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Victim-witness coordinator manual?

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January 07, 2004, 14:04
Diane Beckham
Victim-witness coordinator manual?
TDCAA is considering publishing a victim-witness coordinator manual in 2004. Is this something that would be of interest, and if so, what forms, tips, charts would be great to include?

We'd like to include items that would help both longtime VACs and those who are new to the business. (I'd also love volunteers to send me their best forms, letters, samples, charts, for inclusion in any manual we published!) Please e-mail me any suggestions ( or post your ideas in this thread. Thanks for your help!
March 02, 2004, 14:10
P.D. Ray
It might even be useful to prosecutors who want to understand what the heck VAC's really do, anyawy.
June 09, 2004, 14:25
Diane Beckham
Many thanks to TDCAA's wonderful victim services committee, who collaborated to draft this outline for our upcoming VAC manual. We'd love to have your comments on the outline (post or e-mail: and whether it covers all the topics you'd like to see:

Chapter 1: Setting up an Effective Program
Chapter 2: First Contact with Victims (including notification)
Chapter 3: Grants (where to get them and how to write and administer them)
Chapter 4: Crime Victims Compensation
Chapter 5: Statements (victim impact statements and elocution)
Chapter 6: Working with Victims with Special Considerations (disabilities, different faiths, emotional needs, interpreters, non-citizens)
Chapter 7: Specific Crimes (including domestic violence, ID theft, child victims)
Chapter 8: Innovative Programs
Chapter 9: Other Resources (contact info for other agencies)
Chapter 10: The Week of Trial (ideal world situation)
Chapter 11: VINE Program
Chapter 12: Victim-offender mediation
Chapter 13: Post-Trial Proceedings (appeal, parole, re-entry programs)
June 25, 2004, 19:31
Diane, will there be anything special in there about the child victim?
August 16, 2004, 14:24
Diane Beckham
There will be a little bit in there about child victims -- primarily in the sections dealing with preparing victims for trial. For more about child victims of sexual crimes (including interviewing, preparing for trial, questioning, re-direct, etc.) see the new "Investigating & Prosecuting Child Sexual Abuse" book by Terese Buess & Mike Trent.

What specifically were you wanting to see in the book, Dan?
April 03, 2006, 11:00
What is the status of this Manual?

May 03, 2006, 10:55
Diane Beckham
The first edition of the book was published in 2004, distributed to all prosecutors' offices with directions to give them to the victim assistance coordinators, and we've now sold out of all the extra copies we printed.

That's actually good news, because it has inspired TDCAA's victim assistance committee and I to get crackin' on the second edition. Our plan is to apply for grant funds from the Court of Criminal Appeals (which graciously financed the first edition) to produce the second edition, and we are aiming for it to be out sometime in the fall of 2006.

If you have ideas for subjects, forms, information we should include, please post your comments or send me an e-mail to

Thanks for your interest!
January 03, 2008, 14:11
Just pulled up the "Buy a Book" pdf order form after reading this thread, and my vision must just be shot after reading tons of defense motions this week -- I didn't see a Victim's Assistance manual on the order form, only brochures for victims. We are looking for a V.A. coordinator to handle protective orders, etc., and need to locate references, procedures, training.
January 06, 2008, 16:57
Diane Beckham
The 2nd edition of the Victim's Assistance Manual was completed and sent individually to all designated victim-witness coordinators at prosecutor offices in late October 2007. The Court of Criminal Appeals provided the funding for this book, but because we used grant funding to publish the book, the distribution is limited to the pool of VWCs that work for Texas prosecutor offices. In other words, this was a one-time mailout to all eligible people on the date of the mailout. We don't print a large number of extra copies to sell, and that's why it doesn't appear on the order form. (This is similar to the way TDCAA has sent out John Bradley's book, "The Perfect Plea," and Chip Wilkinson's ethics book to Texas prosecutors.) Ideally, any VWC who leaves a prosecutor's office would leave behind the book for the next VWC. Because we know this doesn't always happen, we print a limited number of extra copies to take turnover into account.

If you (or any office) didn't receive a sufficient number of copies for your VWCs to use, please let me know and we'll send him/her a copy of the book for as long as we have extra copies to give. Also note that there is a CD-ROM with sample forms included with the book. VWCs are free to share this CD-ROM and load it onto multiple computers in the office.