The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department is committed to the development, implementation, and continuation of victim services. We will achieve this goal by reducing the psychological shock and trauma a survivor of crime suffers by lending emotional and useful support and referrals immediately at the scene or shortly thereafter. Our advocacy will continue by assisting the victims with the legal process and applying for compensation, if applicable.
What is Victim Assistance?
Victim Assistance is a rapidly expanding profession that seeks to aid the victims and survivors of crime with emotional support, practical aid and advocacy.
The Victim Services Program in the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department was established in 1999. The goals of the program are basically two-fold:
- Reduce the psychological shock and trauma a survivor of crime can suffer by lending emotional and practical support immediately at the crisis scene or shortly thereafter. Many studies have shown that if a victim/survivor receives such help at the time of - or shortly after - the crisis, psychological trauma is greatly reduced or eliminated, thus speeding recovery and the re-establishment of a normal life.
- Help the survivor after the initial crisis with emotional support, advocacy, referral to local social service agencies, and (where possible) information on such things as the status of the investigator; the status of the accused (arrested, released, conditions of release); the court system and their rights within it; safety, security, and much more.
Crime Related Trauma
Victims of crime often suffer a broad range of psychological and social injuries that persist long after their physical wounds have healed. Intense feelings of anger, fear, isolation, low self-esteem, helplessness, and depression are common reactions. Victimization can shatter the most basic assumptions that allow people to function normally in their daily lives.
The emotional damage and social isolation caused by victimization can be compounded by a lack of support and even stigmatization by friends, family, and social institutions, producing a second wound for victims.
Crime-related psychological trauma impairs the ability and willingness of many victims to cooperate with the criminal or juvenile justice system. At every key stage of the justice process - from contemplating making a report to police to attending a parole hearing, interacting with the system is stressful for victims and often exacerbates their trauma. When victims do not report crimes to police out of fear or are afraid to testify, it is extremely difficult for the justice system to accomplish its mission.
Victim Assistance Unit Offers:
- Help filing for Crime Compensation
- Crisis Intervention and counseling
- Referrals to social/community services
- Referrals to shelters (homeless and domestic violence)
- Referrals for therapeutic and psychiatric help
- Referrals for medical services
- Accompaniment by advocate to hearings
- Answers about the legal process and case status
Crisis Intervention Services:
Crisis Intervention refers to the immediate response to victims in the aftermath of a crime or traumatic event. The goals of crisis intervention are to reassure victims of their immediate safety and security, allow them an opportunity to express their reactions, assist them in reducing their immediate emotional distress, and provide them with information and assistance on what they can expect to happen next in their lives.
Post trauma counseling describes interventions that provide longer term support to victims to help them better understand the psychological effects they are dealing with. Counseling also helps victims develop skills and social or spiritual support to begin to cope with the victimization.