The Waco Police Department Victim Services mission is to provide nonjudgmental, practical support to crime victims and survivors. We strive to promote healing and expand your understanding of the criminal justice process and your rights as a crime victim, while being a support advocate between you, your family and the police department.
This page provides information about services in the community that may aid you in your recovery process. Our staff encourages you to contact us with questions regarding your case or the process ahead. We want you to know that our unit is here for you along the way.
Missy "Sparky" Sparks
Please let us know if we were helpful, or what we need to improve when assisting future victims. We appreciate your feedback.
About the Victim Services Unit
Staff members and volunteers are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide on-scene crisis intervention and any other assistance at the crime or accident scene.
- Provide support for victims & families at the Emergency Room and at residences.
- Follow-up with victims who have been referred to other support agencies.
- Provide assistance with filling out the Crime Victims Compensation application.
- Maintain an office for walk-in victims at the Police Department.
- Transport victims to their home, the Family Abuse Center, etc.
- Send crisis response teams to natural disasters and major criminal incidents.
- Provide court accompaniment.
- Offer Critical Incident Stress Debriefings & Defusings.
- Provide death notification.
- Offer a link between the victim and the criminal justice system.
The Waco Police Department Victim Services Unit can provide information or make referrals to other local organizations. The information we provide may help you in dealing with the situation in which you were involved, to include family abuse, counseling services, shelter or food, and other life problems.
If you suffered any injuries or incurred medical expenses as a result of being a crime victim you may also qualify for the Crime Victims' Compensation program. This program is administered through the Texas Attorney General’s Office, not your local Police Department, but we are more than happy to assist you with the application process.
Please be advised that benefits may be reduced or denied if the victim:
- Engaged in illegal activity
- Contributed to the crime
- Did not cooperate with the appropriate law enforcement agencies
- Knowingly or intentionally submitted false or forged information to the CVC Program
- Crime Victims' Compensation does not help with damaged or stolen property.
Texas Crime Victim Rights
- Receive adequate protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts;
- Have their safety considered by the magistrate when setting bail;
- Advance notification, on request, of relevant court proceedings including cancellations and rescheduling;
- If you so request, the right to information about the defendant’s right to bail and criminal investigation procedures, and from the prosecutor's office about general procedures in the criminal justice system, including plea agreements, restitution, and parole;
- Receive information about the Texas Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund, and, on request, referral to social service agencies that provide other types of assistance;
- Provide pertinent information concerning the impact of the crime to the probation department conducting the pre-sentencing investigation;
- Payment for medical examinations for victims of sexual assault by the law enforcement agency requesting the exam and, on request, the right to counseling regarding AIDS and HIV infection and testing for sexual assault victims;
- Information, on request, about parole procedures; notification of parole proceedings and of the inmate's release; and the right to participate in the parole process by submitting written information to the Board of Pardons and Paroles for inclusion in the defendant's file for consideration by the Board prior to parole;
- Be present at all public court proceedings, with the presiding judge's consent;
- A safe waiting area to all court proceedings;
- Prompt return of any property that is no longer needed as evidence;
- Have the prosecutor notify, upon request, an employer that the need for the victim's testimony may involve the victim's absence from work;
- Complete a Victim Impact Statement, detailing the emotional, physical and financial impact of the crime on the victim and to have the statement considered by a judge at sentencing and by officials prior to the release of the offender(s).
Understanding a Traumatic Event
You have experienced a traumatic event, an overwhelming emotional experience. Even though the event may be over, you are experiencing, or may experience, some strong emotional or physical reactions. It is very common, in fact quite normal, for people to experience emotional aftershocks after being involved in a horrible event.
Sometimes the emotional aftershocks or stress reactions appear immediately following the event. Sometimes, they may surface a few hours or days later. In some cases, weeks or months may pass before the stress reactions emerge.
The signs and symptoms of stress reactions may last a few days, weeks, months or occasionally longer, depending on the severity of the traumatic event. With understanding and support of loved ones, the stress reactions usually pass more quickly. Sometimes, however, the traumatic event is so painful that professional assistance from a counselor may be necessary. This does not imply craziness or weakness, it simply indicates the particular event was too powerful to manage with their usual coping skills.
Suggestions for coping with traumatic events
- Talk with others about the traumatic event. You may feel as though your difficulties in adjusting are unique and the sharing will give you a common bond with another individual(s).
- Keep your life as normal as possible.
- Take vitamins, eat well, and avoid taking stimulants, depressants and sleeping aids.
- Plan for some time alone. The solitude will temporarily free you from responsibilities.
- Take a day off, take a short trip, or do something with your friends and family.
- Keep a journal. Write about how you are feeling.
- Give yourself permission to feel rotten.
- Recognize that decisions are harder to make. Put off decisions that can wait.
- Allow others to help, they care.
- Do not be reluctant to seek professional help.
Death, injuries, physiological anxiety (rapid heart rate, hyperventilation, stomach problems), increased risk for long-term health conditions (heart problems, chronic pain), permanent or short-term disabilities, drug & alcohol abuse, exposure to sexually transmitted diseases & unwanted pregnancy.
Fear, anxiety shock anger or rage, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), difficulty concentrating, confusion, feeling helpless or unsafe, guilt feeling out of control, depression, intense grief, suicide ideation, isolation, panic symptoms, disengaging from life, pre-occupation with crime, distrust.
Disruptions to relationships, chronic disruptions to family life, changes in lifestyle, isolation, negative impact on overall productivity, negative effect on overall quality of life.
Medical bills, medication or prescription expenses, mental health services, replacement of lost property, loss of wages, physical or occupational therapy, relocation expenses, increased child care expenses, transportation costs, increased insurance premiums, crime scene cleanup.
Loss of questioning faith, loss of faith-based community, change in world view, increased engagement with faith group or beliefs.