Violent Crimes Advocate

The Violent Crimes Advocate works to establish a positive working relationship with victim's family members soon after a homicide has occurred. The amount of involvement that the Victim Advocate has in the initial phase of a homicide investigation varies from case to case. In the first call to the victim's family they will offer condolences, trauma support, and information for grief counseling.  They will explain the role of the Victim Advocate (versus that of the detectives and prosecutors), listen with an empathetic ear, and try to assess what the family dynamics are in order to have a clearer understanding of how best to navigate within the family and community impacted by the death.

The Advocate then assesses what the family's needs are, including but not limited to:

  • providing information about Crime Victims Compensation burial benefits and assisting with the application process;
  • providing information about the Medical Examiner's Office and supplying a list of funeral homes if needed;
  • grief/trauma support counseling;
  • interceding in media requests;
  • assisting in making arrangements for family members to come to Seattle; and
  • assisting in returning non-evidentiary property to the victim's family.

All of this is done while maintaining a sensitivity to the family's grief, while also beginning to build a trusting relationship that will last through the criminal trial.

In cases where a suspect has been identified, the Advocate will provide information about the jail inmate notification/registration program (VINE) where they can register to be notified if the custody status of the Defendant changes. They will explain the Criminal Justice System including, but not limited to, a realistic timeline of the process, the ongoing investigation, and how the Advocate will be tracking the court hearings and providing updates. The Advocate then is responsible for making arrangements for all in-person meetings with the lead detectives and assigned DPAs (typically after an arraignment hearing) and arranges for transportation and interpreters if needed.