The Volunteer Victim Advocate program was created in response to the needs of grieving families after a traumatic loss. Unexpected deaths often leave families to pick up the pieces and navigate complicated systems without guidance. Volunteer Victim Advocates respond to scenes of unexpected deaths to assist first responders, provide information, and support surviving loved ones. The Volunteer Victim Advocates come from all walks of life. Though there are social workers and mental health clinicians in the group, experience in these or related fields is not required. No matter their background, the Volunteer Victim Advocates are united by their desire to be of service to their community and a deep empathy for families experiencing loss.
Volunteer Victim Advocate Requirements:
- Successfully pass the interview and background process
- Complete the initial training and certification process
- Possess a valid driver's license and reliable transportation
- Availability to cover a 12-hour on-call shift at least once per month
- Commitment to obtaining 12 hours of continuing education each year
- Commitment to upholding the dignity of those served by maintaining confidentiality, meeting people where they are, and providing compassionate, non-directive assistance
- Ability to respond to scenes in the city limits of Grand Rapids within 30 minutes
The GRPD covers costs for uniforms, PPE, travel, and training. Volunteers also have access to internal emotional support services as needed.
For more information, contact Julie Niemchick, Crime Prevention Coordinator, (616) 456-3363 or Clorissa Novak, Victim Services Coordinator, (616) 456-3360