Laboratory Three

Assessing Victim Service Needs

A Skills Building Exercise



In previous chapters, students have learned about the impact of various crimes upon victims. The needs of crime victims will vary, due to many different factors, including: age, race, language, or culture of the victim; relationship to the perpetrator; nature of the crime; psychological impact of the crime; age and location of the offender; and the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred.

This is an exercise that provides students with the opportunity to integrate their knowledge and understanding of the impact of crime on victims, the information and service needs of crime victims, and students' understanding of the criminal justice system.

To complete this exercise, students will select one of the victim descriptions listed below and work as a Team with a Laboratory Group to develop an Advocacy and Referral Plan for the victim(s).

The plan should include a systematic assessment of the impact of the crime upon the victim(s); the service needs that the victim(s) may have; the best options for referral; and a plan for delivery of the appropriate services that the victim(s) may need for a six month period following the crime.

Each Team will have 25 minutes to complete the Advocacy and Referral Plan. At the close of the Team exercise, each Team will report to the entire class and describe the essential elements of its Advocacy and Referral Plan.

Descriptions of Crime Victims in Need of Services:

1) A seven-year-old girl complains to her teacher that her stepfather, a member of the U.S. military, keeps touching her with his "privates." The school on the base has called the military authorities. The mother denies that abuse has taken place. What is the Plan?

2) Four members of a Vietnamese-American family -- a mother, two of her children and two nieces (aged 3 to 8 years) -- were hit by a drunk driver while they were standing at a bus station. The nieces were visiting from across town. Four of the victims have died. The eight-year-old daughter -- who speaks very limited English -- is in critical condition. What is the Plan?

3) The friend of a 22-year-old woman, who is a student from Lebanon, has just called to report that her friend was assaulted by someone who came into her apartment when she was sleeping. She was tied up, raped, beaten, and left for dead. The friend has just found her and called 911. What is the Plan?

4) A Native American domestic violence victim with two children, ages 4 and 6, has called the tribal police because her ex-husband was brandishing a gun, threatening her children and her. This is not the first call to the house. The victim has a standing order of protection from the tribal court. What is the Plan?

5) An elderly man has just been shot while sitting on the front porch of his inner city home after dinner. His wife of 52 years calls 911 when she hears the shots down the street. The man, a veteran, dies on his way to the hospital. His widow has no children, and no immediate family members in the community. What is the Plan?

6) A young woman has called the precinct nearest her to see whether she can do anything to keep the man who has been following her away from her house. He works in the same federal building with her, and won't take no for an answer. He is upset because she will not go out with him on a date. What is the Plan?

7) Two men leaving a coffeehouse are accosted by a group of seven juvenile males. After being verbally taunted and spit on, the men are physically assaulted and robbed. The manager of the coffeehouse, after calling the police, states that "these same kids have threatened some of my male clientele before." Law enforcement arrive and call for ambulances, which take the two men to the hospital for emergency treatment. What is the Plan?

8) An elderly woman is befriended by a young woman who, for several months, helps around the house, runs errands, and drives her to appointments and church. When young woman advises her elderly companion to invest her life savings in a "foolproof" investment involving property to be developed in the Nevada desert as a retirement community, the elderly woman readily gives her $65,000 in a cashier's check. The young woman departs to "finalize the investment." When the elderly woman does not hear from her companion for two weeks, she calls the police. What is the Plan?

9) A young businessman is held hostage, physically assaulted and raped in a hotel room. After the hotel manager calls the police, a housekeeper whispers to the victim that "this type of horrible crime happened last year. They were supposed to fix the locks and beef up security, but they didn't!" Police arrive, followed by an ambulance, which takes the victim to the hospital, where he is met by a rape crisis counselor. The responding officer interviews hotel employees, including the housekeeper. What is the Plan?

10) A young bank teller, who started work at a large metropolitan bank six weeks ago, assists a customer who proceeds to tell her that he has a gun. The robber threatens to kill her if she doesn't turn over her money, and takes her hostage, holding his gun to her head until he gets outside the door of the bank. She is a single mother of two pre-school children who, until she began work at the bank, was looking for steady employment for over six months. The teller is afraid to go back to work, but is also afraid to lose her job. What is the Plan?

Back to NVAA

Archive iconThe information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.