Killeen Police Department offering free counseling for victims of violent crime
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - The Killeen Police Department is hoping a new program will offer some relief to victims of violent crime in the city. Thanks to a Victims of Crime Act grant, victims of violent crime in Killeen can get up to eight free counseling sessions.
Kimberly Isett, crime victim liaison, said there has been an increase in crime in general over the last few years, and so the department knew more resources were needed in the community.
Isett said more people have been reaching out about counseling services, which she said is great because everyone needs to talk with someone after a traumatic event.
The department was helping the victims apply for assistance through the state fund for crime victim compensation; however, Isett said people were getting frustrated because it would take a long time.
“Getting victims in to see a counselor right away is really critical, so that they can talk to somebody right up front,” Isett said. “This was one of the ways that we could do that, was to get this program up and running.”
The department has contracted with a variety of counselors, both male and female, who offer telehealth appointments, traditional in-person visits and after-hours visits. Isett said this program was needed because many people come into her office without health insurance or even the money to set up a payment plan.
While there are services in the community, they didn’t necessarily serve everyone who came in for assistance.
“We do have resources in our community such as like our domestic violence shelters, but that isn’t going to necessarily help maybe a victim of a homicide surviving family member,” Isett said.
Isett said many of the people who come into the office have experienced traumatic events, so getting them counseling early on is critical.
“We’ve had some family members of homicides that, they were really grieving, and they really needed to talk to somebody. I mean, their whole life changed just in the blink of an eye and they just weren’t in a good place,” Isett said. “Getting them in to talk to somebody right away versus waiting two or three months down the road for an approval process and finding a counselor that would be willing to build a private compensation--it was critical.”
Victims are able to get up to eight free sessions. Isett said there are some qualifications—the counseling is for victims of violent crimes like domestic violence, sexual assault, or for surviving members of homicide victims.
Even if the crime occurred outside Killeen, city residents are able to request the counseling sessions. For more information, people can contact Isett at 254-501-7698.
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