Violent Crime Victim Services provides direct services to survivors of homicide victims.
Homicide has a catastrophic impact and prolonged critical emotional danger for the immediate family of the victim. They must spend several painful years in recovery and reconstructing of their lives. There is also a trickle-down effect to the extended family, friends of the family, and to the neighborhood where the homicide took place. It affects co-workers, teachers, classmates, and the entire community.
The activities of VCVS are important because they serve this underserved population of victims of violent crime. VCVS is the only community based homicide victim advocacy organization that reaches Pierce County and south Puget Sound cities.
Crisis Intervention: A crisis intervention takes place at either the client's home or VCVS office. All family members and friends of the victim are invited to attend. This is a time for family and friends to vent their feelings, frustrations, sadness, and anger about the crime that has been committed. An overview of the judicial system, victim's rights, and bereavement process is given. The client's questions and special needs are addressed. Crime Victims Compensation paperwork is explained and given when applicable.
Judicial Proceedings: Clients are advised of the basic judicial process and the role that they will play. VCVS advocates will attend all judicial proceedings with the client, as well as work with the prosecuting attorney's victim/witness assistance program. VCVS will assist clients during the trial and sentencing, and assist victims in preparing impact statements for the court.
Support Group: Clients are offered monthly support groups. Support groups provide a safe place for victim/survivors to discuss any problems or concerns they are having as a result of the crime. Monthly topics are presented to the group by the facilitator. Support groups offer clients a place to learn about bereavement and the coping skills they will need to recover from the trauma. Clients must wait 60-90 days before entering the group.
Advocacy Counseling: Clients may contact VCVS advocates for advocacy counseling at any time. Advocates are available for in-office sessions or telephone consultations. Clients understand that advocates are not counselors, but are available to answer questions and provide comfort during low points in the recovery process.
Referrals: Types of referrals include; therapists, clergy, Crime Victims Compensation (CVC), food banks, domestic violence programs, and sexual assault programs.
Community Education: VCVS staff is available for speaking engagements. Previous engagements include; television shows, prisons, colleges, schools, and military bases. VCVS provides training seminars on topics such as; Homicide Advocacy, PTSD, The Impact of Homicide on the Family, and Grief and Trauma.