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St. Louis Neighborhood Victim Support Volunteer Program

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 ST. LOUIS , MISSOURI (KTVI)-Neighborhood Victim Support is a new concept for serving the communities in which we live. Primary victim service agencies in St. Louis and across the state have focused on specific areas of victimization (domestic violence,
child abuse, sexual assault, and homicide). Often, the needs of victims of property crime and other types of crimes against persons have received limited attention based upon local interest and local, state or non-profit organization support.
When creating a model program, as developed in Lafayette Square, and incorporating best practices in victim assistance into the model,there are several steps to be taken to assure that victims receive the assistance they deserve from advocates and volunteers dedicated to meet that need. This model is based upon the concept of early intervention support following the crime victim’s contact with first responders. Victims of crime are offered immediate response to the crisis and stress they experience in the
aftermath of the crime.
The overall goal of a Model Victim Assistance Progr am is to improve the treatment of all victims of crime by providing victims with the assistance and services necessary to speed their recovery from the criminal act, and to support and aid them as move through the criminal justice process (Young, 1993). While not all victims will navigate the court process, they will encounter aspects of the criminal justice system when they
report the crime. This goal extends to the work that will be done by the Neighborhood Victim Support Volunteer Program.
To assure the success of the program, the following recommendations/requirements are:
1. Collaborate with and create a partnership with the SLMPD with a commitment to an outreach project that involves assigning an offi
cer to work specifically with the neighborhood and the sharing of incident report information
2. Identify the needs of your neighborhood by reviewing the types of crime
occurring there.
3. Establish leadership (individual or core team) for the program within the Public Safety goals for your neighborhood organization.
4. Visualize the outreach aspects of the program and what will be needed for
contacting victims of crime.
5. Seek individuals who are willing to make a commitment (1-2 years?).
6. Create a screening process that includes a polic e background check.
7. Attend required training on victim trauma (2 hours), criminal justice (2 hours).
8. Develop a referral with the assigned Police Liaison Officer.
9. Plan for case review, debriefing, and additional training suppor

For more information about the program call 622-4373 or email to tofallk@stlouiscao.org Kathleen Tofall, Circuit Attorney’s Victim Services Executive Director