13.00.010     VICTIM/WITNESS ASSISTANCE                      (CALEA Chapter 55)


The Department will assist victims and witnesses of crimes within its jurisdiction consistent with their role in the investigation or prosecution.  The Department will strive to assure that the personal rights and safety of the victim or witness are protected by its actions.


Victim/Witness Advocacy


The Department will conduct any victim/witness assistance practices in accordance with Washington State Law as specified in the following:


v     Revised Code of Washington - Chapter 7.68 entitled "Victims of Crimes-Compensation, Assistance"


v     Revised Code of Washington - Chapter 10.99 entitled "Domestic Violence-Official Response"


v     Washington Administrative Code - Chapter 296-30 entitled "Rules for the Administration of the Crime Victim Compensation Program"


Policy/Procedure Development


Through analysis of the appropriate questions in the community survey conducted by the Department, the Department will identify and develop a plan to address unmet victim/witness needs.  This information will be shared with appropriate human services agencies as necessary.


Providing Assistance      (CALEA 1.1.3)


Department personnel will, when providing victim/witness assistance, give full consideration to victim/witness rights.  Referrals will be made when requested or as necessary depending on the needs of the victim.  The Department will work in cooperation with social agencies as needed to provide victim/witness services in an expedient and confidential manner.  The Department will assist recognized and licensed or approved social service diversion programs as time and resources permit. 


Areas encompassed by these programs include, but are not limited to:


v     Drug abuse


v     Domestic violence


v     Juvenile delinquency


v     Salvation Army Voucher Program


v     Working with the Juvenile court system for social services referrals


v     Working with school district counselors for social services referrals


v     Working with counselors with Youth Eastside Services and troubled youth


v     Parks Department and social service agency summer camp programs.


v     Providing meeting room space to Eastside Domestic Violence advocates


v     Providing a representative to the City’s Human Services Committee


v     Coordinating interviews for child sexual assault victims with Eastside Sexual Assault Center for Children


The Department will inform the public and media about available victim/witness assistance services when requested.  Release of information will be accomplished through the office of the Public Information Officer. 


Information Sharing


If analysis of customer survey data related to victim/witness services indicates a need to meet with local and/or regional government associated with victim/witness advocacy, a Department representative appointed from the Investigations Section will initiate contact to address the following issues:


v     Sharing of accurate, up-to-date victim/witness advocacy information


v     To solicit suggestions or learn of procedures used by other agencies that may be useful in delivering victim/witness services


v     To obtain recommendations to improve delivery of victim/witness services


Assistance When Victim/Witness is Threatened or Intimidated


The Department will render assistance to victims and witnesses who have received threats.  If assistance is not reasonable for the Department to provide, other measures may be taken which may include arranging placement in a "Safe Home", expediting a referral to another law enforcement agency, or contacting a victim's advocate with the King County Prosecutor's office or social service agency.  The Violent Crimes Unit will attempt to contact the victim of all domestic violence incidents where an arrest has been made.  The contact should be made within 24 hours of the reported domestic violence incident if possible.


The Legal Advocate will provide victim information in obtaining any necessary court orders such as:


v     Order Prohibiting Contact (RCW 10.99.050)


v     Order for Protection (RCW 26.50.07)


v     Anti-Harassment Order (RCW 9A.46)


Victim/Witness Support - Arrest/Post Arrest of Suspect 


Upon arrest and during post-arrest processing of a suspect, the Department will attempt to notify the victims and witnesses of community sensitive crimes of the suspect's arrest, charges and the arrestee's custody status and changes thereto including the  release of the suspect if it is known to this agency.


Security and confidentiality of victim/witness files and records will be preserved in accordance with state law.