Crisis Intervention Crisis intervention is a proven effective method that is used by trained advocates to assist individuals who have been victimized or have experienced a traumatic event. The purpose of providing crisis intervention is to allow the victim to begin regaining the control that was lost as a result of their victimization. Crisis intervention entails two simple yet crucial actions, listening and talking. This includes but is not limited to, assessing the victims’ safety and creating safety plans, normalizing the victims’ emotions, assessing basic needs such as clothing, food and shelter, and informing the victim about the investigative and judicial process. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Justice, “when advocates can offer coordinated, early, victim-focused interventions, victims are more likely to participate in court-proceedings, access community-based advocacy programs and report decreases in distress, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, depression and fear.” Victim Assistance Program provides crisis intervention through a variety of ways: crime scene response While on scene, a police officer has tasks to complete and the victim cannot be the officer's primary focus. Therefore, officers request advocates to help alleviate some of the victims’ emotional concerns and questions. Advocates have been trained to help the victim in conjunction with the officer. The investigation is of the utmost importance and advocates will not interfere or hinder the investigation; we are not there to provide any facts about the case to the victim. We are there to provide emotional support, education about the police and investigative process, act as a liaison with the police and provide crisis intervention. In addition to the police, fire departments, medical examiner’s offices and local hospitals contact us to meet with victims in their jurisdiction. death notification The Summit County Medical Examiner or the local police department has the job of telling loved ones that a family member has died. Due to the trauma that many family members endure from hearing such devastating news, Victim Assistance staff is often asked to accompany law enforcement to someone’s home, the hospital or the medical examiner’s office to support the victim and, in some cases, provide the notification. The advocate’s primary goal after providing or witnessing a death notification is to ensure the individual has a dependable support system in place. As we strongly suggest individuals are not left alone after hearing such news, advocates may help individuals contact family members or friends and ask them to come to the individual’s aid. There are many details to consider surrounding the burial and/or investigation surrounding a death. The advocate will contact the family the following day to address any immediate questions or concerns. individualized crisis intervention Crisis intervention occurs both in person and via phone. Volunteers, interns and staff answer our 24-hour crisis hotline, which is based out of our main office in Akron, to provide crisis intervention based on the caller’s needs. In addition to support via our hotline, advocates assist individuals who arrive at any one of our four service locations. An appointment is not required. group crisis intervention Victim Assistance Program facilitates structured group intervention sessions, adopted from the National Organization for Victim Assistance, which have been proven to be effective in helping communities address the aftermath of a victimization and/or tragedy. Scheduled group interventions address communities or large groups (ideal size is 20-25) but can be provided to groups of varying sizes. Depending on the group, a session can last anywhere from 1 ½ hours to 3 hours to ensure everyone has the opportunity to speak. The goal of the session is to “guide the release of the emotional steam,” provide an opportunity for peer group validations of individual reactions, establish social support within the group, rebuild a sense of community bond, educate the group about trauma and its aftermath, and affirm hope for the future. police and incident report follow up The Akron Police Department and the Summit County Sheriff’s Department provide Victim Assistance Program with police and incidents reports on a daily basis. Advocates, interns and volunteers contact victims listed on the reports to assess their safety, see how they are doing and offer any assistance we can provide. Victim Assistance encourages every Summit County police department to contact an advocate if we can be of assistance in following up with victims. click here to view our moving video produced and donated by Mosher Media Mosher Media has generously produced our videos to enable Victim Assistance to "tell our story." Each year, grateful clients show their appreciation and desire to give back to our agency by providing testimony about the services they received. We are enormously grateful to Mosher Media and our clients for their willingness to help us spread the word about our critical services.