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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

145 N Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20530

July 2020 | Volume 13 | Issue 7

Victim-centered responses and services are vital to the safety, stability, and healing of crime victims, as their use ultimately reduces and prevents future victimization.1 While law enforcement agencies address victim needs in a variety of ways, the lack of time, resources, and expertise needed can stall the efforts to develop and adopt victim-centered approaches to establish or expand victim services units. Based on the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) Survey, between 2003 and 2013 the number of local law enforcement agencies employing 100 or more sworn personnel that have a full-time victim services unit only increased slightly—from 33 percent to 36 percent.2 While this increase demonstrates advancement in the field of law enforcement-based victim services, it also demonstrates the need for continued investment in program development and growth.

Article ImageIn 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) funded the Law Enforcement– Based Victim Services and Technical Assistance Program (LEV Program). The goal of the LEV Program is to increase the number of victim services programs in state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies and expand partnerships with community-based programs to serve the broader needs and rights of all crime victims. OVC has funded a total of 52 state, local, and tribal law enforcement jurisdictions as LEV Program grantees to date. These agencies represent police departments, campus police, and sheriff’s offices and include a blend of small, mid-sized, and large jurisdictions spread across the United States. With additional sites being funded by OVC in FY 2020, more than 70 law enforcement agencies across the country will be actively working to improve law enforcement–based victim services.

Article ImageThe International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is proud to serve as the dedicated training and technical assistance (TTA) provider for the LEV Program. The IACP provides TTA through a multifaceted approach, using

  • virtual trainings geared towards both executive leadership and program staff;
  • publication resource series;
  • in-person trainings through regional meetings and site visits.

While all LEV sites receive support and technical assistance tailored to meet their needs, OVC and IACP prioritize the availability of these resources to the larger law enforcement field. To diminish the gap of resources intended specifically for the development and enhancement of law enforcement–based victim services, IACP ensures LEV resources are accessible through the LEV website and other channels.

The LEV publication series include topic-specific resources and template packages. The topic-specific resource series discusses important issues related to improving law enforcement–based victim services. This series is intended to promote conversation and facilitate decision-making related to victim services within each agency. The template package series provides practical sample policies and forms that law enforcement agencies can readily update to fit their own unique needs.

Four publications are currently available, including the following:

Future publications are in development to expand on content provided through virtual trainings and existing publications. The future publications will be focused on the following topics:

  • Topic-specific resource series
    • Advocacy Parameters – What crime types are served? Where is the victim services unit placed in the agency structure? Who supervises the victim services personnel?
    • Documentation – How is documentation handled? Have protocols been established for Brady disclosure, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and the Freedom of Information Act?
    • Partnerships – Does cross-training occur with victim services personnel and other agency personnel? Are formal agreements established with community agencies?
    • Incorporating Victim Services into the Agency – Have victim services positions been incorporated into the department budget? Have victim services personnel been incorporated into department committees?
  • Template package series
    • Template Package III – Sample topic-specific pamphlets to support service provision to victims.
    • Template Package IV – Sample forms and practices related to the use of student interns and volunteers.
    • Template Package V – Sample training material to support internal and external training on victim services topics.
    • Template Package VI – Provides a template for comprehensive victim services program assessment.

Law enforcement agencies interested in improving victim services within their agencies are encouraged to visit the LEV Program web page to find the most current publications, webinars, and other tools.

Emily Burton-Blank and Ariel Ervin
Co-Program Directors, LEV Program
International Association of Chiefs of Police

Sharron Fletcher
Office for Victims of Crime

1. Brian A. Reaves, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Police Response to Domestic Violence, 2006–2015. NCJ 250180, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs; 2017.
Campbell, Rebecca. 2006. “Rape Survivors’ Experiences With the Legal and Medical Systems: Do Rape Victim Advocates Make a Difference?” Violence Against Women 12 (1): 1-16. doi:10.1177/1077801205277539.

2. Brian A. Reaves, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Local Police Departments, 2013: Personnel, Policies, and Practices. NCJ 248677, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs; 2015.

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