Initiated in 1987 by volunteers, APD Victim Services is one of the first programs of its type in Texas and in 1992 won the Governor’s Award for Best Victim Assistance Program in Texas. In 2009 the program was awarded the IACP/Login Excellence in Victim Services Award by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.The Arlington Police Department’s Victim Services Program exists to provide services to victims and family members with the goal of lessening the short and long-term trauma experienced as a direct result of victimization.The Victim Services program provides crisis counseling, crisis intervention, criminal justice support and advocacy, information and referral, notification of rights and assistance with filing Crime Victims Compensation claims, assistance with property return, court accompaniment, child care during statements, and transportation to court or to shelter to all victims of violent crime reported to the Arlington Police Department.
Services offered by the Victim Services Program to the 900-1300 victims served each month include:
- On site crisis intervention and follow up
- Crisis counseling in person and by telephone
- Information about Crime Victims’ rights and Crime Victims’ Compensation, and assistance with filing claims
- Advocacy with the criminal justice system and other agencies
- Information and referral to community services
- Case status information
- Court accompaniment in some cases
- Transportation to shelter, other safe location, or to court
The program also provides training to law enforcement officers and community groups, and serves as a consultant to other agencies on law enforcement based victim services. The Coordinator is a licensed TCLEOSE instructor.
Crisis Counselors are on duty 7 days a week to respond to patrol officers’ request for immediate crisis intervention for victims of traumatic crimes. The team provides all of the services listed above.Click here for more information about the Victim Services Program history.If you would like more information or assistance with establishing or expanding a Victim Assistance program, please contact us!
The program holds active memberships in The Tarrant Family Violence Council, The Coalition for Crime Victim Services, Law Enforcement Victim Assistance, Texas Victim Services Association.
Current staffing consists of the Victim Services Coordinator, the Victim Services Supervisor, six Victim Services Counselors, the Victim Services Specialist, and the Youth and Family Specialist. The program’s staff volunteers and interns serve victims of all types of violent or traumatic crimes.
Youth and Family Specialist Program
When a child or teenager is involved with the criminal justice system, the entire family may be experiencing a crisis. The Arlington Police Department’s Youth and Family Specialist is a licensed social worker who provides services to youth and their parents when a child/adolescent is involved with the department whether that involvement is as a victim, as suspect, or because the family has called the police for help with a developing problem that has not yet become criminal. She helps families develop workable action plans and makes sure they are aware of the full range of options and services in the community that may help with the crisis and with strengthening the family. The Youth and Family Specialist is in the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Hours of Operation
The Victim Services office operates from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. 7 days a week.Victim Services personnel are also available for call out 24 hours a day at the request of patrol officers or investigators
Our Phone Numbers
- 817-459-5339 (Main)
- 817-459-5349 (Victim Services Supervisor)
- 817-459-5711 (Administrator)
- 817-459-5317 (Fax)
The Arlington Police Department’s Victim Services Program was initiated in August, 1987 with two volunteers recruited through VIVA, the City’s volunteer program. These volunteers acted under the guidance of the Sergeant of the Juvenile Division, who became the department’s Crime Victim Liaison as specified by the Code of Criminal Procedures.Volunteers initially were given a small office and a phone, answering machine, typewriter, and basic office supplies. Outreach was done by using a form letter or by phone call. Volunteers were given media copies of all of the murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, assault with bodily injury cases and sought to inform victims of their rights and the availability of Crime Victims’ Compensation. Although the volunteers had little training and were not professional counselors, victims appreciated the volunteer’s emotional support and compassion. The Mental Health Association of Tarrant County later offered the services of a licensed counselor 20 hours a month, and the counselor provided training to the volunteers and services to some victims. The Counselor also introduced the volunteers to a number of community based services and the volunteers began attending workshops offered in the area. This knowledge and the careful records of services provided kept by the program helped in the application for grant funding.After the first year, the department applied for a VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) grant through the Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division, and the first full time Coordinator was hired. The Coordinator was a licensed counselor. The following year, a part time Administrative Assistant was hired, and the year after that, the Administrative Assistant was made a full time position. Staffing remained at two full time until 1995, when additional VOCA funds allowed the program to add another part time position. The program maintained a volunteer base of between eight and twelve active volunteers, who provided services to approximately 1000 victims of all types of violent crime (including DWI, FSRA- Hit&Run, and burglary of a habitation) each month. Also, in 1995 the program became a Program Partner with AmeriCorps UTA, who provided an AmeriCorps member full time for one year.In 1996 the Arlington Police Department received a grant through the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services, to establish a Domestic Violence Response Team that included two civilian crisis counselors and a supervisor assigned to the Victim Assistance Program, and two civilian investigative aides assigned to the Domestic Crimes Investigations Unit. The following year the additional staff were picked up through a VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) grant.With the initiation of on scene crisis response, the program also needed to expand the volunteer base to include volunteers who were available to sign up for eight to ten hour shifts to ride with the Response Team, on duty seven days a week. A staff counselor is paired with a volunteer and available for patrol call out during Response Team hours. AmeriCorps UTA added additional part time members. The University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Social Work provided additional student interns (supervised by the Victim Services Coordinator, a licensed social worker), and flyers were posted on the U.T. Arlington campus. The local newspapers both ran stories about the new Response Team’s Crisis Intervention program including information about volunteering. The Coordinator and other staff also mention the need for volunteers at all speaking engagements, guest lectures, and community presentations (including officer training), and all of these efforts continue to bring in volunteers.
The Arlington Police Department’s Victim Services Program is currently seeking volunteers to assist victims of violent crime.Some of the things our volunteers do:
- Assist Victim Services Staff in reviewing police reports to identify victims and assess immediate needs
- Assist staff in contacting victims in person or by phone to provide crisis counseling, information, referrals to community agencies, and ongoing support throughout the criminal justice process
- Partnering with a Crisis Counselor to provide crisis intervention on scene, at the police station, or at the hospital.
- Assist victims with applying for Crime Victims’ Compensation
Hours are flexibleIf you are interested in gaining valuable experience while serving victims in our community, please contact Nikki Rosenboom at 817-459-5349 to set up an interview.Volunteers must complete an interview process and background/criminal history check, including a polygraph, prior to acceptance.
Texas Crime Victims’ Rights
Rights of Crime VictimsCODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURETITLE 1. CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURECHAPTER 56. RIGHTS OF CRIME VICTIMSSUBCHAPTER A. CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTSArt. 56.01. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:(1) “Close relative of a deceased victim” means a person who was the spouse of a deceased victim at the time of the victim’s death or who is a parent or adult brother, sister, or child of the deceased victim.(2) “Guardian of a victim” means a person who is the legal guardian of the victim, whether or not the legal relationship between the guardian and victim exists because of the age of the victim or the physical or mental incompetency of the victim.(2-a) “Sexual assault” includes an offense under Section 21.02, Penal Code.(3) “Victim” means a person who is the victim of the offense of sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, trafficking of persons, or injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual or who has suffered personal injury or death as a result of the criminal conduct of another.Art. 56.02. CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS. (a) A victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim is entitled to the following rights within the criminal justice system:(1) the right to receive from law enforcement agencies adequate protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts;(2) the right to have the magistrate take the safety of the victim or his family into consideration as an element in fixing the amount of bail for the accused;(3) the right, if requested, to be informed:(A) by the attorney representing the state of relevant court proceedings, including appellate proceedings, and to be informed if those proceedings have been canceled or rescheduled prior to the event; and(B) by an appellate court of decisions of the court, after the decisions are entered but before the decisions are made public;(4) the right to be informed, when requested, by a peace officer concerning the defendant’s right to bail and the procedures in criminal investigations and by the district attorney’s office concerning the general procedures in the criminal justice system, including general procedures in guilty plea negotiations and arrangements, restitution, and the appeals and parole process;(5) the right to provide pertinent information to a probation department conducting a presentencing investigation concerning the impact of the offense on the victim and his family by testimony, written statement, or any other manner prior to any sentencing of the offender;(6) the right to receive information regarding compensation to victims of crime as provided by Subchapter B, including information related to the costs that may be compensated under that subchapter and the amount of compensation, eligibility for compensation, and procedures for application for compensation under that subchapter, the payment for a medical examination under Article 56.06 for a victim of a sexual assault, and when requested, to referral to available social service agencies that may offer additional assistance;(7) the right to be informed, upon request, of parole procedures, to participate in the parole process, to be notified, if requested, of parole proceedings concerning a defendant in the victim’s case, to provide to the Board of Pardons and Paroles for inclusion in the defendant’s file information to be considered by the board prior to the parole of any defendant convicted of any crime subject to this subchapter, and to be notified, if requested, of the defendant’s release;(8) the right to be provided with a waiting area, separate or secure from other witnesses, including the offender and relatives of the offender, before testifying in any proceeding concerning the offender; if a separate waiting area is not available, other safeguards should be taken to minimize the victim’s contact with the offender and the offender’s relatives and witnesses, before and during court proceedings;(9) the right to prompt return of any property of the victim that is held by a law enforcement agency or the attorney for the state as evidence when the property is no longer required for that purpose;(10) the right to have the attorney for the state notify the employer of the victim, if requested, of the necessity of the victim’s cooperation and testimony in a proceeding that may necessitate the absence of the victim from work for good cause;(11) the right to counseling, on request, regarding acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and testing for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, antibodies to HIV, or infection with any other probable causative agent of AIDS, if the offense is an offense under Section 21.02, 21.11(a)(1), 22.011, or 22.021, Penal Code;(12) the right to request victim-offender mediation coordinated by the victim services division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice;(13) the right to be informed of the uses of a victim impact statement and the statement’s purpose in the criminal justice system, to complete the victim impact statement, and to have the victim impact statement considered:(A) by the attorney representing the state and the judge before sentencing or before a plea bargain agreement is accepted; and(B) by the Board of Pardons and Paroles before an inmate is released on parole;(14) to the extent provided by Articles 56.06 and 56.065, for a victim of a sexual assault, the right to a forensic medical examination if, within 96 hours of the sexual assault, the assault is reported to a law enforcement agency or a forensic medical examination is otherwise conducted at a health care facility; and(15) for a victim of an assault or sexual assault who is younger than 17 years of age or whose case involves family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code, the right to have the court consider the impact on the victim of a continuance requested by the defendant; if requested by the attorney representing the state or by counsel for the defendant, the court shall state on the record the reason for granting or denying the continuance.(b) A victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim is entitled to the right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, subject to the approval of the judge in the case.
Crime Victims’ Compensation
Code of Criminal Procedure, Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Act, Chapter 56, Subchapter BPurpose: To compensate residents of the United States who suffer personal injury or death as the result of a violent crime, including DWI, Failure to Stop and Render Aid, and certain other vehicular crimes.Administered by: The Office of the Attorney General, Crime Victims’ Compensation Division, Austin, Texas.Crime Victims’ Compensation may be available to pay the amount of expense reasonably and necessarily incurred for:(i) Medical, counseling, prescription and rehabilitative services; (ii) Partial loss of earnings because of a disability resulting from personal injury, participation in the criminal justice process, or seeking medical treatment; (iii) Child care for minor children to enable a victim or spouse of a deceased victim to continue employment; (iv) Certain funeral and burial expenses; (v) Reasonable costs associated with crime scene cleanup; (vi) Reasonable replacement costs for clothing or bedding taken as evidence or made unusable as a result of the criminal investigation of a sexual assault; (vii) Travel expenses necessary to participate in the criminal justice process and/or seek medical treatment; (vii) One-time payment of certain relocation expenses in domestic violence and sexual assault Reimbursement for property damage or loss is not an eligible expense.In order to qualify for Crime Victims’ Compensation:
- The crime must be reported to law enforcement within a reasonable amount of time unless there are justified extraordinary circumstances.
- Claim must be filed within three years unless good cause can be shown as to why the claim wasn’t filed.
- The victim must cooperate with law enforcement and prosecution efforts.
- The victim must be the innocent victim of a violent crime who suffers personal injury.
The Victim Services Program of the Arlington Police Department will assist you in applying for benefits from Crime Victims’ Compensation. Upon request, we will provide you with the claim form, will send the claim form and required documentation to CVC, and notify service providers that a claim has been applied for and is pending. Please allow us assist you in obtaining these benefits if you feel you may qualify.Click here for more information on Crime Victims’ Compensation.The Texas Office of the Attorney General’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Division phone number is 1-800-983-9933
Helpful Phone Numbers
Local Resource List
- Tarrant County District Attorney, Victim Assistance 817-884-2740
- Tarrant County Probation, Victim Assistance 817-884-1468
- Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice Victims’ Services 1-800-848-4284
- Tarrant County District Attorney, Family Violence Unit 817-884-3535
24 Hour Numbers
- Safe Haven (24 hours) (877) 701-7233
- Rape Crisis & Victim Services (24 hours) 817-927-2737
- Tarrant County Mental Health/ Mental Retardation (24 hours) 817-335-3022 or 1-800-866-2465
Some of the local agencies that provide services to victims
- Safe Haven Resource Center (877) 701-7233
- The Women’s Center 817-548-1663
- Legal Aid of Northwest Texas 817-336-3943
- District Attorney, Protective Order Unit 817-884-1623
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving 817-810-9300
- All Church Home for Children 817-335-4673
- Crime Scene Cleanup: Victim Services Personnel can assist you with referrals to companies who clean up crime scenes.
- Texas Crime Victims’ Clearinghouse 1-800-252-3423
- Family Violence Legal Line 1-800-374-HOPE
- General Legal Line 1-800-777-FAIR
- Texas Youth Hotline 1-800-210-2278
- Crime Victims’ Compensation 1-800-983-9933
The Victim Services Program can assist you with locating other resources. Contact us at 817-459-5339Family ViolenceFamily Violence affects not only the victim and abuser, it affects the children, friends and family, and our community.Abuse can be physical (pushing, slapping, grabbing, hitting, kicking, choking, cutting, burning, dragging, shooting, stabbing, murder)Abuse can be sexual (demeaning remarks about your gender, accusations of being unfaithful, unwanted touching, forced sex)Abuse can be emotional (criticism, name calling, shouting, making all the decisions for you, humiliating and ridiculing you in public, lying and manipulation)Many forms of abuse are a violation Texas LawWithout intervention, abuse tends to become more frequent and more severe over time. Approximately 33% of all women who are murdered in the United States are murdered by an intimate partner or former partner. In one study, homicide was found to be the leading cause of death of women during pregnancy, even more frequently than medical complications. Some of the risk factors associated with escalation to serious injury or homicide in family violence cases include:
- Access to firearms/weapons
- History of use of weapons
- Threats of use of weapons
- Threats of Homicide
- Threats of Suicide
- History of violence in relationships
- History of serious injury
- Recent increase in severity or frequency of violence
- Public violence
- Violence associated with drug or alcohol use
- Violence associated with the victim leaving or attempting to leave
- Violence toward children
- Violence toward pets
- Obsessive jealousy or possessiveness/sense of ownership
- Isolation/extreme dependency on the partner/victim
- Forced sex/use of pornography
- Previous police involvement/repeat calls for service
If you feel afraid:
- Trust your instincts!
- Have a Safety Plan,
- Know Where to Get Help.
- A Protective Order may be helpful as well.
REACTIONS TO TRAUMATIC EVENTSAs a victim of or witness to a violent crime or traumatic event, you may be experiencing some of the following symptoms or other reactions to one degree or another. Most people do experience some form of reaction to a crisis. The following information is presented as a guide to what many people do experience in the aftermath of a traumatic event, but does not necessarily indicate that you should be experiencing these symptoms. Each individual is unique, and reactions are as individual as we are.PHASE I: CRISIS STAGE/IMPACT STAGEFirst reaction may be shock and disbelief, may last a few seconds, minutes, hours, days and in some cases years. Denial of the reality of the event is used as a defense to protect the person from experiencing the full impact. Symptoms of distress may include increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, muscle tenseness, shaking, feelings of helplessness, panic, fear, vulnerability, confusion, difficulty making decisions, short term memory difficulties, hypervigilance, difficulty with eating or sleeping, or difficulty concentrating. This stage may last up to 72 hours after the event, but some of these symptoms may last longer or come and go for some time. After a sustained period of emotional and physical arousal, most people experience exhaustion.PHASE II: RECOILAs the person begins to recover and adapt to the sense of violation, many strong emotions may emerge. Intense feelings of anger, sadness, violation, panic, fear, frustration, confusion, self-pity, and guilt may alternate with denial and avoidance of experiencing these powerful feelings by trying to avoid thinking about the event, or keeping busy, or trying to avoid reminders of the event. Problems with eating or sleeping may persist. This phase may last from 24 hours to several weeks.PHASE III: REORGANIZATION/REINTEGRATIONResuming of something of a normal life, although perhaps a “new normal”. The process is one of ups and downs, and there may be a reoccurrence of symptoms of the crisis reaction, especially when confronted with reminders of the event. Triggers may include anniversaries of the event, holidays associated with the event, hearing about similar events, the criminal justice process, or sights, smells, and sounds that remind one of something about the event. This phase can begin as early as a week or as long as a year later.All of the above are considered “normal” reactions. As long as you are able to recognize that you are having a “normal” reaction to an abnormal circumstance, you may be able to combat the sense that many victims have that they are “losing their minds”. If symptoms are very intense, or if they interfere with your ability to return to day to day functioning, you may want to seek some short term help with coping with the trauma. The Victim Assistance Program is available for short term counseling or referral to community resources familiar with trauma reactions. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. You have probably been through something that anyone would have difficulty coping with. If you have thoughts of hurting yourself, please let someone know, or call Crisis Intervention at 817-927-5544 (24 hours).Some suggestions for coping with the immediate crisis include:
- Try to get plenty of rest, sleep if you can.
- Eat nutritious meals, even if you have little appetite. Sometimes several small meals are easier than three large ones.
- Moderate exercise, such as walking may help relieve some of the stress, and may also help with appetite and sleep problems.
- Keep a journal, including writing about the experience and about your feelings and experiences afterward.
- Try to keep important information, including names and dates of people that you have talked to about the case, together. Perhaps saved in a large envelope.
- Find a supportive friend or counselor who is willing to listen to you tell your story. You many need to tell the story repeatedly.
- Remember that children react differently to trauma than adults do. Children may be affected even if they were not directly involved in the crisis. Encourage children to talk, draw pictures, or act out the event with toys or role playing. Some regression is normal in children, but if you feel that the reaction is severe, you may want to seek counseling for the child.
Links to other websites for victims of crimeVictim Assistance Online (resource guide)Texas Attorney General’s Crime Victims Division/Crime Victim’s CompensationMothers Against Drunk DrivingThe Texas Department of Criminal Justice Victim Assistance ProgramTexans for Equal Justice (Victim Advocacy Group)Justice for All (Victim Advocacy Group)The National Center for Victims of CrimeNOVA: The National Organization for Victim AssistanceParents of Murdered ChildrenChildhelp USAChild Abuse Prevention CenterElder AbuseStalkingNational Coalition Against Domestic ViolenceRape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)People Against Violent CrimeChild Protective ServicesTexas Advocacy Project http://www.texasadvocacyproject.org