ASSISTING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO MEET THE NEEDS OF CRIME VICTIMS Win t er 2 009
IN THIS ISSUE
PREPARING FOR THE NEEDS OF SECONDARY VICTIMS IN SCHOOL
Preparing for the
Needs of Secondary
Victims in School
Violence Incidents . p.1
By Kelly R. Buck, Ph.D.
the Editor ..................p.2
Programs, Initiatives, INTRODUCTION
Publications, And At any school violence incident, the number of victims extends beyond those who are injured and killed. The
Trainings ....................p.7 trauma of these events affects everyone on campus: adults and children, teachers, administrators, school staff,
Partnerships For Safe and emergency responders. At the scene, emergency responders, in addition to being scene commanders, are the
Schools.......................p.7 focal point for distraught parents and family members who expect them to have all the answers. Their trauma
March 2009 National can equal or surpass that of the children and school personnel who are directly targeted. Further, if they are not
Victim Assistance equipped in advance to respond to and help those who converge on school episodes, emergency responders
may experience heightened levels of distress from the incident and have to deal with feelings of regret later.
These personnel and the parents and loved ones they serve become the secondary victims in school violence
incidents. This article discusses strategies for mitigating and alleviating their trauma.
Having strategies in place to recognize and effectively manage all victims is crucial to successfully handling
a school violence incident, preserving the trust of the community, and sustaining the morale of emergency
responders. Following dramatic school violence episodes in places such as Jonesboro, Arkansas; West Paducah,
Kentucky; and Littleton, Colorado, the IACP conducted a nation-wide effort to harvest lessons learned by school
administrators, emergency responders, teachers, civic leaders, students, and parents for preventing and respond-
ing to school violence, to include response to victims. Those lessons hold true today.
This article draws on that effort to identify steps law enforcement agencies can take to best serve the second-
ary victims of school violence incidents through planning and preparation, sound crisis management as events
take place, effective communication and management of the media to mitigate secondary trauma, and proper
response for the ongoing trauma that inevitably follows.
NOTHING BEATS PREPARATION
A critical step that must be taken by emergency responders to minimize trauma in potential victims is to work
with them to develop a plan ahead of time. Involve teachers, other school personnel, and as appropriate, stu-
dents in taking into consideration all possible school violence scenarios and the possible experiences of victims,
including the emergency responders themselves. Teachers and other school personnel play critical roles in
implementing planned responses both before and after emergency response personnel arrive. Therefore, their
participation in and understanding of the planning is essential. The chaos and panic created by school violence
incidents cannot be effectively handled without pre-established specific plans of action.
Working with school personnel, Crisis Planning Teams should be established at both the local and district levels.
The mission of these teams is to develop critical incident response plans and then periodically refine them.
Work closely with these teams to help them develop a working knowledge and plans for use of all available
resources across the community and school district in the event of a school violence incident.
1 IACP Private Sector Liaison Committee. (1999). Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence. Alexandria, VA: IACP. For more
information visit http://www.theiacp.org/documents/pdfs/Publications/schoolviolence2%2Epdf
continued on page 3
A N e ws l e tte r from Th e In ter n a ti o n a l A s s o ci a ti o n o f C h i efs o f P ol i c e
Letter from the Editor
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) held its 115th Annual Conference in San Diego on
November 8-12, 2008. A highlight of the Conference was the first annual Excellence in Victim Services
Award luncheon hosted by the IACP and corporate sponsor LogIn, Inc. The luncheon was held at the Hard “As law
Rock Hotel to recognize several law enforcement agencies from across the country. enforcement
The award recognizes law enforcement agencies in three categories—small, medium, and large—that agencies begin
have developed and implemented innovative strategies for providing comprehensive services to victims to enhance
of crime. The winners of the first annual Excellence in Victim Services Award were Mundelein, Illinois their response
Police Department, Beaverton, Oregon Police Department, and Lafourche Parrish, Louisiana Sheriff’s to victims, we
must not forget
Mundelein Police Department, the small category winner, believes that changing the focus from an offend- secondary
er-driven investigation to a victim-based investigation is an opportunity to vigorously prosecute criminals
while helping meet the seven critical needs of victims.
Beaverton Police Department, the medium category winner, has made significant accomplishments since
its 2006 adoption of the IACP’s Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims: A 21st Century Strategy by
organizing and hosting victim service provider symposia and developing agency-wide training programs.
Lafourche Parish, Louisiana Sheriff’s Department, the large category winner, has adopted an agency-wide
philosophy where victims are the top priority. “Whatever it Takes” is their motto, and the men and women
of the department strive to provide a seamless, comprehensive victim services program.
In addition, six other agencies were formally recognized for their local efforts to support victims of crime
through formal strategies and initiatives.
Albuquerque (NM) Police Department Mesa (AZ) Police Department
Baltimore County (MD) Police Department Montclair State University (NJ) Police Department
Durham (NC) Police Department University of New Hampshire Police Department
Mary Lou Leary, Executive Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, presented a moving key-
note address which celebrated the work of each department as well as motivated them to continue their
efforts as leaders. John Gillis, Director of the Office for Victims of Crime, and Chief Carl Wolf, VP-Treasurer
of the IACP Executive Board, attended the luncheon and presented the awards.
All of the departments honored during the ceremony demonstrated a commitment to providing assistance
to victims through enlightened leadership, committing resources, developing partnerships with other
agencies, training staff, and departmental restructuring.
We would like to thank these departments for their continued victim-centered focus. As law enforcement
agencies begin to enhance their response to victims, we must not forget secondary victims. The focus of
this issue of Critical Response is school violence and preparing for the needs of secondary victims. We
hope you will find the information useful and a necessary aspect of your planned response.
Happy New Year,
Project Manger (Acting)
ASSISTING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO MEET THE NEEDS OF CRIME VICTIMS
PREPARING FOR THE NEEDS continued
An important component in establishing crisis plan- emergency response agencies and rehearsed with
ning teams is clear and complete definitions of roles teachers, principals, staff, volunteers, campus supervi-
and responsibilities for school staff, community mem- sors, school resource officers, students, and parents. “It is also
bers, and law enforcement personnel. These should Local businesses, churches, and other organizations important to
be clearly articulated and assigned in order to enable that can provide staging areas or emergency supplies
everyone at the scene and in the days after to focus should be involved. Teachers and school staff should
their own resources on where they serve best. The FBI be trained in their assigned, and if applicable, back-up and guardians
recommends formalizing and regularly updating these roles during crisis situations. on their roles
agreements about critical incident roles and responsi- during crisis
It is also important to train parents and guardians on
bilities in memoranda of understanding (MOUs).
their roles during crisis situations. Inform them and situations.”
For example, at this stage, incident crisis directors are physically demonstrate to them where they should
identified and back-benched to handle the concerned go in the event of school violence incidents to meet
parties at the scene. Counselors are contacted and with designated spokespersons, where to retrieve
trained to immediately organize their critical incident their children and get information about the status
response. A good resource for crisis counseling is the of the crisis, and what they can do to help during and
National Organization for Victim Assistance Crisis after the crisis. This will not only empower them in an
Response Team,2 which has been credited many times otherwise desperately helpless situation, but will also
with helping emergency responders help secondary ease the burden on the emergency responders who
victims at school violence incidents. work to ensure the safety of their children.
Pre-designated locations are established, depending School environments are relatively fluid. They have
on the nature of the crisis, for personnel to perform periodic large-scale influxes of new students and rely
their roles. Specific individuals are then assigned to on the involvement of temporary, part-time, substi-
take responsibility for communicating these locations tute, and intermittent personnel. To ensure that no
to people who are involved in the incident, to the one is ill prepared because they missed any formal
media, and to the loved ones who converge on the training, supplement training with written materials
scene to check on their well-being. Places to consider and communications that instruct and remind every-
include a designated media contact location and des- one of their specified roles. These materials should
ignated place(s) for parents/guardians to congregate reiterate where to go to be safe and where to get
and receive up to the minute information. information during a crisis. As soon and often as pos-
sible, provide training to new students, volunteers,
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE interns, substitutes, temporary, and part-time person-
In a study of 228 school psychologists3, most reported nel on how to respond to different types of crisis
that their schools had crisis plans (95.1%) and most scenarios.
indicated they had crisis response teams (83.6%).
Many of the psychologists, however, felt that more THE NOT KNOWING IS THE WORST PART
training and experience with practice scenarios would Apart from the immediate needs of the wounded and
strengthen their schools’ abilities to respond to school the situational awareness of emergency responders
violence incidents. and school personnel, three other types of people are
desperate for information as they arrive at school vio-
Once crisis management teams and plans are in place,
lence incidents or monitor them through news cover-
rehearse them with all groups who could be involved
age: friends, family, and the media. An effective law
in a school violence incident. Then, continue to work
enforcement approach for these constituencies can
with crisis management teams, school personnel,
help mitigate the stress and trauma for secondary vic-
and as appropriate, parents and students, in periodic
tims who converge on the incident scene and prevent
reviews, updates, and on-going practice situations.
misinformation from increasing stress and trauma for
All school emergency and evacuation plans should those who must rely on the media for information.
be provided to local law enforcement, fire, and other
continued on page 4
2 For more information visit http://www.trynova.org/crt/
3 Adamson, A.D. & Peacock, G.G. (2007). Crisis response in the public schools: A survey of school psychologists’ experiences and
perceptions. Psychology in the Schools. 44:749-764.
PREPARING FOR THE NEEDS continued
If crisis management plans are in place and carried - letting the public know how they can help
“Commanders out effectively, family, friends, and community mem- (e.g., donate blood, money, services, etc.);
bers at and around the scene should already know or
and front line quickly be directed to pre-designated locations to
- informing victims about the importance and
supervisors locations of grief counseling and other post-
receive information and instructions on what is hap-
should support pening and what they should do. They should receive
frequent, honest, non-contradictory, and non-specu- • Avoiding distracting or impeding the emergency
their personnel response, to include use of the air space above
lative information as the incident transpires.
in first seeing to the incident site.
For those who cannot be on the scene – and even
the well-being for some who are on the scene – the media is their • Respecting the privacy rights of and emotional
of their loved lifeline to information about what took place or may strain on victims and the people connected to
ones involved in be on-going. The media can be one of the most dif- them.
ficult sources of information to manage and feed, and
school violence • Offering to supply helicopters, communications
yet one of the most valuable if handled correctly. equipment, and other resources or services that
incidents before This entails establishing relationships and agreements might aid police or other emergency providers
expecting them with the media before incidents take place and work- to mitigate trauma to victims.
to assume ing with them during and after the incident to ensure
only factual and helpful information is disseminated TAKING CARE OF YOUR OWN
official duties to the public. In planning and preparing for school violence incidents,
at the scene or The IACP has developed useful guidelines4 for work- law enforcement and other emergency responders
afterwards.” ing with the media covering such areas as (1) plan- can take measures to mitigate trauma to their own
ning for media coverage of school violence, and (2) personnel who may have children or other loved ones
guidelines for and management of the media during caught up in the violence. Commanders and front-line
and after school violence crises that are designed to supervisors should support their personnel in first
help ensure the media provides support to all victims seeing to the well-being of their loved ones involved
rather than adding to their trauma. Law enforcement in school violence incidents before expecting them
can work with the media to ensure they offer assis- to assume official duties at the scene or afterwards.
tance and coach and train them to help and do no Plans for these possible scenarios should be discussed
harm by, for example: and trained among all personnel long before an actual
incident takes place.
• Establishing codes of conduct in newsrooms
and holding sessions on the media’s ethical
responsibilities in reporting on school violence
The actions taken after severe acts of violence can
have a major effect on the well being of students and
• Presenting coverage of school violence that the community at large. Law enforcement response in
is factual and balanced using only designated this phase can play a direct role in the healing process
public information officers as the sole source of within the community – to include law enforcement
official information, instead of seeking it from itself – and in building relationships and bonds of
other, potentially less informed or misinformed, trust with its members. As with the critical incident,
personnel. it is difficult to respond in a timely and appropriate
• Informing the public what steps are being taken manner to the aftermath without having a pre-estab-
to help people handle the crisis. lished, detailed plan for the days and months after
school violence incidents. As such, law enforcement
• Communicating helpful information to victims personnel should be prepared to:
and concerned citizens by
• Work with school administrators and their own
- informing parents/guardians where victim law enforcement units to recognize the need for
information can be obtained; counseling at the incident and afterwards in the
short-term and long-term.
4 For more complete information visit http://www.theiacp.org/pubinfo/pubs/pslc/svmedia.htm
continued on page 5
ASSISTING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO MEET THE NEEDS OF CRIME VICTIMS
• As much as possible, keep in contact with injured CONCLUSION
victims and/or surviving family members. Provide The majority of the good work dealing with the prob-
support for and participate in memorial services lem of school violence tends to focus on the need to
and events, to include a public ceremony to sym- prevent incidents through recognition of and response
bolize closure of the mourning period and control to potential indicators of violent intent and the
media access to it. Ensure someone patrols at the consequent tragedy for the wounded and deceased,
home of the deceased victims and perpetrators should it transpire. School violence incidents are a
during funerals and/or memorial services to pre- vortex and a multiplier of other types of victims,
vent against theft, vandalism, etc. who may experience trauma trying to respond to the
• Hold meetings to provide school personnel and complexities inherent to such scenes and experience
affected community members with information stress, horror, and grief as they converge on them.
related to the crisis, eliminate rumors, advise Continued attention to the full range of victims in
them of next steps and on what they can accu- school violence incidents will both better prepare
rately say. Develop written statements for teach- schools and communities for future events as well as
ers to read in class and to send to parents. Provide ensure that responses are appropriately encompassing
schools with a central point of contact in the law and empathetic for all involved.
enforcement department who will answer ques- Dr. Kelly Buck is a sociologist with over 20 years
tions and address concerns. Encourage students experience in applied analytics. She has a bachelor’s
and school employees to participate in aftermath degree from Wichita State University and a master’s
debriefings. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. She is currently a
• Undertake and coordinate critique of the depart- civil servant with the Department of Defense, Defense
ment’s response after a serious incident of school Personnel Security Research Center (PERSEREC), where
violence. Facilitate meetings where teachers, she has conducted research since 1999. Prior to joining
staff, students, and parents/guardians who were the civil service, Dr. Buck was an organizational behav-
involved can express their thoughts on how law ior consultant in Silicon Valley, a senior analyst for
enforcement handled the incident. Identify areas the Office of the Desegregation Compliance Monitor
in need of improvement. for the 9 th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Jose, and a
• Evaluate whether open community forums should
be initiated for people to air their concerns about
the tragedy or other issues pertaining to school
Save The Date
NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS WEEK
25 YEARS OF REBUILDING LIVES:
CELEBRATING THE VICTIMS OF CRIME ACT
APRIL 26–MAY 2, 2009
For more info on events visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/ncvrw/welcome.html
Fifth National Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)
FIFTH NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT RESPONSE TEAM (SART)
The Fifth National SART Training Conference organized by the Sexual Assault Resource
Service (SARS) with funding from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) at the Office of
Justice Programs within the U.S. Department of Justice, will be held May 27-29, 2009 at
The Westin Seattle in Seattle, Washington.
It is anticipated that as many as 1000 SART professionals from across the nation will
gather for this unique multidisciplinary training conducted by leading experts from each
of the SART disciplines. The three day conference will feature 57 workshops, five keynote
addresses and an exhibition hall of non-profit and corporate exhibitors. The conference
will provide valuable learning experiences and networking opportunities for law enforce-
ment, sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) and other medical examiners, advocates,
prosecutors, and crime lab specialists.
For information on the 2009 SART Team Scholarship Application visit www.sane-sart.com
Available in Print or USB Flash Drive!
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in collaboration with the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) at the Office
of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, has developed a new industry standard - Enhancing Law Enforcement Response
to Victims. Referred to as the Strategy Package, this three volume resource will help your agency implement an all-encompass-
ing, comprehensive response to victims of crime. The Strategy Package is FREE to law enforcement!
Volume 1 – A 21st Century Strategy intro- Volume 2 – The Implementation Guide Volume 3 – The Resource Toolkit contains
duces state, local, and tribal law enforcement consists of four sections, which outline the templates to aid in the implementation of the
leaders to the benefits, challenges, meth- steps to take to implement the strategy. It steps in Volume 2. In the Toolkit you will find
ods, and responsibilities for enhancing their instructs law enforcement agencies how to sample documents and materials developed
response to victims of crime. It discusses the identify their goals and measurements of suc- by the pilot and validation sites that may be
evolution of enhanced victim response, sum- cess, gather pertinent information, develop adapted for your own use. It includes such
marizes its four core elements (leadership, part- action plans, and sustain the effort in the long resources as revised mission statements, sched-
nering, training, and performance monitoring), term. The Guide operationally bridges the gap ules and process descriptions, key stakeholder
identifies the seven critical needs of victims, between the concepts outlined in the Strategy interview questions, sample action plans,
and illustrates the importance of community and the existing templates in the Resource Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and
partnerships. It contains an inspiring message Toolkit. It is the document to which you will partnership agreements, policies and proce-
from the chiefs of the three agencies that pilot- refer most often during the implementation dures relating to victim response, steps toward
ed the strategy and a summary of the project process. personnel buy-in and performance appraisals,
history and cycle. informational brochures provided to crime vic-
tims, press releases, Web site samples, and links
to numerous victim-related resources.
|6| For more information on the Strategy Package or to request your copy contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASSISTING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO MEET THE NEEDS OF CRIME VICTIMS
PROGRAMS, INITIATIVES, Leadership Tools for
PUBLICATIONS, and TRAININGS Law Enforcement:
International Association of Chiefs of Police Research Center
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
offers The Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Products, 5th Edition
Violence. The report offers a community centered approach
to crisis planning and prevention, roles during and after a A compilation CD that presents all of the key research and
major crisis, legal considerations, and media recommenda- policy products of the IACP’s Research Center over the past
tions. fifteen years. Products are divided into categories (leadership,
Visit http://www.theiacp.org/LinkClick for a free copy. summits, research, etc.) that help the user find products of
Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy
As a result of the incident that occurred at Virginia Tech in Table of Contents
April 2007 the Department of Health and Human Services, • Gun Violence Reduction
Department of Education and Department of Justice pub- • Information/Intelligence Sharing
lished a Report to the President on the Issues Raised by • New Chief Mentoring
the Virginia Tech Tragedy. The 26 page report covers key • National Policy Summits
findings, common themes and observations, and recom- • Police Administration & Leadership
mendations based upon the outcomes of the incident.
• Smaller departments
To review this report, visit www.hhs.gov/vtreport.pdf.
COPS Initiatives • Victim Services
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), • Violence Against Women
U.S. Department of Justice, offers various resources on the • Training Opportunities
topic of campus and school safety.
Contact (703) 836-6767 ext.392 to obtain your free copy.
Just click on “Resource Information Center (RIC)” at the COPS web
site located at www.cops.usdoj.gov.
PARTNERSHIPS FOR SAFE SCHOOLS
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), in cooperation with the Office on Juvenile Justice Delinquency
Prevention (OJJDP), offers this two-day course to prepare diverse teams of stakeholders to implement or strengthen existing
safe school plans that enhance the protection and well being of students, school personnel, and the community surrounding
schools. Through interactive discussions, case study exercises, and individualized action planning, participants obtain practical
skills they can apply immediately on the job. Workshop topics include:
• Forming a School Safety Team
• Assessing the Safety of your School
• Developing Prevention and Intervention Strategies
• Lessening the Possibility of, Preparing for, Responding to, and Recovering from a Crisis
• Analyzing your Safe School Plan
This course is designed for law enforcement officers, school officials, and juvenile justice stakeholders assigned to school
safety information sharing teams. While all participants may find value in this training, it is best suited for officials who can act
as change agents (i.e., who can recommend or implement the school safety plan) upon returning to their jurisdictions.
Contact the IACP Juvenile Justice Training and Technical Assistance project at email@example.com for more information.
International Association of Chiefs of Police
515 N. Washington St.
Alexandria VA, 22314
March 2009 National Victim Assistance Academy
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) in the U.S. training lays the groundwork for building a career in the
Department of Justice sponsors the National Victim victim services field.
Assistance Academy (NVAA). The NVAA is comprised of
education and skill-based classroom trainings for those Track 2, Professional Skill-Building Institute, focuses on time-
who assist victims and survivors of crime. ly, specific topics that have a direct impact on provider’s
Following a formal evaluation in 2003, the NVAA was work. The specialized training courses, such as compas-
redesigned to better address the skills and abilities that sion fatigue/vicarious trauma, ethics in victim services,
are required of victim service professionals. The revised and providing culturally competent services to victims of
NVAA was launched in 2007 and includes three distinct crime, are for those who have been in the victim services
tracks tailored to the needs of each participant. All field for at least 2 years. Track 2 is 5 days.
three tracks will be offered during the week-long 2009 Track 3, Leadership Institute, helps administrators and lead-
Academy. ers build and refine the necessary skills to effectively
Participants are now eligible to receive CEUs for their manage their programs. The courses are specifically
MARCH 2009 NATIONAL VICTIM New
designed to help victim service administrators and leaders
attendance and completion of Tracks 1, 2, or 3.
ASSISTANCE ACADEMY develop and refine their skills and abilities to manage and
Track 1, Foundation-Level Training, is an intensive 5-day sustain their victim service programs. Track 3 is 5 days.
MARCH 1-6, 2009 training for those who have less than 3 years of experi-
For more information about the NVAA visit
ence in the victim services field and who work directly
with victims. This training provides entry-level profession- www.ovcttac.gov/TrainingCenter/TrainingFactSheet.
AMERICAN AIRLINES TRAINING & CONFERENCE pdf and www.ovcttac.gov/nvaa/
als and volunteers with knowledge, skills, and resources to
CENTER DALLAS/FT. WORTH, TEXAS AREA
serve victims and survivors of crime more effectively. The
This document, Critical Response Winter 2009, was produced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police under grant number 2003-VF-GX-K004, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of
Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official
position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.