In 1999 during a Criminal Justice Conference in Austin, Gene Grounds envisioned a faith-based organization to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of victims of crime.
Extensive work was being done to rehabilitate criminals and to assist their families, but little assistance was available to the victims of crime and their families. Grounds recognized that building close relationships among local law enforcement, social service agencies and the faith community was necessary for such a vision to be successful.
The Dallas Police Department agreed to conduct a pilot program and leadership from over 50 agencies and 100 churches committed to the victim relief efforts, as well as a large contingency from the Dallas Police.
In 2000, Victim Relief was incorporated, and the Dallas pilot program began. Texas Baptist Men sponsored the start-up of the organization. The Dallas Police Department established a formal partnership with Victim Relief which not only continues to date, but is expanding into specialized areas such as crimes against senior citizens and homicide victims.
In the Spring of 2001, Grounds recognized that victims needed a professional spiritual care advocate, and with the assistance of others, co-founded a new profession of chaplaincy – Victim Chaplains.