The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) awarded the Leadership in Victim Services Award (Large Agency) to the Vancouver Police Department’s Victim Services Unit.
From the IACP Website:
…The Vancouver Police Department Victim Services Unit (VSU) has been an integral part of the Department since its inception in 1984. At that time volunteers mainly supported the victims. In 2004, due to the ever-increasing complexity of victim service work, the VSU underwent a significant reorganization and is now entirely comprised of specialized employees who work with victims and witnesses. All the staff hold degrees in the social sciences and have considerable experience in crisis intervention and trauma informed practices.
As an independent Research group has concluded, the VSU consistently demonstrates that they have had a positive impact on the citizens and businesses in Vancouver they are employed to serve.
One example of their innovative approach was that in 2016, a trained intervention trauma dog was introduced to the program. The Handler and IK-9 team has proven to be a huge success in aiding victims and witnesses to cope with the stress related to critical incidents. The IK-9 Team also attends court during testimony of vulnerable clients like children, acting as a calm presence to help alleviate an extremely difficult time for them.
In 2017 the Vancouver Police added a Civilian Intervention Stress Management Team, which is designed to assist VPD employees who may suffer from exposure to critical incidents or to viewing traumatic materials. The two co-coordinators of the program are VSU staff members and another caseworker is also on this peer support team.
Congratulations Victim Services Unit!