The Belton Victim Services Unit was started in 1990's by the Belton Police Department. The purpose and the goal of the unit is to provide services to crime victims and their families. There was also need in this community and the surrounding areas for a safe place for battered women and their children, and through a grant from the Department of Family Services a temporary safehouse was established.
The unit was manned at first by volunteers and interns from the local college. When interns were not available, officers from the department were assigned to fulfill the necessary jobs. At present it is staffed by a full time Coordinator and two part time advocates.
Though the unit deals mostly with victims of domestic violence it is a victim services unit and helps victims of rape, strong arm robberies, and homicide. The advocates also accompany victims of crimes to court and grand jury hearings in Harrisonville and Warrensburg.
We are located within the Belton Police Department, but also work closely with the Harrisonville Shelter for Battered Women. Officers know that in any situation, they can call for an advocate if the victim needs extra caretaking. This may included placing the victim in a safe place, transporting the victim or in some cases watching the children while the victim is with the officer. In some cases we respond directly and immediately to the victim's location. In other cases, we follow-up by phone, letter or personal visit within a day or so. In dealing with most cases we send out general case information, crime prevention material and Victims Compensation information (when applicable). Victims of domestic violence receive information on abuse, local shelters, expert information, options and referrals.
Our primary purpose is crisis intervention and short term support. We give out referrals hoping victims will seek out the long term support they may need. Many people need only to know that someone cares and will provide them with information and compassion.