The Norman Police Department has partnered with OU Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work to establish a Victim Advocate position to assist victims of crime and law enforcement in Norman.
Sarah Jensen, the NDP’s public information officer, wrote in an email to The Daily that the department was presenting the role of a victims’ advocate as a field internship site for a student pursuing a master’s degree in social work.
Jensen wrote that Eric Lehenbauer, captain of the NDP, will serve as the tutor for the victims’ attorney, Bonni Goodwin, training and simulation program manager for the OU center for child protection, will be the OU field instructor and Morgan Albright, an OU social work graduate pursuing a master’s degree. degree in social work, will serve as a victim advocate.
“Being able to be a social worker in a different field, there are different goals, there are different roles and responsibilities,” Goodwin said. “But to understand the really important and powerful integration of these two things is really exciting and amazing. Our student has the opportunity, as well as myself, to show it in the middle of this internship and to have this super cool chance to be part of the development of what it will look like from now on.
The victims’ advocate will help victims of crime by identifying resources for food, clothing, transportation and finding links to helpful websites or programs, Goodwin said. The position also allows Albright to collaborate with the NDP by sharing what she has learned through her social work training.
“In my position I can bring really valuable social work experience and knowledge into the different components of working with crime and work systems and at the same time support and provide empathy to police officers who are also doing it. part because it’s a simultaneous thing. I’m here for the victims and the officers too,” Albright said.
Jensen wrote that the position will strengthen the NDP’s ability to help victims of crime by assessing and identifying their needs, then connecting victims to resources to support and meet those needs.
While the NPD does not have jurisdiction over reported incidents on the college campus, Jensen wrote, Albright said the role gives OU students or anyone in Norman a place to go. if they needed it.
“I’m finding so many resources all over the town of Norman that are available for people to use if they’re in a crisis or just in a time of need, (or) any kind of help even if it’s something small or something big,” Albright said. “I think it’s a very important role to not only be able to use the resources that I have been able to identify for my role, but also for the students who come behind me in this position.”