By: Assistant Commissioner Gary Worboys
Being a victim of crime is usually a traumatic experience especially for victims of violent offences.
As first responders the safety and welfare of all victims is the first priority for police.
While the physical and economic damage may be immediately obvious, it is the emotional and psychological trauma that follows that is the critical problem for tomorrow. It is therefore essential that we show the utmost respect and empathy to victims whilst also providing a highly professional service.
A professional service is more than taking a report of the crime on day one. It is the job of the officer to whom the crime is reported to keep victims informed of any developments. This includes updates about the investigation or any arrests made.
Alternatively, we need to inform victims if their matter cannot be taken any further and the reasons why.
It is the officer’s responsibility to do everything they can to solve the crime and attempt to locate and return any stolen property and if the offender is arrested, our job is not complete.
The prosecution process requires constant communication between our officer and victim. The victim will not be aware of the mechanics of the court process and it is up to us to assist victims with preparing for court and ensuring they are always informed of when their matter is on. Of course, like anything in policing there is other assistance we can obtain for victims. There are numerous government and non-government victim service agencies which can help.
Victim Services, an arm of the Department of Attorney General can provide advice, counselling and victim compensation.
As a golden rule we strive to fully understand the plight of victims. We try to put ourselves in their shoes and provide the same empathy, professionalism, courtesy and respect that we would expect if we were a victim of crime.