Promising Practices in Law Enforcement Victim Support

Promising Practices in Law Enforcement Victim Support

Victim-centered, trauma-informed approaches to crime can support victim recovery and engagement with the criminal justice system. These approaches promote enhanced victim and community safety while helping law enforcement solve and prevent crime. Law enforcement agencies across the country are prioritizing victims’ early engagement and access to information and supportive services. This project seeks to identify promising practices to promote wide adaptation and institutionalization.

Through this project, case studies of up to 16 law enforcement agencies will document promising practices and lessons learned around effective victim response. A diverse array of agencies will be included – both those with and without agency-based victim services personnel. The case studies will address how victim-centered, trauma-informed practices are implemented and sustained as part of overall operating philosophy and culture.

Case Studies

Law enforcement agencies can contribute to field advancement by helping document successes and challenges for victim-centered, trauma-informed approaches. IACP and RTI will jointly conduct comprehensive case studies through virtual interviews and review of supporting material for agency practices. These case studies will include information about:

  • Victims’ rights education and implementation 
  • Victim-centered, trauma-informed response across all ranks and disciplines 
  • Challenges to implementing law enforcement-based victim services
  • Funding support for victim-centered, trauma-informed approaches

For identified law enforcement agencies with agency-based victim services personnel, the case studies will include additional information about:

  • Advocacy parameters 
  • Documentation practices
  • Partnerships 
  • Agency incorporation of victim services personnel

Participating agencies receive site-specific recommendations developed by subject matter experts aimed at enhancing and sustaining victim-centered, trauma-informed approaches. Three agencies demonstrating effective incorporation of practices across all ranks and disciplines will receive on-site visits for enhanced data collection and targeted technical assistance.

Participating agencies include:

Chandler Police Department Gainesville Police Department Redlands Police Department
Chattanooga Police Department Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Saginaw Police Department
DeWitt Police Department Miami-Dade Police Department University of Utah Department of Public Safety
Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office Pennington County Sheriff's Office Wheeling Police Department
Fairfax County Police Department Raleigh Police Department Wisconsin Department of Justice

Project Partners

Related Projects

Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims (ELERV)

The Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims (ELERV) Strategy introduces federal, state, local, campus, and tribal law enforcement leaders to the concepts and benefits of enhancing their response to victims of all crimes. It also illustrates how every person in a law enforcement agency has a role in effective victim response. Due to the customizable nature of the ELERV Strategy, agencies can easily start small and build on their efforts over time.

Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services (LEV)

The IACP is proud to serve as the training and technical assistance provider for the Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services and Technical Assistance Program (LEV Program). Sponsored by the Office for Victims of Crime, this project seeks to establish or enhance victim services programs in criminal justice agencies in order to couple law enforcement-based services with community-based program partnerships to serve the broader needs and rights of all crime victims.

Law Enforcement’s Role in Victim Compensation

Law enforcement officers, often the first and possibly the only professionals to speak to victims following a crime, are a vital component in providing justice, information, and services to crime victims. Law enforcement provides a critical connection between the justice system and victim support services, ensuring that victims know about all available resources. IACP has created resources which include training videos for first responders, investigators, and executive leadership; companion guides to accompany each video and guide discussions; tip cards for law enforcement; and more.

Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI)

The IACP is proud to serve as a partner to RTI International on the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI). This initiative is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and is aimed at supporting the jurisdictional reform of approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs). As a project partner, the IACP lends an important voice towards identifying and developing practices, procedures, and training to enhance victim-centered approaches to sexual assault.

Trauma Informed Sexual Assault Investigation Training 

The Trauma Informed Sexual Assault Investigation Training provides law enforcement and multi-disciplinary community partners with information on the neurobiology of trauma and investigative strategies to respond to sexual assault crimes in a victim centered, trauma informed manner.

Vicarious Trauma Response Initiative (VTRI)

Individuals responsible for responding to and addressing the needs of crime victims in various professional capacities are impacted by both single incident and chronic trauma exposure. Through interdisciplinary, cross-agency community collaborations, the VTRI initiative seeks to ensure that all such providers and organizations understand the impact of vicarious trauma and benefit from workplaces and communities of practice that promote their health, wellbeing, and their resilience.

This project was supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number 2020CKWXK051 awarded to the International Association of Chiefs of Police by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The opinions contain herein are those of the author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific individuals, agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s), contributors, or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues. The Internet references cited in this publication were valid as of the date of this publication. Given that URLs and websites are in constant flux, neither the author(s) nor the COPS Office can vouch for their current validity.
 

For additional information, contact Amy Durall at durall@theiacp.org or (703) 647-7234.

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