Altovise- M.S. Lieutenant Victim Services Unit Philadelphia Police Department

My whole perspective is, you don’t ask people what’s wrong with them, you ask what happened to them. The experience doesn’t limit who you are as a person. We ask what happened to you, not what’s wrong with you because it makes it seem less like the victim is the problem.

Part of our goal and part of changing our victims’ service policy is to have a more compassionate approach to people. In the policy it says that we focus on safety and security. So you address any security issues the person has. If a person is burglarized the first thing they may say is my property is damaged, the point of entry is damaged, I can’t lock it, I can’t secure it we need to figure that out. We then discuss ventilation and validation where they may be feeling uneasy about the crime that was committed. So just to be there with a listening ear and just to let them vent it and talk about how they feel as a victim. We discuss prediction and preparation. There are always things that need to be done afterwards so to give them an idea of what their future looks like, so they feel like they have some control. Like if they have to go to court, people who haven’t been to court before can be a little scared, so if we explain it to them, tell them what it looks like and that they’re going to have help from us it can make it less scary. So they can see a path to the end, for their future. It could help them plan how they’re moving on with their life when something traumatic has happened.

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