help with obtaining protective orders, safety planning, help with funeral planning, help with victim impact statements, and criminal injury compensation requests. 

2021 Winners

Midsize Agency 

Chattanooga Police Department 

The Chattanooga Police Department (CPD) was awarded the Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims (ELERV) Grant. In partnership with the IACP and the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), the multi-year grant effectively started the Victim Services Unit, which contributed to reductions in crime and increases in clearance rates. The CPD began a research relationship with partners at UT-Chattanooga and Southern Adventist University. The goal was to establish baselines, internally with officers and externally with victims/survivors, as well as the community at large. After conducting assessment interviews with community partners and surveying officers, crime victim/survivor groups, focus groups, and multiple other groups, the CPD was able to take the data, along with recommendations from the IACP and the OVC, to implement at the VSU. The VSU welcomes masters-level interns every school year to shape the next generation of law enforcement-based victim advocates. The staff of the VSU regularly engage in department-wide training on a myriad of topics as well as provide insight and overview for policy revisions at the CPD. 

Large Agency 

Korea National Police Agency 

Korea National Police Agency (KNPA) established a victim care system dedicated to protecting and supporting victims to meet their various needs. The victim care system includes Restorative Policing and the Evaluation System of Victimization, providing high-quality victim protection and support throughout the country. The KNPA created a Director for Victim Protection position, which is responsible for developing and implementing the Agency's integrated victim protection policy. Local police agencies introduced Section of Victim Protection to develop victim protection initiatives fit for each of the community's unique situations. The KNPA established this victim support system, applicable from central to local levels, providing high-quality service equally to every community within the nation. Within the victim care system, the KNPA established an evaluation system of victimization, which allows victims to speak for themselves actively during the criminal justice process. The KNPA established the Committee for Victim Protection, with participation by Police Director-Generals and external experts for policy development and implementation review. Victim protection and recovery became a core value in the paradigm shift of "people-centered and responsible police investigation" during the Korean criminal justice reform. 

2020 Winners

Small Agency

The University of Texas at Arlington Police Department

Lemaux

College students who are victims of crime experience not only the complex aftermath of their traumatic experience but also have the added stress of navigating legal processes. Knowing some of the challenges victims face, the University of Texas at Arlington Police Department (UTAPD) Crime Victim Services (CVS) Unit has developed a unique, tailored approach to providing a wide-array of services to a wide-array of victims. Noted for its diverse student population that it serves, the CVS Unit has worked to be more actively engaged in community coalitions and tasks forces that focus on victim services. The CVS Unit has provided significant support and advocacy by implementing 24-hour on-scene response; accompanying victims to any meetings, appointments, and court proceedings; assisting victims in applying for benefits; and providing referrals for counseling and other mental health services. Since implementation, the CVS Unit has seen a 46% increase in the number of victims served. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the CVS Unit has continued to provide materials to its community and is committed to continuing to educate their student population on victims’ rights and services.  

Midsize Agency

Flagler County, Florida, Sheriff's Office

Flagler VIctim

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) started its Domestic Violence Initiative in 2017 with the goal of building a sustainable and system-wide effort to employ best practices when dealing with matters of domestic violence. A cornerstone initiative was the GPS ankle monitoring program meant to track defendants who represent a significant and ongoing threat to victims. Beyond this initiative, the FCSO has designated one full-time detective to solely investigate and follow up on domestic violence cases, provided victim advocates to victims, and engaged in close collaboration with local agencies and organizations. 

Large Agency

Dubai Police, United Arab Emirates

Dubai - VIctim

Starting in 2016, the Dubai Police’s General Department of Human Rights has implemented the “You Are Not Alone” program, which has expanded their operations in human trafficking prevention and victims’ services to the most vulnerable women, children, and laborers in the United Arab Emirates. This initiative utilizes a diverse staff of law enforcement officers and other experts in human trafficking to implement security, legal, financial, social, and mental health services to help victims of human trafficking. The program has an innovative approach using technology and has created several smart apps and a 24/7 hotline for victims. Other components of the program include virtual trainings, collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, community education through cartoons and brochures, more child-friendly interviewing rooms, and MOUs with various partners throughout the criminal justice system to target human trafficking.

2019 Winners

Midsize Agency

Saginaw, Michigan, Police Department 

Saginaw

In 2015, the Saginaw Police Department (SPD) pursued innovative approaches to address staffing issues while simultaneously promoting community strength and support. In order to lay a new foundation to build upon, the SPD began to update departmental policies and develop a strong mission, vision, and values statement. Initial phases of implementing a victim-centered, trauma-focused, Victim Services Unit began. The organizational philosophy of the Saginaw Police Department was beginning to evolve, focusing on victim services and the importance of utilizing effective community partnerships. With the implementation and expansion of the Victim Services Unit, the SPD conducted department-wide training, developed community outreach and awareness programs, developed strong working relationships with various community agencies, and engaged in positive interactions with victims. 

Large Agency

Ajman Police General Headquarters, United Arab Emirates

Ajman

In 2011, the Ajman Police established the Social Support and Victim Service Program. The program was established as a response to the emergence of serious crimes violating human rights, especially regarding victims of crimes such as women, children, families, and victims of human trafficking. The Social Support and Victim Service Program features rapid communication channels between the victim and police. Buildings are designated as safe areas for victims to report incidents and crime cases. Diverse employees are trained and qualified in providing victim care services, classifying cases so that resources are allocated and dispensed appropriately, and conducting home visits to better understand victims’ needs. Since its establishment in 2011, the community’s trust in police has increased from 85.6% to 96.8% and the sense of security has increased from 85.3% to 97.8%.

2018 Winners

​Small Agency

Shakopee, Minnesota, Police Department

Shakopee

Shakopee Police Department, located in Scott County in southeastern Minnesota, has been working to enhance victim services for decades, as illustrated by their longstanding partnership with the local domestic violence program, Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women (SVABW). Three years ago, Shakopee’s Police Chief developed a Victim Services Coordinator (VSC) position fully funded by the city to meet the needs of victims. Since then, the VSC has shifted a lack of awareness of crime victims to a culture of increased awareness, involvement, and compassion. The VSC puts victims in touch with 122 different service providers, while keeping them updated on their case and helping them to execute their rights. This has allowed the department to reach people who normally would not come forward and has improved the quality of care for victims.

Midsize Agency

Colorado State Patrol

Colorado

Colorado State Patrol (CSP) established their Victims Assistance Unit (VAU) in 1991 to provide services to those who suffer from unexpected and violent traffic incidents, including non-Colorado residents visiting the state. The VAU supports victims with on-scene crisis intervention coordinates the return of personal belongings, care for injured pets, lodging for uninjured passengers, transportation for out-of-state family members; and provides many other important services. Additionally, the VAU focuses its attention on serving the needs of victims of human smuggling and trafficking. Working in close partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, funeral homes, counselors, psychologists, social workers, consulates, and several others, the CSP has created an adaptable model for law enforcement agencies.

Large Agency

New York, New York, Police Department

NYPD

New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP), which began in September 2016, is a joint effort between the NYPD and the non-profit organization, Safe Horizon. CVAP places crime victim and domestic violence advocates directly in police precincts throughout New York City to provide victims with a wide array of assistance. The advocates’ primary roles are to help victims navigate the criminal justice process, engage in proactive safety planning, and facilitate access to a range of resources. The CVAP also expands the number of individuals served, while establishing a continuum of care for victims. Placing advocates in every precinct in New York City is a tremendous undertaking, which demonstrates a firm commitment to victim services.

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