EDUCATING YOU. EMPOWERING YOU. by Jennifer Suftko, Glendale Police Department’s Victim Assistance Unit, Glendale Family Advocacy Center
n the heart of Downtown Glendale is an unassuming building housing multidisciplines of professionals. The building is not intended to be flashy nor bold, as those who walk through these doors are not seeking the spotlight. Rather, it’s a building where victims of crime may enter with fear, anxiety and confusion – often on the worst day of their lives. Such a day in which they have experienced their most traumatic event or will have to recount the memories of such moments. The dedicated staff of the Glendale Family Advocacy Center is there for one reason; to be present and available for those in need. Within the center, are a number of disciplines and services designed to address various criminal matters surrounding family violence, missing persons, human trafficking, child crimes and adult sex crimes. The families, individuals and victims involved in such matters have the potential of being affected on such a deeply emotional level that specially trained personnel housed at the center is needed to help guide and maneuver them through their personal journeys. It takes a certain type of individual to perform the duties asked of the staff at the Advocacy Center. On
FALL 2019 • THE EDUCATION EDITION
any given day, you will find Glendale Police detectives, victim advocates, multidisciplinary partners, volunteers and even our very own emotional support dog, Oliver. All are dedicated to providing the level of compassion and professionalism members of our community deserve. Rachael Bousman, Lieutenant over the Special Victim’s Unit at the center, shares: “The Advocacy Center is a place where I want victims to feel safe and confident.” Statistically speaking, women and children are the primary demographic seen at the center as crime victims. Given the gender and age of these victims, combined with the sensitive nature of their case, female advocates and detectives often are successful at establishing a rapport. Whether it is the detective assigned to the investigation, the advocate who walks the traumatic case with the family, the forensic interviewer who aids in the victims’ recollection of the crime, or the trauma therapist who guides them through the healing process, these women are educated and trained to not only accommodate the needs in their specific arena, but to also collaborate to ensure the victim has a team utilizing the strengths of one another. Through ongoing training, community outreach and education, the women who implement the services offered by the Advocacy Center ensure our victims are being provided not only their mandated victim rights but also treated with dignity and care. It is our hope that beyond our center doors, our victims leave us with a bit more strength and courage.
Rachael Bousman, Lieutenant over the Special Victim’s Unit at the center, shares: “The Advocacy Center is a place where I want victims to feel safe and confident.”
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