Starting Victim Services
- In addition to paid staff, consider using volunteers to expand the project's capacity to serve victims. Obtain the commitment of agency personnel to work alongside volunteers.
- Think about which activities would be appropriate for volunteers, such as information gathering for needs assessments and evaluations, clerical support, and direct victim assistance.
- Create volunteer job descriptions and applications, commitment and confidentiality agreement forms, training and resource materials, and written protocols, procedures, and forms.
- To recruit and retain volunteers, consider their interests, skills, and willingness to participate in training and supervision and to be subject to background checks. Although it may be challenging to recruit specific types of volunteers, it may be relatively easy to retain them if they are a good fit for the position.
- Recruit volunteers for training sessions and provide training. Allow volunteers to shadow staff or more experienced volunteers after they complete classroom training but before they begin to deliver services on their own. Provide volunteers with routine supervision, continuing education, and opportunities to debrief about individual cases as needed.
- Periodically recruit for volunteers, as some turnover in the volunteer pool is likely. In addition, the law enforcement agency may occasionally want to expand the program's volunteer component.