Victim Assistance Training (VAT) Online has four sections: Basics, Core Competencies and Skills, Crimes, and Specific Considerations for Providing Victim Services.
The case manager performs multiple roles as point person, victim advocate, and facilitator of communication to help the victim navigate complex criminal justice and social service systems. Task forces should ensure that any strategies for providing services include case management, as it is vital to ensure that victims do not fall through the cracks of the multiple systems involved in their treatment and care.
Identification of primary case manager. There may be different agencies involved in case management based on the characteristics and needs of an identified victim. It is helpful in these situations to identify a primary case manager for each victim to streamline communication between various victim service providers and with law enforcement partners.
Protection of victims' rights and informed consent. It is important to review documents related to these concepts on a consistent basis. Even when a consent form is signed, it is useful to remind the victim verbally of this fact prior to sharing a new piece of information with an outside agency. This reminds victims of their choices and control over their personal information.
Goal setting and individualized service planning. The best service plan is in the survivor's own words and is not standardized. Quality service plans are survivor-driven because each survivor is different.
Initial and ongoing assessments. These assessments are necessary to identify each victim's accomplishments and strengths and current or new service priorities in need of support.
Locating appropriate resources and services. Make sure that any referrals offered to victims espouse a similar commitment to client-centered, trauma-informed support services.
Review of roles and responsibilities. Keep in mind that many new people have just been introduced to the victim. It is important to regularly review the roles of the case manager, attorney, investigator, prosecutor, and others.
Monitoring circumstances that may impact the victim's safety. Safety planning should be conducted at every meeting with a victim.
Clinical case conference reviews. Case conferences should be held to review the progress, needs, and impediments to safety or self-sufficiency experienced by victims. The case conference may involve the victim.
Communicating and following up with professionals within criminal justice and/or social service systems. Advocate on behalf of the victim as needed to help reduce barriers and monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention in meeting the victim's needs and achieving the client's goals.
Identification of service gaps. Case conferences can provide the opportunity to identify service gaps and strategize possible referrals to new providers to ensure comprehensive victim assistance. These issues also may be broached more broadly by the victim services committee to increase the investment and solicit the expertise in creating a more comprehensive response by the task force to any and all victims.
Regular case coordination meetings. Depending on the complexity of the case and the needs of the victim, the case manager, along with the victim's attorney, and other individuals providing different services to the victim, may meet on a regular basis. These meetings can help ensure that the victim's needs are being met and provide accurate updates about the case status to everyone involved. This may include various nongovernmental victim service providers and system-based individuals, as well as child protection and/or law enforcement officers. In such cases, it is critical to clearly define limitations on what can and cannot be shared among the different participants to protect victim confidentiality.
For additional information and tools, visit the Resource page for Section 4.3 The Vital Role of Case Management & Service Planning.