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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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What Good Samaritans Do

Good Samaritans seek to help crime victims who are less able to help themselves and not likely to be served by other victim assistance organizations, such as a domestic violence shelter or a rape crisis center. Good Samaritans are trained to know about these and other community resources, however, and to refer victims to the most appropriate services for their needs.

Whether providing direct service, emotional support, or referral to other community resources, Good Samaritans are attuned to victim needs. They—

Focus on Vulnerable Crime Victims

Even repairing a broken lock can be beyond the capability of a vulnerable crime victim with no family living nearby. A stolen Social Security check could mean the difference between life and death. Navigating the court system can be bewildering and frightening.

Provide Direct Services

Volunteers receive specific training on how to provide certain direct services, such as—

  • Making repairs to a home after a break-in.
  • Conducting home safety inspections to prevent revictimization.
  • Accompanying victims to court.
  • Supplying "victim care kits" or other support.

Give Information and Referral

Victims in crisis need information about services available to them and may need assistance in setting priorities. Good Samaritans volunteers are trained in how to communicate effectively with victims in crisis and how to help them access community resources.

Provide Reassurance Visits or Calls

Followup is a key component of both professional and volunteer victim assistance. Good Samaritans make sure that victims continue to have access to support and services after the crime, as needed or desired.

Show Commitment

Volunteers must be willing to work within a team, undergo criminal background checks, and complete basic training. These core elements ensure victim and volunteer safety at a crime scene and equip volunteers with essential skills for providing appropriate services to victims in crisis.

Volunteers must also commit to adequate time and availability, so that when a victim needs help, a capable volunteer will be available to serve.

Volunteers serving on the "hammer and nails" repair teams must also agree to be on call for specific periods of time and remain reachable by pager or cell phone.

Module 4's Sample Job Descriptions page provides more detailed descriptions of what Good Samaritans volunteers do and the procedures they should follow.