Our Co-Location Model

In order to keep survivors abreast of recent changes during an investigation and to provide consistent trauma-informed support during victim/witness interviews, Crime Victim Advocates will continue to co-locate within each investigative SPD unit:

CSS Advocates do not represent law enforcement, and are not SPD employees. However, having a CSS Advocate embedded in the police department allows the survivor to have a voice and personal agency within an institution that can often feel powerless. Having an office located next to the detectives is important, as time is often limited; the need for advocacy is often immediately following a violent assault.

One such example is the Elder Crimes Advocate, who works alongside the SPD Detective as they both go to the victim's home.  They can provide an early assessment of the victim's cognitive functioning and can offer a softer tone for the vulnerable adult.  Also, because perpetrators of these crimes are often family members or other caregivers, there can be immediate care needs that arise once the perpetrator is removed from the situation.  By being involved in the case from the very beginning, the Advocate can assess those care needs and start working to put a plan in place quickly.

Advocates are often contacted by survivors and/or their community service provider, requesting immediate information about their investigation. For instance, the Sexual Assault Advocate receives calls frequently from social workers from Harborview after someone has had a Sexual Assault Rape Kit appointment. With access to the assigned Detective and their notes, the Advocate can confirm whether the case has been assigned, explain the investigation process, and help set up a time to come in for an interview. In addition, survivors are often waiting years for the status of their backlogged rape kit and will call the Advocate for updates, which they can provide easily with a close working relationship with the crime lab.