Victim Services


Accepting Applications for Victim Services Volunteers!

The Waco Police Department Victim Services Unit is accepting applications for volunteers to provide assistance and support to victims of crime. 

Victim Services Application

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. 

Melissa Beseda
(254) 750-7526

Volunteer Coordinator:
Missy "Sparky" Sparks
(254) 750-7527

Crime Victims' Compensation Specialist:
Sarah Head
(254) 750-7525

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 & Defusing.
  • 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.
  • Exercise.
  • 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.

Frequently Called Numbers

Information, Referral & Assistance

McLennan Workforce Child Care Services
(254) 296-5374

Mothers Against Drunk Driving
(254) 399-6319

Red Cross
(254) 776-8754
(254) 523-4985

Legal & Immigration

American Gateways
(254) 230-0382

Catholic Charities
(512) 651-6100

United States Immigration Services
(800) 375-5283

Lone Star Legal Aid
(254) 756-7944
Spanish & Vietnamese Language Services are available

Impact of Crime

icon of heart and pulse Physical

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.

icon of unhappy face Emotional

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.

icon of chat messages Social

Disruptions to relationships, chronic disruptions to family life, changes in lifestyle, isolation, negative impact on overall productivity, negative effect on overall quality of life.

icon of money bag Financial

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.

icon of candles Spiritual

Loss of questioning faith, loss of faith-based community, change in world view, increased engagement with faith group or beliefs.

Victim Services Assistance Referrals


Family Abuse Center
Hotline: (800) 283-8401
Phone: (254) 772-8999
Services: 24-hour emergency short-term shelter. 14 days with a possible extension. Parenting classes, individual & group counseling, assistance/info about protective orders

Sally’s House Salvation Army
Address: 524 S. 4th Street, Waco
Phone: (254) 756-7271
Services: Emergency shelter/transitional housing to help women & children. 24-hour security

My Brother’s Keeper Homeless Shelter
Applications taken at the Meyer Center 1226 Washington Avenue, Waco
Shelter Address: 1217 Mary Street, Waco
Phone: (254) 296-9866
Services: Emergency Shelter, first 3 nights free (small fee after) Men and women only, no children

Waco ISD Homeless Outreach Service
Address: 501 Franklin Avenue, Waco
Phone: (254) 755-9433
Services: Assists children and families by providing support for enrollment and a path to quality education in Waco; ensures the educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness

Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse & Assault

Family Abuse Center
Hotline: (800) 283-8401
Phone: (254) 772-8999
Services: 24-hour emergency short-term shelter. 14 days with a possible extension. Parenting classes, individual & group counseling, assistance/info about protective orders

TX Family & Protective Services
Hotline: (800) 252-5400
Phone: (254) 756-5571
Services: Short-term help with shelter, home repairs, food, transportation, managing money, medical care, home healthcare, and mental health services.


Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233

Human Trafficking Hotline (888) 373-7888

Unbound (254) 754-0386 ext. 134

Waco PD, Family Violence Unit (254) 750-8608

District Attorney, Victim Services (254) 757-5084

Attorney General, Crime Victim's Compensation (800) 983-9933 (877) 894-8463

McLennan County Jail (254) 757-2555

Counseling Services

Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children
Address: 3312 Hillcrest Drive, Waco
Hotline: (888) 867-7233
Phone: (254) 752-9330 Ext 112
Services: Safe, professional, and confidential; available for victims and their friends/families

Baylor University Psychology Clinic
Address: 801 Washington Avenue, Waco
Phone: (254) 710-2470
Services: Confidential counseling provided on a sliding scale fee based on income. Help with depression, anxiety, family/marital problems, stress, learning difficulties, adjustment to changes/loss, struggles in school, and other mental health issues

The Center for Children and Families
Address: 5207 Lake Shore Drive, Ste. B, Waco
Phone: (254) 772-8055
Services: Individual and grief counseling; pay by insurance or out of pocket

Family Counseling & Children Services
Address: 1600 Providence Drive, Waco
Phone: (254) 313-4500
Hours: Appointment Only: M-T-W-F 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. / TH 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Requirements: Pre-registration required before making appointments
Services: Marital, family, individual, children (age 5 and up) counseling

STARRY Counseling
Address: 2323 Columbus Avenue, Ste. A, Waco
Phone: (254) 399-6552
Services: Free counseling for families with children aged 17 and younger *cannot be involved with CPS or juvenile charges

Heart of Texas MHMR Center
Address: 110 S. 12th Street, Waco
Phone: (254) 752-3451
Crisis Line: (866) 752-3451
Fax: (254) 752-4721
Services: Crises Care Center (1200 Clifton Street), short respite stay center, assessment and counseling services, case management, medication management, mobile crisis unit, walk-ins

Phone: (254) 732-0482
Services: Healthy Outcomes through Prevention & Early Support; support program for parents of children ages 0-5 in McLennan County
Services: Professional and confidential; available to anyone; Online Only

Financial Assistance, Clothing, Rent, Utility Bills, Food, Preschools

Address: 300 S. 15th Street, Waco
Phone: (254) 753-4593
Services: Food pantry, clothing, utilities, and prescriptions

Address: 512 Franklin Avenue, Waco
Phone: (254) 756-0954
Services: Utility and rent assistance, AC/heating unit repair, case management program, electricity/gas assistance

Mission Waco
Address: 1315 N. 15th Street, Waco
Phone: (254) 753-4900
Services: Breakfast, clothing, homeless shelter

Salvation Army
Address: 4721 W. Waco Drive, Waco
Phone: (254) 756-7271
Services: food, clothing, utility assistance

Shepherd's Heart
Address: 205 South 26th Street, Waco
Phone: (254) 213-7833
Services: Food pantry (delivers), clothing, and additional services

McLennan County Indigent Health Care
Address: 824 Washington Avenue, Waco
Phone: (254) 757-5174
Services: Healthcare assistance application; medical screenings, prescriptions

Download App or visit
Services: Discount on Prescriptions

Help with Transportation

Waco Transit System
Phone: (254) 750-1900
Services: public transportation in Waco and surrounding communities. Call for information about special transportation needs.

McLennan County Rural Transit
Phone: (254) 750-1620
Services: Call to reserve your trip at least 24 hours in advance. $3 one-way trip

Medicaid Transportation
Hotline: (877) 633-8747
Services: Trip to doctor's visit covered by Medicaid

Veterans Assistance

Veterans One Stop
Address: 2010 La Salle Avenue, Waco
Phone: (254) 297-7171
Services: Claims & benefits assistance, transition services, legal aid

Veteran Crisis Line
(800) 273-8255

Funeral Homes

Bellmead Funeral Home
Address: 809 La Clede Street, Waco
Phone: (254) 799-5701

Dorsey-Keatts Funeral Home
Address: 1305 Elm Street, Waco
Phone: (254) 799-4966

Lake Shore Funeral Home
Address: 6201 Steinbeck Bend Drive, Waco
Phone: (254) 752-5900

McDowell Funeral Home
Address: 1104 Chestnut Street, Waco
Phone: (254) 754-3151

Oak Crest Funeral Home
Address: 4520 Bosque Boulevard, Waco
Phone: (254) 772-5272

Pecan Grove Funeral Home
Address: 3124 N. Robinson Drive, Waco
Phone: (254) 662-2131

Serenity Life Celebrations
Address: 2925 North 18th Street, Waco
Phone: (254) 235-4752

Wilkerson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home
Address: 6101 Bosque Boulevard, Waco
Phone: (254) 753-3691
Additional Services: Hand-in-Hand Grief Recovery Program Hotline: (888) 822-3691

Empath Way
Mortuary/Transport Services Phone: (254) 754-0055

Crime Scene Clean-Up

Spotless Crime Clean, LLC
Josh & Kyli Abbatoye
Phone: (254) 479-9662 or (254) 479-9663

Todd Roach
Phone: (254) 855-3195

Target Restoration
Phone: (254) 741-9026


Because we are all unique individuals, no two people will experience grief the same way. Although the above phases generally occur in order, it is possible for someone to experience bargaining before anger, or to skip depression completely. No matter what part of this process you may be in it is important to realize that it is a process and a coping mechanism. It is a way for our minds to adapt and deal with the stress and loss of a situation. With that knowledge we must allow ourselves to go through the process and express the emotions that are inside.

On behalf of the Victim Services Unit of the Waco Police Department, may we express our sympathy in the death of your loved one. The following information is provided to assist you in making your necessary arrangements.

If an autopsy has been ordered by Justice of Peace your loved one will be transported to Dallas for the procedure. They will then be transported to the Funeral home.

Group specifically for child loss

Compassionate Friends
Community Fellowship Church,
2001 N Valley Mills Drive, Waco
Phone: (254) 753-2167

General grief support groups – not specific to loss of a child

Grief Share Waco
Provides a structured, closed group for a thirteen-week session.

First United Methodist Church,
4901 Cobbs Avenue, Waco
Phone: (254) 772-5630

Peace Lutheran Church,
9301 Panther Way, Waco
Phone: (254) 420-4729

Western Heights Baptist Church,
6301 Bosque Boulevard, Waco
Phone: (254) 776-2524

Grief Care Services
Phone: (800) 958-5014
6700 Sanger Avenue, Waco
Phone: (254) 399-9099

For Groups & Events in Whitney
Phone: (254) 694-6009

For Groups & Events in Mexia
Phone: (254) 472-0779

Services: Individual Grief Counseling, Grief Care for children & teens, Support groups, Grief Care events, Annual Service of Remembrance, supportive phone calls


How Social Security Can Help When a Family Member Dies

The most convenient is to visit

Services online: apply for benefits; get useful information; find publications and get answers to frequently asked questions.

Call (800) 772-1213 or (800) 325-0778 (TTY) if you’re deaf or hard of hearing.

7 a.m. - 7 p.m. weekdays

Automated services via telephone, 24 hours a day