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Establishing Victim Services Within a Law Enforcement Agency: The Austin Experience

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2001
12 pages
Publication Series
This bulletin discusses the Austin, Texas, Police Department's Victim Services Division.
In its 20 years of existence, the Austin program has grown to include 35 full- or part-time staff and 300 volunteers. The Victim Services Division sees approximately 14,000 victims or witnesses a year, with an average of two contacts per victim. The Division has units responsible for Crisis Response, Major Crimes, Child and Family Violence Protection, and a District Representative Unit, which addresses community needs. In addition, an intake specialist takes care of walk-ins and cases that do not fit neatly into these four units. Establishing a victim assistance program within a law enforcement agency requires an understanding of the law enforcement culture and being able to fit in, becoming an essential part of the agency, developing staff, and preventing staff burnout. It is important to ensure support from the top, to have the Victim Services element report to a high-level supervisor, and to make victim services part of police general orders. It is also important for the Victim Services organization to develop and track measurable goals and keep good statistics. Resources

Date Published: March 1, 2001