September-October 2013

A victim assistance alphabet soup

Laura L. Flores

Victim Assistance Coordinator in Tarrant County

Validate the victim’s concerns.
Implement policies and procedures to assist victims.
Communicate with your victims and relay information to prosecutors so everyone is on the same page.
Thoughtfulness goes a long way. Be thoughtful in your actions.
Integrity. Walk with the integrity, sincerity, and a good moral compass that comes with the job.
Motivate yourself to take care of your health and well-being through exercise and rest. A well-balanced victim assistance coordinator is an effective one.

Assure the victim that coming forward and testifying is the right thing to do.
Support victims, especially during trial. If time allows, sit in the courtroom with him or her. Seeing a friendly face can calm the victim down.
Safety is one of our primary concerns. Make sure there is a secure and safe place where victims can go before and after testifying in trial.
Inspire victims to set goals.
Simplify the criminal justice process with the victim. Not everybody knows going in what to expect. Take the time to explain. They will appreciate it if you talk on their level.
Training. Always find time to seek training in your community or online that will help you learn new ways and techniques in helping victims.
Active. Play an active role in the victim’s case. Attend meetings and be there for the victim when in trial. They will forever be grateful.
Navigate the victim through this adversarial and confusing system.
Compassion. Show compassion to victims. They did not ask to be victims.
Edify one another so you will be encouraged to do the same.