The professional staff of the Grand Prairie Police Department's Victim Services Unit is sensitive to the potential emotional crisis and confusion which may occur as a direct result of victimization and is committed to providing appropriate resources and referrals to lessen both the short term and long term trauma which may be experienced.
The Victim Services staff provides crisis intervention, advocacy, and support services to crime victims. Services include:
- Emotional support for victims of crime and their families
- Assistance with safety planning
- Assistance with Protective Orders
- Referrals for long-term counseling, legal assistance, shelters, community resources and local financial assistance
- Advocacy for victims' rights and services
- Assistance in filing for Crime Victims' Compensation through the Texas State Attorney General's Office
- Assistance with the return of any property not held in evidence by the State Attorney's Office or Court
Crisis Reactions to Traumatic Events
As a victim of or witness to a violent crime or traumatic event, you may be experiencing some of the following symptoms or other reactions to one degree or another. Most people do experience some form of reaction to a crisis. The following information is presented as a guide to what many people experience in the aftermath of a traumatic event, but does not necessarily indicate that you should be experiencing these symptoms. Each individual is unique, and reactions are as individual as the person experiencing them.
PHASE I: Crisis Stage/Impact Stage
The first reaction may be shock and disbelief, and it may last a few seconds, minutes, hours, days or in some cases years. Denial of the reality of the event is used as a defense to protect the person from experiencing the full impact. Symptoms of distress may include increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, muscle tension, shaking, feelings of helplessness, panic, fear, vulnerability, confusion, difficulty making decisions, short term memory difficulties, hyper vigilance, difficulty with eating or sleeping, or difficulty concentrating. This stage may last up to 72 hours after the event, but some of these symptoms may last longer or come and go for some time. After a sustained period of emotional and physical arousal, most people experience exhaustion.
PHASE II: Recoil
As the person begins to recover and adapt to the sense of violation, many strong emotions may emerge. Intense feelings of anger, sadness, violation, panic, fear, frustration, confusion, self-pity, and guilt may alternate with denial and avoidance of experiencing these powerful feelings by trying to avoid thinking about the event, or keeping busy, or trying to avoid reminders of the event. Problems with eating or sleeping may persist. This phase may last from 24 hours to several weeks.
PHASE III: Reorganization/Reintegration
This phase includes resumption of a normal life, although perhaps a "new normal." The process is one of ups and downs, and there may be a recurrence of symptoms of the crisis reaction, especially when confronted with reminders of the event. Triggers may include anniversaries of the event, holidays associated with the event, hearing about similar events, the criminal justice process, or sights, smells, and sounds that remind one of something about the event. This phase can begin as early as a week or as long as a year later.
All of the above are considered "normal" reactions. As long as you are able to recognize that you are having a "normal" reaction to an abnormal circumstance, you may be able to combat the sense that many victims have that they are "losing their minds". If symptoms are very intense, or if they interfere with your ability to return to day to day functioning, you may want to seek some short term help with coping with the trauma. The Victim Assistance Program is available for short term counseling or referral to community resources familiar with trauma reactions. Don't be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. You have probably been through something that anyone would have difficulty coping with. If you have thoughts of hurting yourself, please let someone know, call the crisis hotline at 214-828-1000 serving residents of the DFW area or the crisis hotline for Dallas Metrocare Services, serving Dallas County residents at 214-330-7722.
Some suggestions for coping with the immediate crisis include:
- Try to get plenty of rest, sleep if you can.
- Eat nutritious meals, even if you have little appetite. Sometimes several small meals are easier than three large ones.
- Moderate exercise, such as walking may help relieve some of the stress, and may also help with appetite and sleep problems.
- Keep a journal, including writing about the experience and about your feelings and experiences afterward.
- Try to keep important information, including names and dates of people that you have talked to about the case, together, perhaps saved in a large envelope.
- Find a supportive friend or counselor who is willing to listen to you tell your story. You many need to tell the story repeatedly.
- Remember that children react differently to trauma than adults do. Children may be affected even if they were not directly involved in the crisis. Encourage children to talk, draw pictures, or act out the event with toys or role-playing. Some regression is normal in children, but if you feel that the reaction is severe, you may want to seek counseling for the child.
What is Crime Victims' Compensation?
Crime Victims' Compensation is a financial assistance program that helps eligible victims of crime with certain expenses related to the crime. Money for this program comes from court costs paid by criminals and deposited by each Texas county into the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund.
The Crime Victims' Compensation Division is "the payer of last resort" after primary sources of payment such as health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, auto insurance or Texas Workers' Compensation.
If the court orders the offender to pay restitution to the victim for an expense that Crime Victims' Compensation has already paid, the victim may be required to reimburse the fund. If the victim or claimant recovers money through the settlement of a civil suit against the offender or a third party, he or she may also have to reimburse the fund.
Who may qualify?
- An innocent victim of crime who suffers physical and/or emotional harm or death.
- An authorized individual acting on behalf of a victim.
- A person who legally assumes the obligations or voluntarily pays certain expenses related to the crime on behalf of the victim.
- A dependent of a victim.
- An immediate family member or household members related by blood or marriage who require psychiatric care or counseling as a result of the crime.
- An intervener who goes to the aid of the victim or a peace officer.
- A peace officer, fire fighter, or individual whose employment includes the duty of protecting the public.
How Do I Apply?
Applications can be obtained directly from the Crime Victims' Compensation Division in the Office of the Attorney General by calling 1-800-983-9933. Professional staff at the division are also available to answer any questions and provide assistance in completing the application. Assistance filing for Crime Victims' Compensation is also available through the Grand Prairie Police Department's Victim Services Program. Visit the Texas Attorney General Victims' Compensation webpage to apply online or to download application form.
What crimes are covered?
Crimes covered by Crime Victims' Compensation are those in which the victim suffers substantial threat of physical or emotional harm or death. These may include sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery, assault, homicide and other violent crimes.
Vehicular crimes that are covered include failure to stop and render aid, DWI, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, aggravated assault, intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.
What type of financial assistance is available?
Claims may be approved for benefits up to a total of $50,000. In the case of catastrophic injuries resulting in a total and permanent disability, victims may be eligible for an additional $75,000 in benefits.
Upon approval, benefits may be awarded for the following:
- medical, hospital, physical therapy or nursing care.
- psychiatric care or counseling.
- loss of earnings or support.
- loss of wages due to participation in, or attendance at, the investigation, prosecutorial and judicial processes, and travel.
- care of a child or a dependent.
- funeral and burial expenses.
- crime scene clean-up.
- replacement costs for clothing, bedding, or property seized as evidence or rendered unusable as a result of the investigation.
- reasonable attorney fees for assistance in filing the Crime Victims' Compensation application and in obtaining benefits, if the claim is approved.
- loss of wages and travel to seek medical treatment.
- one time relocation expenses for domestic violence victims.
Every law enforcement agency and prosecutor's office in Texas is mandated to provide victims of crime with information and applications about the Crime Victims' Compensation Division. When contacting these agencies, please ask for the victim assistance coordinator or liaison who can provide assistance in completing the application. Hospitals and medical centers may also have applications and materials.
What are my rights to appeal when benefits have been reduced or denied?
If the Crime Victims' Compensation Division makes a decision with which the victim or claimant disagrees, he or she has a right under the law to ask that the decision be reconsidered. In order to appeal a decision, the victim or claimant must notify Crime Victims' Compensation in writing within 60 days, stating the reason for dissatisfaction. If the outcome of the reconsideration process is not satisfactory, the victim or claimant has 60 days to request a final ruling hearing from the Crime Victims' Compensation Division. Should the victim or claimant not agree with the outcome of the hearing, he or she may file an appeal with the district court within 40 days of the final ruling.
Safety During an Explosive Incident
- If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area that has access to an exit and not in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell would be best.
- Have a packed bag ready and keep it in an undisclosed but accessible place in order to leave quickly.
- Identify a neighbor you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need the police.
- Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you don’t think you will need to).
- Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he wants to calm him down. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
- Always remember - YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE HIT OR THREATENED!
Safety When Preparing to Leave
- Open a savings account in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
- Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
- Keep the shelter phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
- Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your batterer. REMEMBER - LEAVING YOUR BATTERER IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME.
Safety in Your Own Home
- Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows.
- Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
- Inform your child’s school, daycare, etc., about who has permission to pick up your child.
- Inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see him near your home.
- Never call the abuser from your home. If he has caller ID, he may be able to locate your residence.
Safety with a Protective Order
- Keep your protective order on you at all times. (When you change your purse that should be the first thing that goes in it.)
- Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.
- Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
- Inform family, friends, and neighbors that you have a protective order in effect.
Safety on the Job and in Public
- Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security (provide a picture of your batterer if possible).
- Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls if possible.
- Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your car, bus, or train. Use a variety of routes home if possible. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home (i.e. in your car, on the bus, etc.).
Your Safety and Emotional Health
- If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
- If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so.
- Have positive thoughts about self and be assertive with others about your needs.
- Read books, articles, and poems to help you feel stronger.
- Decide who you can call to talk freely and openly to give you the support you need.
- Plan to attend a women’s or victim’s support group for at least 2 weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship.
If You are a Teen in a Violent Dating Relationship
- Decide which friend, teacher, relative, or police officer you can tell.
CHECKLIST - What You Need to Take When You Leave:
- Driver's license
- Child's birth certificate
- Your birth certificate
- Lease, rental agreement, house deed
- Bank books
- Insurance papers
- House and car keys
- Address book
- Medical records (all family members)
- Social security card
- Welfare identification
- School records
- Work permits
- Green card
- Divorce papers
National Domestic Violence Hotline
DFW Domestic Violence Shelters and Resource Centers
SafeHaven of Tarrant County
Denton County Friends of the Family
The Family Place
Genesis Women's Shelter
New Beginning Center
The U visa is an immigration benefit that can be sought by victims of certain crimes who are currently assisting or have previously assisted law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of a crime, or who are likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.
The Grand Prairie Police Department is willing to assist eligible victims in their pursuit of a U-VISA by completing the I-918 Supplement B Form. Whether you are requesting this form as a crime victim or as a third party on behalf of a crime victim, please review the information below to determine if you or your client are eligible for assistance.
Si usted necesita información de la Visa U (Forma I-918 Suplemento B) o tiene preguntas sobre cómo aplicar, por favor llámenos al (972) 237-8803 o al (972) 237-8884 y pregunte por las coordinadoras de servicios de víctimas. Con gusto le atenderemos en Español.
*Si usted desea asistencia en persona, por favor llámenos para hacer una cita.
View U-Visa Application (PDF)
If you would like assistance, please contact our staff at 972-237-8796 for an appointment.