Q: What is Victim Relief?
A: Victim Relief is a faith-based organization committed to giving physical, emotional and spiritual support to victims, assisting in restoration to a normal life. The organization is interdenominational, and works in concert with business, community, and civic organizations. To work effectively, Victim Relief maintains an extensive volunteer and chaplain training program.
Q: Who is served by Victim Relief?
A: Victims of physical violence or emotional / spiritual trauma, whether the violence or trauma results from criminal actions, terrorist strike, or natural disaster.
Q: Who refers victims to Victim Relief?
A: Victims are referred by many civic and community organizations, such as police departments, criminal and civic court systems, community hospitals, and community service organizations. Any organization that has visibility of victims can become a referring agency.
Q: What is unique about Victim Relief?
A: It is the first of its kind to bring together all members of the faith-based community for the purpose of assisting victims.
Q: What is unique about the Victim Chaplain Training Program?
A: Chaplaincy programs exist such as police chaplains, hospital chaplains, prison chaplains etc., but until now, there has not been a chaplain whose focus was to serve and assist the needs of the victim.
Q: What is the role of Victim Chaplains?
A: The Victim Chaplain makes the first contact with the victim and remains their sponsor in the assistance process. The Victim Chaplain has explicit training in ministry to victims in trauma, and has a unique ability to assess their need for further assistance. The victim chaplain calls together and leads a team of highly-trained volunteers in providing effective victim ministry, and remains the Ministry’s coordinating contact with the referring agency.
Q: What is the relationship between Victim Relief and the local church?
A: The local church is the resource for willing and committed volunteers – the defining resource of Victim Relief. The hope of the organization is at least one volunteer from every congregation. Victim Relief provides training for the volunteers. The principal focus of Victim Relief is to offer support during trauma and restoration of the victim to a safe and normal life. When the local church participates in that effort, then the church is available to provide spiritual ministry when the victim reaches that stage of recovery. Some churches also provide other resources such as financial and facility assistance.
Q: Where do funds come from to support Victim Relief services?
A: Victim Relief relies upon the support of partnering organizations, foundations, and government agencies. In addition, gifts are provided by individuals and by churches adding Victim Relief Ministries to their missions budget or special offerings.
Q: Does Victim Relief serve only victims of crime?
A: No. Victim Relief is not limited to just victims of crime although that is the founding focus. Many clients are victims of terrorist strikes (which are technically classified as crimes), and other events, such as natural disasters. Many clients are victims of domestic violence.
Q: Is Victim Relief a national organization?
A: A national organization is being launched. The need for a national effort was demonstrated dramatically by the September 11 terrorist strike on the World Trade Centers in New York and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana/Texas. Following tragedies of this magnitude, it quickly became apparent that civil, social and religious infrastructures were not prepared for the level of assistance required in New York. When the Counseling / Ministry / Training Task Force of the Network NYC crisis response effort undertook the task of enabling New York clergy for this tragic ministry, they called on Dallas-based Victim Relief to conduct training seminars in New York City. Now Victim Relief has launched a nationwide effort to train Victim Chaplains and Crisis Volunteers in major centers throughout the nation. We want volunteers and clergy to be better prepared in event of another tragedy.
Q: Is VRM best described as a faith based community service?
A: It would be more accurate to describe VRM as a faith-based victim relief service.