March 22, 2022 | WCAX
Rachel Mann, Multimedia Journalist
WATERBURY, Vt. (WCAX) – Vermont State Police expanded their victim services in June to a two-person department comprised of social workers. They work tirelessly to make sure people impacted by crime get the support they need.
“We will work with the victims for as long as needed,” said Kate Brayton, the director of VSP Victim Services.
They respond to major crimes such as arson, homicides, armed burglaries and missing persons, alongside investigators.
They’re on the scene making sure the needs of those impacted are being met.
“In the middle of having an acute stress response, in the middle of being really impacted, they are asked to do things and make decisions and engage in the investigation,” Brayton explained. “It’s really good to have somebody there who is looking out for their emotional well-being.”
While investigators focus on solving crimes, they focus on the victims.
Brayton and VSP Victim Service Specialist Amy Farr connect people to resources like emergency housing and long-term mental health care, giving a sense of stability during uncertain times.
“The investigation itself is really intrusive and so one of the things that we can do is just help explain the process and what it looks like, and what’s going to happen next to the best that we can,” Farr said.
Both of them say every situation is different, so victims choose which supports to take advantage of.
“Our role is really to meet with people and see what is going to help them most at that time, even though they’re navigating a really challenging situation that they might not have a lot of control over,” Farr continued.
Brayton says she hopes to see the team eventually expand.
“The state police are charged with protecting and serving,” Brayton explained. “I see us as in service to people in our community that are harmed by crime. We work with a really good team of investigators and their job is to solve the crime and our job is to care for the people who are impacted by that crime.”
Brayton and Farr also work with investigators to make sure proper information is getting relayed to them.
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