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Good Samaritans Volunteers Helping Victims Program Handbook and Training Guide
Top navigation About This Guide Message From the Director Acknowledgments About the Authors Related Links
Photo: Man and woman looking out of a broken window.

Publication Date: April 2009

minus iconFilling a Void—Origins of the Program
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minus iconVolunteers: Recruiting,
Screening, and Training

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minus iconModule 2: The Victim Experience
minus iconModule 3: Basic Skills for Volunteers
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Planning Your Program

Lessons Learned

Develop your partnerships carefully. It's important to know the expectations and capacities of your partnering agencies and organizations going in. Make sure that at least one of the partners has substantial expertise or is willing to invest sufficient time and effort into coordinating volunteers. Volunteers don't manage themselves.

Identify needs and resources. Duplicating resources already available in the community is wasteful. Know what services are available so that Good Samaritans volunteers can best fill the needs of crime victims either by providing a unique service or referring victims to other agencies and organizations that already provide the services the victims need.

Don't try to do too much, too soon. You may be thrilled if you suddenly find yourself with a hundred volunteers signing up for training, but if you don't have enough work to keep them busy, they'll drift away and you will have to start over with recruitment, screening, and training.

Narrow your focus. Keep your geographic service area small and try to match volunteers with their own communities—that way they know the community and have a personal stake in it. Pick a specific victim population that volunteers can be trained to serve (e.g., older victims of burglaries or purse-snatching). Ask your partnering law enforcement agency how many people in the target population you can expect to serve each year, and build your volunteer rolls accordingly. Don't overreach.

Expect to constantly replenish your volunteer teams. Despite your careful recruitment, screening, training, and activities, volunteers still come and go. Keeping enough volunteers trained and available to serve crime victims requires constant attention.