Four-and-a-half blocks off campus, 700 victims of crime have walked into an office in the Women’s Christian Alliance building seeking help.
North Central Victims Service provides support and care for victims or witnesses of crime or families of victims in the 22nd district. The center gives victims access to counseling, will provide a support advocate during court procedures and compensates victims for financial costs or losses as a result of their victimization.
“No one asks to be a victim,” said Johnathan Davis, the executive director of NCVS. “It can be a life altering event, not just physically but emotionally. In many ways it’s not short term because when someone has fallen to victimization, they often don’t know how to get back up.”
NCVS is only staffed by three people, and relies on volunteers, or “support advocates” to help keep the center from getting overwhelmed. Davis said most support advocates are students from Temple who are there to volunteer, as part of a work study or for a class.
Mike Sharpe, a junior marketing major, has been working at the NCVS since May of last year and handles marketing and assists with planning and coordinating events.
“It’s great because I’m getting a lot of experience in my role. It’s a great way to learn because I’m diving in head first,” he said.
Davis added NCVS has a strong partnership with Temple University Hospital through Scott Charles, the Trauma Outreach coordinator. He said Charles connects victims to NCVS when they come into the trauma center.
The center works in partnership with the Philadelphia Police 22nd District to reach out to victims and educate them on the services available to them and is among six other victims services centers that serve other districts in Philadelphia. NCVS also works with women’s groups that advocate against rape and abuse.
Davis said the third most common victim they serve is one of domestic violence. The most common victims they serve are first aggravated assault, second most common are theft and in fourth are victims of robbery.
Victims of crime make up about 85 percent of the total clients they received in the past year between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. Davis added the number of victims they have helped in the past six months is already exceeding the number of people they had serviced in the same span of time last year.
Julie Christie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChristieJules.