NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department has added three certified social workers in an effort to increase support victims of crime.
The socials workers will work directly with the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Districts.
They will provide counseling, referrals, information on the criminal justice system, victim advocacy and crisis intervention.
"This is an important and amazing opportunity for the NOPD because it shows the department's continuous progress toward community engagement and concern for victims of crime," said NOPD Victim & Witness Assistance Unit Coordinator Rhonda Hill.
The department was able to create the advocate positions after applying for a Victims of Crime Act grant, which is a federal grant designed to help victims and victim service providers with funding in accordance with the Office of Victims of Crimes, according to the report.
The fund is a special mandatory spending account dedicated solely to helping victims of all types of crimes.
"Often times, we focus on making sure perpetrators are brought to justice but we can't forget about victims of crime and assisting them with their return to normalcy after being impacted by a major crime or traumatic experience," said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. "With full-time social workers now in three of our police districts, we can continue to build community trust and provide victims with the resources they need to move forward."
The addition will also free up time for district officers so they can concentrate more on preventing and investigating crimes. The advocates will not respond to crime scenes but will be working during normal business hours in the three district and will be available for walk-in victims seeking services.
The fund for this service is the only federal funding program supporting victim assistance services for victims of all types of crimes, crime victim compensation, services for victims of federal crimes and international and domestic terrorism and mass violence.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a violent crime, encourage them to contact NOPD's Victim Witness Assistance Unit at 504-658-6795.