13.00.020 OFFICER RESPONSIBILITY - VICTIM/WITNESS PROGRAM
Victims and witnesses sometimes ask for assistance information before an investigation has occurred. The Department will have available a victim/witness assistance information resource on a 24-hour basis through NORCOM, the Records Unit and field supervisors’ office. The Police Records Unit will be available provide information during standard business hours.
When officers come into contact with a victim, officers will provide their business card which includes a 24-hour Department phone number where the victim/witness may leave a message for the officer. Officers should attempt to provide referral phone numbers the victim might need, or be able to direct the victim to a resource for obtaining such numbers. Resource information can be found in the “Where to Turn” directory published by King County Health and Human Services, available in the Records Unit, and from a field supervisor.
If a victim/witness is not in immediate need and has Internet access, officers may refer them to http://www.crisisclinic.org, a 24-hour Internet resource for human services information within King County. The Crisis Line also operates a telephone line available 24/7. This number is available to the public at (206) 461-3222.
Victim/witness information will be provided by officers responsible for conducting an initial criminal investigation.
The information should be case-specific and include:
v Information which identifies those agencies capable of delivering the necessary services for counseling, medical attention, compensation programs, or victim advocacy
v Information relating to a course of action if the victim is threatened or intimidated by the suspect
v The case report number and information on how the case will be processed
v Telephone number(s) to be called to report additional information and/or receive information regarding case status
In situations where the follow-up investigator initiates victim/witness assistance, the investigator should address:
v Periodic follow-up with victims and witnesses to ensure that appropriate and needed assistance is provided
v Procedures involved in prosecution and their roles, provided this information will not compromise the case
v Scheduling line-ups, interviews, and other required appearances at the victim's or witness's convenience and providing transportation if necessary
v Facilitating the return of property taken as evidence when possible
v Rendering assistance contacting a victim/witness advocate if warranted. The King County Prosecutor's Victim/Witness Advocacy Program may also be used as a resource to assist in advocacy
In domestic violence cases the officer will provide the victim the resources to contact the Department Legal Advocate assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit.