Victim Services Unit

Victim Services UnitHolland's Victim Services Unit (VSU) is an organization of volunteers dedicated to providing initial support needed by victims of crisis or crime. VSU responds to such incident types as:

  • Assaults
  • Death Notifications
  • Deaths
  • Drownings
  • Fires
  • Homicides
  • Industrial Accidents
  • Medicals
  • Missing Persons
  • Natural Disasters
  • Plane Crashes
  • Rapes
  • Robberies
  • Shootings
  • Traffic Accidents

Victims

When a sudden, unexpected crisis occurs in our lives, we frequently experience degrees of depression, despair, confusion, and emotional shock. Imagine what a victim of random violence feels, or someone who has arrived home to find their personal property has been violated, a driver who has struck a child, a wife whose husband suddenly dies, or a homeowner whose home and memories have been destroyed by fire.

Responding Challenges

It is these and other life experiences that we all dread but may be forced to endure. VSU volunteers respond to these challenges and the following:

  • Help arrange follow-up services
  • Help arrange for shelter, food, clothing
  • Notify family and friends
  • Provide comfort and emotional support
  • Provide information and referral to appropriate agencies for on-going assistance
  • Serve as liaison between the victim and other agencies

Coverage for Holland Residents

The VSU provides 24/7/364 coverage for Holland residents. VSU volunteers are scheduled as teams to be on-call for 12-hour shifts (a.m. or p.m.), for seven-day periods to provide initial support for victims. Police and fire personnel, when necessary, contact 911 dispatchers to request VSU assistance. The on-call VSU team is then paged to respond immediately to the scene.

Phone: 616-355-1117

Victim Advocate Position

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Cooperatively work with law enforcement and other emergency personnel
  • Help arrange for shelter, food, clothing, and transportation
  • Provide emotional and practical crisis support to victims of crime and survivors of the tragedy
  • Provide information and referrals
  • Serve as a liaison between the victim and other agencies

Qualifications

  • Able to cooperate with police, staff and other agencies
  • Be willing and able to follow regulations for appropriate Victim Advocate behavior
  • Excellent interpersonal communications skills
  • Have an open, non-judgment attitude with genuine concern and empathy for crime victims and tragedy survivors
  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must have the necessary availability
  • Must have own transportation and telephone
  • Possess a valid driver's license

Training Provided

Required training courses include:

  • Crisis Intervention Skills
  • Law Enforcement
  • Legal Procedures
  • Resource Information
  • Victimology

Time Commitment

Must commit no less than one year to the advocate program. Attend monthly meetings and continuing education and training. Be on-call Monday through Sunday for 12-hour shifts one week out of every four as a minimum.

If you are interested in serving the Holland Community, use the Application form (PDF) to apply!

Holland VSU's Awards

  • 2011 "Unit of the Year" from the Michigan Sheriffs' Association
  • Social Justice Award from the City of Holland (January 23, 2002)
  • Spirit of Volunteerism Award from the Ottawa-Allegan Association of Volunteer Administration (April 23, 1998)