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Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services: Key Considerations

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2023
29 pages

This report by the International Association of Chiefs of Police is intended to guide law enforcement agencies in establishing or improving direct services to victims within law enforcement public safety responsibilities.


This report provides guidance in determining crime victims' rights applicable to a law enforcement agency's jurisdiction, such as any state constitutional amendment related to victims'rights. This should be followed by an assessment of the agency's current efforts to comply with crime victim's rights in the agency's policies and procedures. Another issue addressed in this report is how to maintain the police role of objective fact-finder while conducting unbiased investigations of reported criminal activity. Conversely, victim services personnel focus on advocating for the rights and needs of victims regardless of the outcome of investigative processes. Even though many victims do not experience the criminal justice resolution of their reported crimes, it is important to ensure access to advocacy and services for victims at every stage of the criminal justice process. This involves the promotion of a sense of fairness by establishing and maintaining unbiased resource allocation and transparency regarding how case-processing decisions are made. This may prove to be the only form of justice victims receive when a case is not resolved through arrest, prosecution, and conviction. Victims can still have victimization harms and needs net with police help; therefore, it is important that police be aware of the various needs of crime victims and provide services directly or through appropriate referrals. This can be facilitated by incorporating victim services personnel into agency operations. This report discusses victim-service personnel hiring, reporting structure, supervision practices, span of responsibility, and ethical approaches. Documentation practices are also discussed in support of victim services, along with partnerships for victim services.

Date Published: May 1, 2023