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Crime Victim Assistance Division

Iowa Crisis Response Team

What is the ICRT?

Upon invitation from a community in crisis, the Iowa Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division (CVAD) will activate a team composed of Iowa Crisis Response Team (ICRT) members. The ICRT is specifically prepared to serve communities in the wake of a disaster or crime. The ICRT service will be coordinated with other primary responders, such as the Red Cross, Iowa Emergency Management Division, and local caregivers.

What will the ICRT do?

The ICRT will respond to Iowa communities that experience a disaster or crime. The ICRT will respond only when invited by local authorities.

What are the goals of the ICRT?

  • Assist local caregivers to plan and implement immediate and long-range response after a catastrophe or disaster.
  • Provide emotional and respite support to local caregivers.
  • Provide focused training on immediate crisis response and long-term reduction of traumatic stress.
  • Provide group-debriefing sessions to critical populations groups in cooperation with local caregivers.

What services can the ICRT offer?

  1. Provide written materials on disaster assistance, including handouts, training outlines, videos, and lists of area resources.
  2. Provide 24-hour telephone consultation to a local agency responding to a crisis. Telephone services may include information and referral, telephone debriefing of local staff and volunteers, and recommendations for action after the immediate crisis response concludes.
  3. Provide limited on-scene response with a full ICRT team of 6 to 10 members. The team will provide services including materials and handouts, training and debriefing, and recommendations for after the crisis.

An experienced team of national crisis responders is also available from the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), if requested by the community and the Iowa Crisis Response Team. NOVA can also be contacted through their website at http://www.try-nova.org/.

When will the ICRT respond in communities?

An ICRT will respond to a community crisis when invited by local officials. An ICRT can be particularly helpful when:

  • The crime or trauma affects a community of people who are strongly affiliated with each other.
  • There are multiple witnesses to the trauma.
  • The victims are of special significance to the community, such as government, community, and media leaders.
  • Community members are exposed to carnage or misery.
  • The incident attracts significant media attention.

National Crisis Response Teams have responded to communities in situations such as working in New York and New Jersey after September 11th, natural disasters, school shootings and plane crashes. The ICRT has responded locally to a church arson, a drunk driving fatality, a school suicide, as well as other incidents.

When and how is the ICRT mobilized?

  1. A crime related community disaster occurs involving community leaders or multiple victims.
  2. The Mayor, prosecutor, or other local official contacts the Attorney General's Division or the Division contacts local officials to offer assistance.
  3. The CVAD contacts Crisis Response Team members to respond to the crisis.
  4. Within 24 hours of the request for assistance, Crisis Response Team members arrive to meet with local officials and other crisis responders (such as the Red Cross) to begin crisis response.

Who makes up the ICRT?

Iowa Crisis Response Team members have completed a minimum 40-hour community crisis response curriculum designed by NOVA. They are prepared to respond within 24 hours to a call for assistance.

The Iowa Crisis Response Team that responds to a specific disaster will have members from appropriate backgrounds. The ICRT membership includes professional in:

  • Victim Advocacy
  • Health Care
  • Mental Health Care
  • Clergy
  • Child Psychology
  • Media
  • Law Enforcement
  • Education

There is NO CHARGE for the ICRT to respond to your community. Any contribution a community can make to defray the cost of a team will be appreciated.

Contact

To obtain additional information, call the toll-free number or email our Victim Services Support Administrator Donna Phillips.

Iowa Attorney General's Office
Crime Victim Assistance Division
Lucas State Office Building
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Phone:             515-281-5044
Toll-Free:         800-373-5044
FAX:                515-281-8199

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