The IACP Victim Services Committee and LogIn, Inc. honor law enforcement agencies that have demonstrated exemplary efforts in providing innovative service to victims of crime. The Excellence in Victim Services Award recognizes agencies, based on size, that utilize best practices such as effective partnerships, training methods, and performance monitoring tools which place victims at the center of their problem-solving efforts.
This year’s winners were recognized today at the 2015 Excellence in Victim Services Award Luncheon, held at The Signature Room at the 95th in Chicago, Illinois.
The winner of the larger agency category was Abu Dhabi Police, United Arab Emirates. The Social Support Centres were formed as a Department within Abu Dhabi Police following attendance at a number of international events addressing the subject of community based and service orientated policing. A strategy produced in 2008 sought to address the issue of crime victims and other incidents such as road traffic accidents and community problems. The centres provide services including crime victim support, counseling, rehabilitation, intervention in parental dispute, interface with child victims and victims of domestic violence, follow up on missing children and minors, blackmailing and harassment, mediation in cases involving minors in conflict with the law, bullying in schools and in communities. The Department now operates three separate sites as well as a secure victim shelter, and operates on principles that aim to guarantee freedom, just and fair law enforcement, security, and good conditions for life.
The medium agency winner was Irving Police Department, Texas. The Irving Police Department (IPD) formed the Victim Services Unit in 2001. At that time, the IPD recognized that for the unit to be effective at meeting the needs of crime victims, the city would need to establish a coordinated community response to serve crime victims. In 2002, the IPD opened the doors of the Irving Family Advocacy Center, a facility that sought to create an environment to serve victims of violent crime with dignity and respect. At the time of the unit’s inception, the focus was primarily on victims of domestic violence however, as victims were served it was realized that increased staffing levels were needed to serve the client population. The Victim Services Unit contacts victims of violent crime to provide crisis counseling, safety planning, risk assessment, criminal justice and victim rights information, VINE, Crime Victims’ Compensation assistance, information and referrals.
The Office of the Fayette County Sheriff, Kentucky, was the small agency winner. Fervently working to address the unmet needs of victims, Sheriff Witt was prompted to organize change for victims after the tragic domestic violence murder of Amanda Ross in 2009. In 2010, Sheriff Witt and community partners identified gaps in connectivity and determined that the community lacked a centralized point where victims could go for help, referrals, and to get connected to resources. In response to the void of this critical need, the Office of Sheriff launched a 24-hour, all-encompassing resource center. The division has grown over the years to include the services of certified Domestic Violence Deputy Sheriffs, a certified Safety Planning Officer, victim advocates, and additional civilian support staff and in 2012, the doors of Amanda’s Center were opened. Prior to the Center, victims had to run a gauntlet to secure protection from their batterer. Now, Amanda’s Center brings safety and resources to the victim in her time of need and provides vitally important wrap around services that are necessary in helping any victim successfully and safely escape a violent situation.
Honorary mentions included Fort Worth Police Department, Texas, with their Victim Assistance Section; Chandler Police Department, Arizona, with Chandler Victim Services Unit; and Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department, Virginia, with the VCUPD Victim/Witness Program.
View the winning applications in IACP Net’s Main e-Library: