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4: Working with Victims of Crime

Crime is pervasive and has an adverse impact on millions of people. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2014:

  • 20.7 million people were victimized by violent or property crime.
  • 1.3 million people were injured as a result of a violent crime
  • 68 percent of victims of serious violence experienced socio-emotional problems as a result of their victimization. [17]

For more information on Crime Victimization, visit the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Crime statistics, however, can tell only part of the story. Each person who is victimized by crime has to live with the impact that it has on his or her life; physically, emotionally, financially, socially, and spiritually, all of which may have long-term implications (Figure 2). Furthermore, crime victims are often victimized by a criminal justice system that does not meet their needs.[18] In fact, it is not uncommon for crime victims to feel like they are somehow being blamed for what happened to them and questioned about their behaviors before or after the victimization. They may have had little opportunity to express their feelings about what happened or to share their thoughts about what should happen next. [19] As a PPO, you may be in a position to hear their concerns and take them into account in your supervision efforts.

Impacts of Crime

Not all victims have the same reaction to a crime, or the same needs. It is important to remember that every crime victim is unique, and there are no reactions that are common to all crime victims. A person’s response can vary depending on many things: the person’s life before the crime occurred, the crime itself, their perceived experience with law enforcement and justice professionals, the person’s level of resiliency, the degree of social support they receive or don’t receive, the outcome of any criminal case, etc. Crime victims can experience immediate, short-term and long-term impacts.

The ecological view of trauma (Figure 3) highlights the various factors that can affect someone’s response to a trauma such as crime. [20] It identifies three major aspects that influence the crime’s impact on the victim:


It is important to remember that every crime victim is unique, and there are no reactions that are common to all crime victims.

Impact of Crime

  • Person: the victim’s attributes, including personal traits, personal history, and the relationship between the victim and individual.
  • Event: the when, how, and where of the crime itself. The crime may have happened once or was recurring (when), the perpetrator might have used violence or there may have been multiple perpetrators (how), it could have occurred in public or in the privacy of one’s home (where).
  • Environment: the community and support system, including community supervision agencies, surrounding the victim. The community can include the immediate neighborhood or those in another state. For instance, PPO’s may be working with victims living in other jurisdictions, however, that PPO is still part of the victim’s environment. The environment consists of the community’s resources, response, and shared values.

Community supervision agencies fit into the environment, under "quality of community response." Community response refers to how those surrounding the victim react to the crime. It can include loved ones of the victim or those the victim has never met, like people reading about the crime in a newspaper or a probation officer beginning a pre-release investigation. As mentioned previously, victims often feel disillusioned by the criminal justice process. PPOs can hold supervisees accountable and address victims’ concerns by listening to the victim and acknowledging that many factors influence his or her needs.

  Voice from the field

"When I had a general caseload, and I’m being honest here, a victim would call me, and I didn’t really have empathy about it, until I drove all the way to (a town nearby) to meet with a victim. She was a victim of a sexual assault. This poor girl was sexually assaulted at a very young age and meeting her and then seeing what she went through for the next 10 years until the guy was convicted, that was powerful for me. So, that day, realizing what impact that had on her, my whole view of how victims are treated completely changed. I don’t think that a lot of PPOs have that opportunity to fully understand where that victim is coming from."

  Voice from the field

"I don’t think a lot of PPOs have the opportunity to fully understand the experience of the victim. The majority of [offenses] are drugs, burglaries, substance abuse. You don’t have the opportunity to really sit with a victim and understand the impact."

Eco View

What is a Victim-Centered Approach?

  • A victim-centered approach is based on the idea that each victim has a different set of needs and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to working with victims. Given the long-lasting impacts of crime, it is important that we consider this approach in community corrections. A victim-centered approach:
  • Actively seeks victims’ input and inclusion in the community corrections process.
  • Respects and reflects victim autonomy, privacy, and confidentiality.
  • Recognizes how victims are impacted, how to identify their most important needs, and how to meet those needs.
  • Focuses on their safety and well being as a priority.
  • Is trauma-informed and actively works to reduce re-traumatization.
  • Is non-judgmental.
  • Recognizes that the victim is a stakeholder.
  • Guides policy development.

Partnering with victims and victim service providers can promote positive justice system outcomes, help improve community safety, and reduce recidivism rates.

For PPOs, including victim input can come as a result of direct or indirect contact with victims.

  Voice from the field

"It is important for the victim to feel comfortable communicating with the PPO to help monitor that things are going okay or not. Everything is intensified when the perpetrator is related to the victim! There are cases where contact in some way or another is likely to happen, so the PPO needs to be aware of this."

Essential Practices: What Helps? What Hurts?

Be prepared to learn that what victims say they need may not be what you think they need. If a victim contacts you, the most important step is to LISTEN to what they have to say. Asking the victim what they needis important.

There are some global things you can do as a PPO to help victims and reduce harm as they recover from the trauma of the crime. Some of these things are outlined in Figure X, below.

  Helpful Hints: What Helps and What Hurts

What Helps

  • Make connections with community-based and corrections-based advocacy resources
  • Consider victim safety and confidentiality at all times
  • Wait for the victim to initiate direct contact whenever possible
  • Use respectful communication (verbal and non-verbal)
  • Elicit their perspective: ask questions about what they need
  • Share information and other resources
  • Allow them to vent. Validate their feelings and concerns
  • Assure victims that you will consider their safety in decisions that you make
  • Explain the process of probation/parole/reentry and discuss special conditions of supervision
  • Explain the benefits and limitations of community supervision
  • Provide opportunities for choice to give victims back some control that was taken away by the person who committed the crime (i.e. ask the victim their preferred times and modes of contact (i.e. cell phone, mail, at work, at home)
  • Explain protocols in the event that the victim’s perpetrator tries to contact them
  • Make time to communicate (in person, email, or telephone) to address victim’s needs

What Hurts

  • Contacting victims without their prior consent may increase their risk of further harm
  • Assuming you understand the victims’ perspective
  • Being judgmental
  • Being a lone ranger and trying to do your work without the support of advocates and other resources
  • Leaving victim information in an unsecure location like on top of a desk, caller ID/phones
  • Forgetting to include the victim in status change updates
  • Making promises you can’t keep or follow through on

In speaking with victims, try to avoid using generalizations and comparing them to other victims. While crimes may be similar, each victim’s circumstances and their reactions to the crime are unique. Try to keep an open mind and to listen to their stories with empathy. Asking open-ended questions ("What do you need?" "Are you safe?") is always a good place to start. Being non-judgmental and willing to listen goes a long way.

The following figures give some examples of some helpful language to use or to avoid when talking with victims.

Helpful things to say to victims

  • What do you need?
  • What can I do for you?
  • I’m sorry the happened.
  • What happened to you is not your fault.
  • I believe you.
  • Your case is important/unique.
  • Are you safe?
  • Do you have any concerns about your safety?
  • Who else have you spoken to?
  • Would you like a referral for further victim assistance?
  • Can I make any calls for you?
  • Do you need anything else? If you do, contact me at….
  • Is now a good time to talk? Is there a better time to talk?
  • You’re not going crazy.
  • I can't imagine how difficult this was or is for you.
  • I am going to try my best to help you.
  • I don’t know, but I’ll find out.
  • How are you doing?
  • Let’s see if we can figure out your most important needs right now.
  • I’m glad you called.

Things not to say to victims

  • I know how you feel.
  • You should forgive.
  • I understand what you’re going through.
  • Time heals all wounds.
  • Why?
  • Why didn’t you?
  • Why were you…didn’t you?
  • It could be worse.
  • Your case reminds me of another victim I dealt with.
  • What you need is…
  • As a general rule of thumb…
  • You’re so lucky.
  • It’s God’s will (or any religious platitude).
  • Get over it. Get on with your life.
  • Move on, put it behind you.
  • You’re not the only victim I’m trying to help.
  • You need to get over it/get on with your life.
  • They aren’t really bad people.
  • I can promise you that will happen for sure.
  • The poor defendant had a really tough childhood.
  • If I were in your shoes… You should have…
  • You’re so strong…
  • At least you weren’t hurt…
  • Nothing at all.


  • Giving advice
  • Using generalizations
  • Comparing with other victims or cases
  • Making promises you can’t keep
  • Telling the person you know how he/she feels
  • Telling them that they are safe now

  Promising Practices

  • Know what rights victims have in your jurisdiction
  • Review case files for victim information
  • Read any victim impact statements and note significant dates
  • Determine if there is a no-contact order in place
  • Determine if restitution and/or other financial legal obligations were ordered
  • When working with your client, think about the victim’s perspective
  • Determine what resources are available in your jurisdiction
  • Know how to respond to disclosures of abuse or violence

Dealing with Disclosures of Trauma and/or Victimization

In your role as a PPO, you will likely encounter disclosures of trauma and victimization from either the victim or the person you are supervising. This can be challenging and leave you with questions of how to respond in a way that minimizes further harm. The following tips, created by Alyssa Benedict for the 2014 APPA National Training Institute, are intended to guide you in effectively responding to disclosures:



  Voice from the field


  • Examine your own beliefs about victims & abuse
  • Deal with your own history of trauma
  • Listen
  • Give choices
  • Inform him/her of relevant policies, laws
  • Be aware that what survivors report may only be a small part of what they have experienced
  • Stay supportive
  • Offer resources


  • Tell survivors they have to talk
  • Assign blame in any way
  • Feel sorry for the survivor and look upon her/him as helpless
  • React with disgust, revulsion and anger at what they’ve been through
  • Be judgmental about coping strategies
  • Use it as a forum to talk about your own history
  • Ask for details that you don’t need.

Supervision Tools

There are a number of tools that you may use to enhance your supervision efforts that victims may have questions about. Two of these tools are risk assessments and electronic monitoring

Electronic Monitoring

If you are using some form of electronic monitoring as part of your supervision, it is important to clearly explain to the victim the type of monitoring you are using (whether it be Radio Frequency monitoring or GPS monitoring), what factors go into making monitoring decisions, and whether or not the victim can have input into the parameters of what is being monitored. If victims have questions, you can explain the benefits and limitations of the monitoring technologies being used.

Risk/Needs Assessments

Risk/needs assessments are a common tool used to better classify people who have committed crimes, determine an appropriate level of supervision, and inform decisions regarding conditions of supervision, release, sanctions, and revocation. Victims of crime, however, may know very little about them and why and how they are used. If you use risk/needs assessment tools to inform your supervision decisions, it may be helpful to explain what the tools are, the risk factors they measures, and how you use the information in your work.

  Helpful Hint

General risk assessment tools may not reliably classify domestic violence perpetrators into appropriate risk categories. Some jurisdictions have adopted specialized risk assessment tools for domestic violence such as the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA); other jurisdictions rely on professional overrides by the PPO and their supervisor to ensure that people receive appropriate supervision levels.

Different Crimes, Different Strategies

It is also important to remember that every case is unique, and that supervision strategies and communications with victims will vary and will be specific to each case. Part of understanding a victim’s needs and experiences is understanding the possible impact of various crimes and knowing the national and local resources that you can refer to in order to better meet the needs of victims.

Intimate Partner Violence

Domestic violence,(also known as intimate partner violence (IPV) is common in all communities and crosses age, gender, geography, socioeconomic, ethnic, race, sexual orientation, and religious lines. These cases can pose some of the most challenging situations for supervision. Victims may have elevated safety concerns that you will need to know about, and at the same time, they may be asking for contact or reunification.

Your supervision efforts can be enhanced, by increasing your understanding of the unique dynamics of IPV, the complex needs of victims, and the safety implications of reentry and community supervision. Contact your area’s domestic violence coalition or services program to find out about training opportunities in your area and check out the following resource for a comprehensive manual on community corrections and domestic violence:

Supervision considerations

Supervision for domestic violence cases needs to center around:

  • enhancing victim safety, and
  • increasing accountability

Often there will be ongoing direct or indirect contact between the victim and the perpetrator, even when the court or releasing authority has ordered no contact. This is especially true when they have children together.

A victim’s reaction to release and reentry will vary from one victim to the next. They may be fearful of what will happen when their family member returns to the community, and at the same time might be looking forward to having their family back together. It is important to understand that victims of domestic violence often struggle with how to best keep themselves and their loved ones safe and part of their safety planning may include structured reunification efforts.

  Safety Planning During Reentry

You may have a role, in collaboration with the victim and victim advocates, in a victim’s safety planning efforts during the reentry process. Components of the safety plan may include:

  • Giving your contact information to the victim and letting them know your role and responsibilities
  • Reviewing documentation of the inmate’s behaviors while incarcerated and any VIS to inform your supervision efforts
  • Exploring safety concerns related to children, family ,and friends
  • Planning for safety at their homes, work, and schools and other public places
  • Preparing for unwanted contact by the reentrant
  • Enhancing safety around technology use (cell phones, computers, etc.)to invite the advocate to the PSI preparation meeting.

In IPV cases it is important to:

  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the case, including reviewing victim impact statements, court records and risk assessment results.
  • Enforce special conditions of release such as no-contact orders, no weapons, no drugs, and sometimes enhanced monitoring through GPS or home confinement.
  • Participate in victimsafety planning effortswhen appropriate, especially regarding reentry.

Victim Notification in IPV Cases

In cases of IPV, victim notification has to be handled with extra care so victims can make well-informed decisions about their safety. Contacting a victim of IPV needs to be done in a way that does not put a victim at greater risk of harm. The best recommendation is that you should ask the victims what the safest method of notification is and follow his or her lead. If risk to the victim increases, you must attempt to notify the victim of the potential danger.

Telephoning and emailing victims should be approached with care as technology, such as caller ID, may make it impossible to anonymously contact the victim. Even if you block your number, incoming calls may be monitored. Before picking up the phone, consider the safety risks and plan accordingly.

Family Reunification

When preparing for reentry and possible family reunification, you may need to interview the victim for a better understanding of past abuse and the likelihood that it could happen again. If this is needed, with the victim’s permission, it is often helpful to have an advocate sit in on the interview.

If both parties want to reunify but there is a no-contact order in place, you will need to explain that reunification is not possible at this time. In addition, you can discuss possible options that exist to request a change in court order and provide information and referral to advocates who could assist with planning efforts.

The good news is that there is help as you do this difficult work. Every jurisdiction has a statewide domestic violence coalition and local agencies that provide services and support to victims of IPV.

  Voice from the field

"In cases where the victim and offender are related [it can be] challenging especially when they want contact. Hard with kids. Kids always want to go back to the parent. No contact may be in place but it is really hard to enforce if the people want contact. What is the PPO’s best-case scenario when this happens? Even as a PO I never file a motion to allow contact with a victim. The offender can do that himself, but as a PPO I would never file it. If we find out the contact is happening, we need to do everything we can to stop the contact, including arrest."

Partnering with Agencies

Whenever possible, link victims with community-based domestic violence organizations. Familiarize yourself with the services available in your jurisdiction. Victims may benefit from core services offered by domestic violence organizations. These services include:

  • 24-hour crisis lines
  • Counseling
  • Support groups
  • Court and legal advocacy
  • Shelter and transitional housing
  • Safety planning

  Voice from the field

"PPOs should work with victim specialists. It takes sophistication and long-term exposure to domestic violence to know which questions to ask. We need to support the PPO. Hopefully, the PPO would not work alone with this. The PPOs don’t have a great feel for what the community providers offer. Collaboration! We need to enhance relationships with community-based programs. It would be great if the PPO had the confidence to do the referral to the community program themselves rather than waiting."


  • Maintain frequent communication with the victim and solicit their input
  • Recommend that the victim develop a safety plan – there are advocacy groups that can assist the victim in this process
  • Provide as much information as is legally possible as to the status of the person under supervision, applicable provisions of release, and how the victim can and should respond in the case of a violation
  • Contact your area’s domestic violence coalition or services program to find out about training opportunities in your area and to obtain referral materials

  Promising Practices

Some jurisdictions across the country have specialized units to supervise people convicted of domestic violence offenses. Officers are often specially trained to deal with domestic violence, have smaller caseloads, and regularly contact victims. In one study, the specialized unit had a higher level of victim satisfaction, and individuals under this supervision were more likely to be identified as violating the conditions of their probation than those under supervision of the traditional unit.FN-4


National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Domestic Violence Victim-Probation Contact Checklist : produced by the American Probation and Parole Association, National Center for State Courts, The New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The Safety Net Project: the National Network to End Domestic Violence provides training, technical assistance, and other resources to address how technology affects the safety, privacy, and accessibility rights of victims of intimate partner violence.

Rape/Sexual Assault

In sexual assault cases, it is important to conduct a comprehensive review of the case file prior to supervision or reentry including reviewing input from the victim either through the victim impact statements, court records, risk assessment results, and/or interviewing the victim directly. Sexual assault victims may have concerns about their safety, and specifically, living in the same community as the person who assaulted them. When this is the case, these concerns should be taken into account when decisions are made about where the individual under supervision will be living. If they will be returning to the same community, victims may need support in developing a safety plan or relocating.

You may choose to ask the victim where they are currently living or working in order to prevent or limit as much contact as possible. If you are asking for this information it is essential to ensure that it remains confidential.

Victims may need assistance in:

  • Understanding the sex offender registration requirements for your jurisdiction.
  • Accessing information about what support services are available.
  • Understanding any special conditions of release such as no contact with victims, no contact with minors, attending specialized treatment programs, limiting internet access, and restrictions on where they can live and what will happen if these conditions are not met.

Partnering with Agencies

Victims of sexual assault may benefit from information on support services that are offered by advocacy organizations. Services often include: 24-hour crisis and support lines, support groups, counseling, hospital accompaniment, court accompaniment, and legal advocacy services.

In addition, many communities have coordinated Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs), also known as Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs), which are interdisciplinary teams consisting of law enforcement, sexual assault forensic examiners (SAFEs), advocates, prosecutors and other allied professionals including community corrections that work together to support a positive criminal justice response to sexual violence. If a SART exists in your area, consider reaching out to join their team or participate in training provided by the program.

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)

Some individuals on your caseload may have been victims of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or sexual assault. For some of them this may have happened prior to their justice involvement. For others their victimization may have occurred while they were in custody. This will add complexity to your efforts to supervise them, as they may not have received any services to address their victimization. It is important that you gain at least a general understanding of the neurobiology of trauma so that you can be alert to signs and symptoms, and equally important that you know who/where to refer them to for victim support services. Additionally, you may be the first person they disclose to and therefore you may have an obligation under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) to report this disclosure. For more information on PREA click here.


You should:

  • Familiarize yourself with the services available in your jurisdiction.
  • Consider when working with rape/sexual assault victims that confidentiality is key. Information should be kept in a secure location and not left on a desk in view of the supervisee.
  • Link victims with community-based sexual assault organizations.
  • Familiarize yourself with your local Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) if one exists.
  • Consider, with victim’s agreement, inviting community-based sexual assault organizations to victim safety planning meetings.


National Sexual Assault Online Hotline:

SART Toolkit:

Preventing and Responding to Corrections-Based Sexual Abuse: A Guide for Community Corrections Professionals:


Stalking is different from other forms of violence in that it can include behaviors which may appear unthreatening to others, but which incite fear in a victim due to the context in which the behavior occurs. Stalking isn’t always physical; it can be primarily psychological and include control, intimidation, and humiliation.

It’s important to understand the impact of stalking on victims. In a national survey of stalking victims:

  • 46 percent of victims were afraid of not knowing what would happen next.
  • 1 in 8 employed victims lost time from work, and more than half lost 5 days or more.
  • 22 percent of victims changed their day-to-day activities.[22]

Stalking is an obsessive behavior and often not deterred by incarceration. Many jurisdictions have achieved successful results with approaches that include regular contact with victims and reduced caseloads for probation/parole officers undertaking the high-level of supervision necessary for individuals who committed stalking offenses.[23]

Victims may be hesitant to communicate due to fear or anxiety. Using an advocacy group contact or other third party may be necessary. Many victims adjust their schedules and lives as a result of stalking: changing routines, jobs, even identities as a result of their experiences.

  Helpful Hint

Technology can also be used as a weapon. GPS satellites can be used to stalk and harass. Spyware can be installed on a victim’s computer to monitor their use. Abusers may send harassing or threatening texts/emails or access social media accounts to circulate compromising digital photographs or false information. If you are working with a victim, consider what you can do to enhance his or her safety and your supervision.


  • Consider that stalking victims may need a variety of services, including counseling, housing assistance, and mental health services.
  • Maintain frequent communication with the victim and solicit victim input.
  • Encourage the victim to report anything out of the ordinary, even if it is something they can’t prove or that may seem insignificant to others.
  • Maintain strict confidentiality, as the utmost importance for victim safety and peace of mind.
  • Recommend that the victim develop a safety plan – there are advocacy groups that can assist the victim in this process.
  • Provide as much information as is legally possible as to the status of the person under supervision, applicable provisions of release, and how the victim can and should respond in the case of a violation.



The loss of a loved one through an act of homicide is one of the most traumatic events that can happen to someone. It can deeply impact the emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial wellbeing of surviving friends and family members.These survivors are generally referred to as “co-victims” of the homicide, due to the devastating impact the crime has on their lives. [24] Homicide is sudden, violent, and often deliberate. It robs the co-victims of any time or opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones. They are often left with questions that can never be answered. What happened to their loved one? Why did this happen? What could they have done to prevent it? Were they in pain? Co-victims experience a complex range of reactions to the homicide, including shock, disbelief, anger, anxiety, depression, and traumatic grief which can intensify over time, especially if they do not get support in working through the grief. For example, parents of murdered children are twice as likely to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than parents of children who die accidentally. [25] No amount of justice, restitution, compensation, or regret can ever bring the loved one back.

A majority of homicides are committed by someone known to the victim. That means that surviving family members often had a relationship with both the victim and their murderer; this adds even more complexity to their grief. Sometimes, the family member was also threatened, or has a significant fear that the individual might kill them too. It is important to work with co-victims as you would with any other victim of crime. Provide them information, support, and resources, and ensure that their victim rights are enforced.


  • Determine the level of involvement that co-victims wish to have during reentry or supervision.
  • Include information from victim impact statements submitted by co-victims in presentence investigations, conditions of release/supervision, and safety planning efforts.
  • Familiarize yourself with the resources available in your jurisdiction for homicide co-victims.
  • If contacted by a co-victim of homicide, you can help by listening, expressing concern, and providing resources if requested.


Some states have support groups, such as Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) for co-victims of homicide. POMC groups are open to all co-victims of homicide, not only those who have lost children.

For children and teens who are struggling with the murder of a parent, sibling, or other loved one, the Dougy Center: The National Center for Grieving Children and Families has resources and information available.

Human Trafficking

Victims of human trafficking, both children and adults, often experience physical and psychological harm as a result of trafficking crimes. In addition, it is not uncommon for trafficking victims to have been arrested themselves, often on charges related to prostitution, solicitation, and drugs. You may end up with both traffickers and/or victims of sex trafficking on your supervision caseload. In either case, it is important to note that many victims may be distrustful of anyone who is part of a criminal justice system and may be reluctant to speak with you. [26]


In 2012, The Los Angeles Probation Department noticed a trend of young women under supervision discussing experiences that matched with sex trafficking crime profiles. Probation officers came to understand that these young women were involved in sex trafficking. Using a Title II grant, the department created a pilot program to provide services for these youth, which became the Child Sex Trafficking Unit – the first probation department in the nation to do so.FN-5

Victims of human trafficking need a similar level of support as victims of intimate partner violence. They may have comparable hesitation to share information due to continued loyalty towards their trafficker. They may not identify as a victim at all, or may experience difficulty overcoming feelings of shame or self-blame.



Human trafficking victims are often taught to distrust and avoid anyone connected to law enforcement. Overcoming this barrier is important to protecting the victim from further abuse.

  • Assure the victim of their safety and the availability of supports and resources.
  • Put victims in touch with advocacy groups. This can be the first step towards connecting victims with other survivors.
  • Maintain open and non-judgmental communication with the victim, using an advocate or other third party with expert knowledge of trafficking if need be
  • Consider that trafficking victims may need many services including mental health services, social services, drug counseling, medical care, and housing assistance.


National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC): https://humantraffickinghotline .org/

Arizona Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family: has specific focus on trafficking, and created materials specifically for PPOs.

Hate Crimes

Hate crimes, also known as bias crimes, are crimes that are motivated, in whole or in part, by hatred against a victim’s actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, or disability. Because the crime is an attack on the victim’s identity, they may experience a high level of trauma.

Hate crimes impact not only the individual targeted by the crime, but the victim’s community as well, inciting fear, anger, and suspicion.

For victims of a hate crime, understanding that there are resources specific to their identity group can be a major source of support.


Anti-Defamation League:

The Human Rights Campaign:

The Leadership Conference:

  • Know local resources for the populations within your community, such as advocacy groups, religious organizations, translators, and other culturally specific service providers.

Gang Violence

The FBI’s National Gang Threat Assessment report in 2011 showed there were more than 33,000 active gangs on the streets and in prisons.[28] Gang violence may include other types of crimes such as sexual assault or homicide. Victims of gang violence may be fearful of retaliation or experience ongoing threats or intimidation.

  Promising Practice

CeaseFire is a violence prevention program developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and utilized in a number of cities, including Chicago, to reduce crime. Using strategies taken from epidemic disease control, the program aims to identify, disrupt, and “treat” violence. In Baltimore, the initiative (called “Safe Streets”) was implemented in four high crime neighborhoods, resulting in statistically significant reductions in homicides and other crimes.FN-6

Victims of gang violence can benefit from services including crisis intervention, support groups, and other community services.


  • Connect with neighborhood and culturally specific community resources.
  • Consider proposing the formation of an anti-gang task force or unit if one does not already exist within your jurisdiction.


Cure Violence:

Financial Crimes

Victims of non-violent crimes are often overlooked for services but may still need support. Even when crimes are non-violent, there still may be harm or trauma associated with a crime. Victims of fraud, theft, or other financial crimes may experience depression, loss of trust, and other adverse psychological effects. Additionally, the financial harm caused by the crime may be substantial, leading to an increased need for support in collecting restitution payments.


  • Work with victims of financial crime as you would with any other victim of crime.
  • Listen to what they need; provide them with information, support, and resources; and ensure that their victims’ rights are enforced.
  • Explain the restitution order, where applicable, and how information related to restitution payments should be communicated.
  • Connect victims to support services, if needed.


Directory of Crime Victim Services:

Identity Theft Resource Center:

[17] Truman, Jennifer L., and Lynn Langton. (2015). Criminal Victimization, 2014.U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics,, accessed July 1, 2016.

[18] American Probation and Parole Association. (2009). Fact Sheet 1: Promising Victim Related Practices in Probation and Parole: The Role of Community Corrections in Victim Services. Council of State Government. Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice., accessed July 1, 2016.

[19] Lehman, J., Beatty, T.G., Maloney, D., Russell, S., Seymour, A., Shapiro, C. (2002). The Three ‘R’s’ of Reentry, Justice Solutions., accessed July 1, 2016.

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