This publication, part of a series seeking to enhance law enforcement-based victim services and the field of victim advocacy, discusses the integration of victim services into law enforcement agencies.
Victim-centered responses and services are vital to the safety, stability, and healing of crime victims, as their use can ultimately reduce and prevent future victimization. Law enforcement–based victim services personnel are critical to ensuring that victims receive timely services and support. To effectively meet victims’ needs, incorporating victim services personnel into a law enforcement agency requires intentional and strategic planning. Agencies should take time to develop a plan that aligns with the mission and vision of the agency and supports victim services sustainability. Integrating law enforcement–based victim services can help promote victim-centered, trauma-informed practices throughout the agency and the community it serves, ultimately leading to enhanced public safety and community trust. In 2018, to support the development of law enforcement–based victim services in the United States, to strengthen their capacity, and to support partnerships with community-based programs, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) launched the Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services & Technical Assistance Program (LEV Program). Providing training and technical assistance for the LEV Program, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) aims to enhance the capacity of law enforcement–based victim services by providing guidance on promising practices and policies to support victims’ access to their legal rights and the services and responses they need. This publication series seeks to enhance law enforcement–based victim services as well as the overall field of victim advocacy. Community-based advocates reading these publications may need to account for statutory, legislative, and policy differences.