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Victim Services Essay

1615 words - 7 pages

Assessment Tool

BEHA 91

Victim Input Form

Introduction
For the purpose of my research paper, I chose to work on the Victim Input Form, an assessment tool used at the Victim/Witness Assistance Program (VWAP), my placement agency. VWAP provides information, assistance and referral to victims and witnesses of crime to increase their understanding and participation in the court process. Their services are provided to victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, homicide and traffic fatality. VWAP becomes involved once charges are laid by the police and will continue until the court case is over.

As eighty percent of VWAP’s caseload is related to domestic violence, ...view middle of the document...

This notification has information on the victim, the accused, the incident and the type of charges that are being laid. It also provides details as to whether the accused has been arrested and is expected to make an appearance in Bail Court. When VWAP receives notification, the file is assigned to a Victim Services Worker.

The Victim Services Worker may be the first person the victim comes into contact after charges are laid, and she takes on many roles. The Worker becomes the assessor of any safety issues, the liaison between the victim and the Crown’s Office, the advocator, the emotional supporter or even an educator of rights. It is the responsibility of the Victim Services Worker to get in touch with the victim as soon as possible to get her input for filling in the Victim Input Form. This initial contact usually takes place through the telephone because of certain circumstances such as the victim being in a shelter, the urgency to present her input to the Crown, of children being involved or maybe of injuries she might have sustained in the incident.

When the victim is located, the Worker identifies herself and gives a brief description of VWAP’s services. She will explain to the victim the court process and her duties and rights as a victim. The Worker will let the victim know of the accused’s impending appearance in the Bail Court and the possibilities of events that might occur.

A victim of domestic violence deserves as much help as they need to get them safely out of the abusive relationship and to start on a peaceful new life. Because abusive men establish so much control over so many parts of a victim’s life, it is imperative that the victim bring to the attention of the Crown and the judge her fears for her safety and that of her family. It is here that the Victim Input Form comes into play. In doing the safety assessment with the victim, the Worker is able to allow the victim some participation in the legal process that decides the future of herself and that of her family.

Victim Input Form – A Safety Assessment Tool
The Victim Input Form is an assessment tool used at VWAP to assess the safety level of a domestic violence victim and her family. This is a Functional Model Assessment as it measures how the victim (and children) are functioning or adjusting to the new situation/threat in their lives. The information that is obtained is then brought to the attention of the Crown Attorney who presents it to the judge to be used as a basis when considering bail and conditions for the accused. Some of the information gained from the assessment is as follows;
• It addresses the level of safety of the victim (It acknowledges that the victim is the only one who holds information about the history of the relationship and its lethality)
• Do they fear the accused?
• Do they wish to have contact with the accused?
• Are they comfortable with the level of protection provided by the police/courts or...

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