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First Response to Victims of Crime: A Guidebook for Law Enforcement Officers

NCJ Number
Timothy O. Woods J.D.
Date Published
April 2008
97 pages
This guidebook consolidates and updates previous information specific to law enforcement and their response to victims of crime with additional information on law enforcement's response to immigrant victims, victims with a disability affecting physical mobility, victims of human trafficking, and victims of mass casualty crimes.
The way people cope as victims of crime depends largely on their experiences and on how others treat them immediately after the crime. As a law enforcement officer, who is usually the first official to interact with victims, he or she is in a unique position to help victims cope with the immediate trauma of the crime, as well as help them regain a sense of security and control over their lives. This guidebook supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime offers useful resources in a variety of law enforcement training settings, roll calls, and recertification programs. Assistance from law enforcement makes a significant difference for victims. An introductory section contains general guidelines and tips, and individual sections include information on responding to victims of particular crimes and to specific populations of victims. Additionally, the guidebook includes a section on Federal laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities and a directory of resources, including organizations representing the interests of the victim populations addressed in the guidebook. The guidebook attempts to highlight the most salient issues involved for victims of certain crimes and for certain populations of victims, such as victims with mental illness, victims who are deaf or hard of hearing, victims of domestic violence, victims of human trafficking, and victims of sexual assault. A directory of National Service Providers is provided. 50 endnotes