Responding Effectively to All Victims — Diverse Populations
This section recognizes that crime victims’ needs can be influenced by their identity, culture, background and experiences. Those differences in need can significantly impact crime victims’ access to critical services.
Though this guide cannot comprehensively or expertly address every possible factor influencing a crime victim’s individual needs, we hope it offers a starting point for Advocates to reflect on possible differences and consider carefully a crime victim’s whole identity when providing services. This discussion may also help victims consider their individual responses to crime and its aftermath and identify issues they may want to discuss with their Advocates. For this discussion, diversity includes age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, geography, language spoken, sexual orientation and immigrant status. Because many of these diverse traits are not immediately visible,” it is crucial to never make assumptions about a victim’s identity. Such assumptions can distance or even permanently harm relationships and prevent crime victims from obtaining relevant and appropriate help.
Like most states, Massachusetts has seen an increase in diverse populations. Sensitivity to a victim’s identity is critical to he victim’s potential for recovery from victimization. Because of the broad spectrum of potential need, no one service provider can have all the answers. Clients benefit when service providers reach out to other organizations to help meet victims’ needs. This sends an important message to victims: we will do all that we can to support you and to meet your individual needs. Therefore, it is often vital for service providers in different agencies and systems to collaborate with each other to address victims’ needs. Reminding ourselves to be thoughtful about the diverse aspects of the victim’s life and circumstances will help ensure that we do not overlook their est options and fail to help them realize their rights.