Victim Services Unit
The Victim Services Unit (VSU) is responsible for providing a range of services to victims of juvenile crime. This includes notifying victims of their rights, answering victims’ questions, explaining the juvenile justice process and making them aware of the services that are available to victims. The VSU prepares court reports on victim losses, which are addressed by the Juvenile Court at time of disposition.
The VSU conducts victim/offender mediation that facilitates restorative justice. In mediation, sometimes the victim wants to understand the motivation for the offense, how they were targeted, inform the juvenile of how the offense affected them, and being assured that the juvenile receives consequences.
Victim Impact Panels (VIP) are also conducted for the offenders.
VIP is a tool for juvenile offenders to be held accountable by victims and the community. An additional benefit of Victim Impact Panels is the heightened victim sensitivity and awareness juveniles gain by hearing the devastating and long-term effects of crime, from the victim or a survivor of a victim. A Victim Impact Panel is held monthly in the jury prep room.
Additionally, the Victim Services Unit facilitates a VIP for children in the START program, Medlock Center, and children placed in the Youth Village.
All of the Department’s Victim Services Managers have received Crime Victim Compensation Training from The Office of the Attorney General of Texas and their Presumptive Eligibility Certification. Certification allows Victim Services Managers to better serve victims, by assisting them to complete their crime victim application and receive reimbursement for statutorily defined expenses to victims of violent crimes and their families. Additionally, Victim Service Managers can assist eligible victims to receive expedited payments for medical and counseling bills incurred because of the crime, and help families expedite the covered cost of the funeral for a loved one who has been killed as a result of a violent crime.
The Crime Victim’s Compensation Program is administered by the Office of the Attorney General and is dedicated to ensuring that crime victims receive every possible assistance. The toll free number is 1-800-983-9933 and the web site is http://www.oag.state.tx.us.
The Dallas County Juvenile Department is a member of the Crime Victims Council of Dallas County (CVCDC).