Bucks County Crisis Response Team
Bucks County Crisis Response Team | Keystone Crisis Intervention Team
The mission of the Bucks County Crisis Response Team (BCCRT) is to facilitate crisis intervention services to crime victims and their communities in the aftermath of a traumatic event in Bucks County and surrounding counties. Interventions include but are not limited to: assessing the impact of the event on the community; developing intervention plans; and providing individual and group crisis intervention. The Bucks County Crisis Response Team is available to provide support to agencies and other community crisis teams upon request.
How was BCCRT developed?
The concept of the Bucks County Crisis Response Team was created with support from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency (PCCD). Recognizing that more and more communities are dealing with crises, PCCD has encouraged the development of local or county teams to aid in the quick delivery of services when a crisis occurs. Network of Victim Assistance of Bucks County, the crime victim assistance agency in Bucks County, submitted a grant to PCCD requesting funding for the development of the team in 1999. Through that grant and subsequent grants from PCCD, NOVA of Bucks County has been able to provide crisis response trainings to interested professionals in the county and to develop a team within the county system of emergency response. Currently the team is coordinated through the auspices of the Bucks County Emergency Health Services program.
Who are the team members and what are their qualifications?
All of the BCCRT members have attended a 40-hour Crisis Response Team training provided by the National Organization for Victim Assistance. This training has been nationally recognized for its content and success. The team members come from various professions, including mental health, medical, education, law enforcement, emergency services, and victim services.
When will the Team respond?
The BCCRT provides trained teams of professionals upon request to serve any community within Bucks County and the surrounding counties where a crime or natural disaster has taken place. Examples of such incidences would be: criminal incidents of a nature that the entire community is thrust into grief; crimes affecting children, such as school shootings; cluster suicides; or multiple victims from any criminal activity (i.e., robberies, homicides, etc.); and natural disasters such as floods, fires or tornados.
How is the Team requested?
The BCCRT can be accessed 24 hours a day through Network of Victim Assistance of Bucks County or the Bucks County Emergency Health Services. An official request or invitation should come from someone with authority at the site of the criminal incident. Generally, team members can respond within 24 hours. The individual or agency requesting the BCCRT may be asked to assist the team leader in locating a private area in order to hold group crisis intervention sessions for crime victims.
What services will the Team provide?
The BCCRT will help local decision-makers identify groups at risk of experiencing trauma. The BCCRT members will then lead one or more group crisis intervention sessions to help victims begin to talk about their reactions to the trauma and cope with the event.
When appropriate, the BCCRT will assist the local community in requesting a State Crisis Response Team from the Keystone Crisis Intervention Team. The State Team may be called upon when the scope of the traumatic event is extensive or when state attention falls upon the community. The BCCRT will serve as an intermediary between the local individual responsible for inviting the state team and the state staff arranging the state team response. In addition, the BCCRT will coordinate with other crisis response teams. This serves to ensure comprehensive community-wide services and seeks to avoid duplication of services.
What is the cost of the Teams services?
There is no fee for the Bucks County Crisis Response Team services. However, local community organizations may provide support. If local businesses are able to provide meals or travel expenses, for example, this helps reduce team members out-of-pocket expenses.
What is a community crisis?
Whole communities, like individuals, may suffer trauma in the aftermath of a criminal event or a natural disaster. The community may suffer from an effect similar to paralysis. While almost everyone is in shock, individual reactions may vary. Individuals may experience a wide variety of unexpected emotions.
How can the Team help?
The experienced crisis responders of the BCCRT can work with the organization requesting services to provide direct interventions (i.e., group or individual debriefings). Some organizations have staff identified to provide crisis response. However, during a crisis, this staff may also be directly affected by the incident, and need assistance from the BCCRT to make plans or provide debriefings.
TO ACTIVATE THE BUCKS COUNTY CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM, PLEASE CONTACT
NETWORK OF VICTIM ASSISTANCE 24 HOURS 1-800-675-6900 (Southeastern PA) OR 215-343-6543 (all other areas)