A Study of the Resources Provided by Police Departments in Maricopa County to Victims Left Behind After a Domestic Homicide
The purpose of this study was to investigate: 1) within police departments in Maricopa County, exactly who helps the families left behind after a domestic homicide occurs? 2) What kind of short-term resources are offered by the police to immediately help the family and any children affected? And 3) are long-term services provided to the family and children of domestic homicide victims, and if not, to where is the family referred? To answer these questions, employees from each of the 14 city police departments in Maricopa County were interviewed. Participants answered a serious of both open-ended and scale questions either via email or over the phone. This study found that all police departments in cities of Maricopa County (with the exception of Litchfield Park, which is covered by the Sherriff's Office) have what is referred to as a Victim Services Unit. This is a small team comprised of social workers and other employees specifically trained to provide a continuation of support to victims from the crisis period through the investigative and judicial processes. In terms of services provided, this study found that most of the services offered to victims through police departments in Maricopa County are short-term in nature and fall under one of the following categories: On-scene crisis intervention and initial needs-assessments, immediate basic needs and referrals, financial resources, counseling, family advocacy centers, legal advocacy and assistance with the criminal process, or Child Protective Services. Results also indicated a positive relationship between city size and the amount of resources provided to victims after a homicide. Finally, in regards to long-term resources, this study found in general, all long-term needs are handled by social service agencies and non-profits, which victims are connected to by police departments after a needs assessment has been conducted. Based on these findings, a number of recommendations were made to Purple Ribbon Council, a domestic abuse prevention and supportive care non-profit that were designed to help Purple Ribbon Council increase its reach and effectiveness.