Victim Services Provision during COVID-19: How Law Enforcement Agencies Are Responding to Victims' Needs during the Pandemic
This conference workshop presentation discusses the shift in how law enforcement-based victim services personnel serve victims during the COVID-19 pandemic. As cities, counties, and states were issuing emergency orders to close business, schools, and urge all to remain at home, reports of criminal activity decreased. Law enforcement-based victim services personnel, many of whom were working from home, had to develop new practices to serve victims of crime that included victim safety, privacy, and accessibility. As Zoom meetings and PPE became household phrases and daily occurrences for many, some law enforcement-based victim services personnel shifted their model of service to continue to serve victims, witnesses, survivors, and co-victims of crime.
Reno, Nevada, Police Department
Adapted Services, Salt Lake City, Utah, Police Department
Wendy Isom is the Supervisor of the Salt Lake City Police Department Victim Advocate Program. She holds a B.S. of Psychology from the University of Utah. Ms. Isom has worked with victims of crime for 20+ years in community and systems based victim service programs. Wendy is a member of the Utah Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee and a founding member of the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center. She has experience writing and managing grants from numerous local, state, and federal entities and supervises a team of student interns and 12 Victim Advocates. Ms. Isom has 15+ years of experience as a trainer: providing education to law enforcement and military officers, criminal justice system personnel, youth in school and corrections facilities, as well as victim services in community, government, and NGO training settings. Wendy is the recipient of various awards including the SL Domestic Violence Council's Peace on Earth Award, SLCPD Civilian of the Year and the Police Meritorious Service Medal.
Project Manager, IACP
Emily Burton-Blank, MSW is a Project Manager at the International Association of Chiefs of Police, focusing primarily on the Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services Program (LEV). Previously, Ms. Burton-Blank has served in both system- and community-based advocacy capacities. This includes as an advocate with the Houston Police Department (Houston, Texas), where she helped develop and implement victim notification strategies in previously cold sexual assault cases. Ms. Burton-Blank has also worked as an advocate with the YWCA Regional Sexual Assault Center in St. Louis, Missouri and as a court-based advocate in Pittsburgh, PA. Ms. Burton-Blank has served as a subject matter expert on BJA's National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), where she represented the advocacy lens on the Interactive Scenario Training for community response to sexual assault. Ms. Burton-Blank holds a Master of Social Work degree.