Our Victim Assistance Unit continues to quietly work helping those affected by violent crimes. Since they began operations five months ago, they have reached out to 1,058 victims of aggravated assault or robbery.
The detectives assigned to the unit have offered the victims crisis intervention, criminal justice information and referrals to community services for needs directly resulting from the crime such as shelter, food, clothing, grief and trauma counseling. By far, the most requested service from these victims has been trauma counseling.
While they survived the crimes committed against them, many of these victims are left with severe emotional (as well as physical) scars. These can manifest into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, panic attacks, sleeplessness and more. Trauma counseling is a very specialized discipline that helps victims overcome this fearsome thing that has happened to them.
We have long offered these referral services to the loved ones of homicide victims and domestic violence victims. But just in the last few months, we have expanded that to victims of aggravated assault and robbery.
We hope this outreach encourages trust of law enforcement and prevents retaliation by encouraging victims to work within the criminal justice system. For too long, too many of these victims chose not to cooperate with investigation or prosecution of their case because they wanted to seek some form of justice themselves. But anecdotally, we’re seeing cooperation increase. One of our Victim Assistance Unit detectives recently built a solid rapport with a woman who said she changed her mind and would cooperate with the investigation into her case. I expect to see more and more of this in the future.
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