SURVIVOR - LAW ENFORCEMENT RELATIONS
In assisting families through the grief and loss period of homicide we
have seen different attitudes in law enforcement. The majority of law enforcement we have encountered are professional,
educated and compassionate. While others who feel pressure can project that onto the families causing further heartache, anger
and uncertainty; making it almost impossible to trust or communicate.
How survivors are approached and told of the event which took their
loved ones life and how they are treated throughout the investigation is crucial. Law enforcement (LE) can make a positive
impact on the co-victims and help their case, or a negative impact sending them into a downward spiral causing them to
withdrawal or to over react.
LE should be able to provide community resources to survivors. These will help them with crime victims
comp., mental health and any other assistance needed.
It is understandable and a must that information in cases be kept
from the media to protect the prosecutors case and protect co-victims. The families as well will be told some,
not all of a case. This can be explained to survivors in a reasonable manner.
We suggest families appoint one family member (friend) who can be the contact
person for that family communicating with LE and media. Victims are looking for answers such as, what will come next?
How can I be safe and who do I contact if I have information or need help? A LE contact telephone number is vital to
Families with unsolved murders are sometimes looked at as suspects. LE
always starts with the inside family and works out. This is understandable. Cooperation is key so families can be cleared
and cases can move forward. If you feel threatened or falsely accused you may request an attorney.
Co-victim can ask for a meeting with the prosecutor and ask any questions
they have. In setting up such meetings we have seen all the players present, prosecutors and LE. Although all questions could
not be answered, they were heard and treated with concern. When the family left they knew what was coming next.
Most all County Prosecutors Offices have a Crime Victims Advocate who can help explain the case to
you. Understand time they spend on co-victims is limited because of case loads. This is when the local Community Advocate
which most mental health offices have can help. See our For Victims and Survivors page.
Families should also remember that it takes special people with huge hearts
to do this type of law enforcement work. One must have patients and respect for everyone working the case. Know
that it takes time to put cases together and locate perpetrators. Cases are not usually solved in 48 hours.