National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 10–16, 2016) and National Reentry Week (April 24–30, 2016) are both about progress, triumphs, and rebuilding lives. Commemorated in April, one highlights the progress made in supporting victims and the other in supporting those returning from jail or prison.
In a new blog post, Office of Justice Programs Fellows Daryl Atkinson and Heather Warnken discuss the relationship between these two observances - and the strategies employed by OVC to help reach underserved victims at the overlap.
"Many of the 600,000 people released from state and federal prisons and the 10 to 12 million who cycle in and out of local jails annually were once, if not many times, themselves victims of violence. They all face tremendous challenges navigating the maze of collateral consequences that may be triggered by having a record, such as lack of access to stable housing and employment. But far less–discussed is the lack of access to victim services – or the need for them in the first place.“
Read more on the Department of Justice’s Justice Blog.
Heather Warnken is participating in the Victim Assistance Professional Development Fellowship Program. She works with OVC and Bureau of Justice Statistics to improve the synthesis and translation of social science research and statistical findings to inform practice and policies in the victim services field. Daryl V. Atkinson is a Second Chance Fellow with the Bureau of Justice Assistance whose focus is on developing reentry policy.
Improving the response to youth victims and their families through consistent, coordinated efforts is critical in helping children heal from trauma. Through the Vision 21: Linking Systems of Care for Children and Youth grant, OVC awarded funding to Virginia and Montana for a project designed to:
This project will span more than 6 years to better align systems of care that respond to the needs of children, youth, families, and caregivers who have experienced victimization or were exposed to violence in their homes, schools, and communities.This past week in Reno, Nevada, officials from the Vision 21: Linking Systems of Care for Children and Youth team met for the first time to develop strategies, problem-solve barriers, and develop a vision for children and families. The team is composed of OVC staff, representatives from Virginia and Montana, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, a national-scope Steering Committee, and ICF International.
ICF International is conducting an evaluation of this demonstration project.(Posted March 11, 2016)
OVC recognizes that communication barriers prevent millions of Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and limited English proficient (LEP) victims across the country from seeking and receiving services. OVC has launched a new initiative to reach these underserved victims and bridge this gap in services.
The OVC Language Access Training and Technical Assistance Program provides a grant to the Vera Institute of Justice and its partners to ensure equal access to services for Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and LEP individuals through an innovative dual approach. The program will provide training and technical assistance, published resources, and research on promising practices for crime victim service providers and allied professionals through a new online language access resource center, in-person and online trainings, and individual consultations.
OVC also selected Tuyet Duong as a Language Access Fellow to enhance OVC’s many programs with language access components. Ms. Duong will identify effective and emerging strategies to improve access to OVC materials and programs; review OVC resources, products, and training; and develop recommendations regarding OVC’s Language Access Program Plan.(Posted March 4, 2016)
The VictimConnect Resource Center is a place for crime victims to learn about their rights and options, confidentially and compassionately. Operated by the National Center for Victims of Crime, VictimConnect offers a toll–free telephone helpline (855–4–VICTIM), an innovative online chat, referrals, and additional resources. Whether by chat or phone, trained specialists are available to assist victims of crime.(Posted January 26, 2016)
The National Adult Protective Service (APS) Training Project was created to strengthen the capacity of APS workers and their partners to serve victims of elder abuse. With funding from OVC, the Academy for Professional Excellence of the School of Social Work at San Diego State University developed curricula for the following APS trainings:
Instructor Led Training
The instructor led trainings include a PowerPoint presentation, participant and trainer manuals, an evaluation manual, an on-the-job practice workbook, and information about continuing education. Trainings and eLearning sessions are now available for use and are part of a complete set of trainings on the National Adult Protective Services Association Core Competencies for APS Workers.(Posted December 15, 2015)
The National Crime Prevention Council, with support from OVC grant funds, released the Mortgage Fraud Online Toolkit. The toolkit offers information, tip sheets, and training resources for victim service providers and allied professionals to build understanding about different types of mortgage fraud, how to best serve victims, and ways to raise awareness in the community. Victims of mortgage fraud can also use this toolkit to help document and report the crime, communicate with creditors, and limit the damage to their future financial health. (Posted November 3, 2015)
The Identity Theft Resource Center has released a free mobile app now available for download on Apple and Android devices. The ID Theft Help App, funded by a grant from OVC, provides resources for identity theft victims, including direct access to victim advisors through a 24/7 call center or live chat.
This app can help users address identity theft issues, such as a stolen wallet or unauthorized credit card purchases. The app also offers educational tools on how to protect yourself against identity theft, including best practices for public WiFi protection. Visit the Identity Theft Resource Center to learn more and download the app. (Posted September 25, 2015)
With support from an OVC Vision 21 grant, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) recently launched services to provide free, confidential support for Spanish-speaking survivors of sexual assault through the RAINN operated National Sexual Assault Online Hotline (La Línea de Ayuda Nacional Online del Asalto Sexual). In addition to services in English, Spanish-language survivors and their loved ones can receive support from trained support specialists through the Online Hotline or by calling RAINN at 1–800–656–HOPE (4673).
OVC Director Joye E. Frost states that “This RAINN initiative embodies the kind of work the field must undertake to ensure that all crime victims have access not only to services, but access that is linguistically accessible and culturally competent. The hotline’s new Spanish-language service exemplifies our shared commitment to reaching under-served victims through appropriate and victim-centered services.”
Access the hotline at: https://ohl.rainn.org/es/. (Posted May 12, 2015)
When using technology, both victim advocates and survivors need to consider safety, privacy, and security. The National Network to End Domestic Violence's Safety Net Project develops resources and information on the use of technology for survivors of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking and the agencies that support them. With support from OVC, the Safety Net Project created the following resources –
View these and other Safety Net Project materials online. (Posted May 1, 2015)
On January 5, 2015, Jean Bruggeman, OVC's Human Trafficking Fellow, wrote a blog post for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Diagnostic Center on the need for a multi-pronged approach to combatting human trafficking. Because traffickers can be part of a violent gang, international network, or even the victims' families, a variety of techniques are needed to hold traffickers accountable, stop victimization, and support the survivors. Read the blog post now to discover new resources for law enforcement, service providers, survivors, and allied professionals. Learn more about the OJP Diagnostic Center. (Posted January 8, 2015)
Through OVC’s Legal Assistance for Crime Victims Training and Technical Assistance Initiative, OVC’s Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) and the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) are presenting a free webinar featuring pro bono attorneys who stepped out of their comfort zone to tackle cutting edge victims’ rights issues. The goal of the Legal Assistance for Crime Victims Training and Technical Assistance Initiative is to expand the availability of pro bono and no-cost legal assistance for victims of crime nationally.
Webinar: Lessons From the Field: Pro Bono Spotlights
Date: August 13th
Time: 12:00 PM PDT, 3:00 PM EST
Attorneys will discuss how they got involved in victims’ rights and how they litigated key issues. The training will feature:
This webinar is one in the series. Visit OVC’s Training and Technical Assistance Center Web site to learn more. (Posted August 6, 2014)
New graphics from the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) illustrate current concerns by victim services agencies and survivors on the use of technology, as reported in a 2012 survey of more than 750 victim service organizations. The Technology Safety Strategies & Education and Technology Abuse in Partner Violence infographics highlight that—
More insights from the survey results are available in NNDEV’s blog post, Technology Abuse: Experiences of Survivors and Victim Service Agencies, published April 29, 2014.
In response to the survey findings, NNEDV’s Safety Net project developed a series of webinars on technology use and survivor safety and in the spring of 2013 hosted "From Cell Phones to Facebook: Technology Safety in a Digital World, a Webinar Series for Victim Service Agencies." The survey, webinars, and illustrations were made possible through a grant from OVC to NNEDV.
Visit NNEDV’s Safety Net Project for more information and updates about resources in development. (Posted May 2, 2014)