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SART Foundations: Finding Ways to Define Victim Centered

Many of the teams and communities with whom I have worked with discuss being victim centered. Yet, when I ask what that means, sometimes the team isn’t quite sure or the team gives an answer that someone else had developed for them. Defining victim centered is a critically important part of a team’s mission and purpose. More importantly, this definition should fit the context of your community. An urban team may have some key differences as compared to a rural team when defining victim centered. This is because each community has different strengths, areas of improvements, and different populations/resources and viewpoints. You must find ways to define victim centered for your communities.

  • Work through a large group process. If your team has excellent relationships, everyone participates equally, and the whole team handles disagreement really well, this might be a really good option. Through having an open dialogue, you can hear where each agency is coming from and what matters to their discipline.
  • Ask for individual submissions. When you have all the submissions (or as many as you can get), take a look at what people have in common. Develop a definition based on those common elements. You can always bring this back to the large group to evaluate and add/change things.
  • Tweak an outside definition. If you don’t feel up to defining from scratch, you can use an outside definition and make changes to fit your community and process. Next week’s blog will give a number of examples from other sources.
  • Talk to Victims. This one is KEY. Make sure that whatever process you work through, that victims have had voice somewhere. Maybe you did interviews. Maybe certain providers ask about what victims want. Maybe you create a survey. There are many ways to get information from victims about what they want and need. Be sure that you aren’t writing definitions in isolation.

Finding ways to develop a definition is critical to helping guide the work of your SART. This step can really help your team in moments of difficult conversation or cases where things don’t go quite as planned. Getting your team to work together and define victim centered will help them feel more connected to the process.

Do you have other ideas or strategies for defining victim centered in your team’s work? Leave ideas and questions in the comments!9