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News & Features

News Archive

Welcome to OVC’s News Archive—a collection of past announcements:

  • News Archive
  • Grantee News Archive
  • Partner Message Board Archive

December 2013

On December 18, 2 p.m. ET OVC will present a Web Forum Guest Host Session on coordinating SANE-SARTs in Indian country. Guest host Charity White, M.S.W., Kumeyaay Family Services Director for Southern Indian Health Council, Inc., will be available to answer your questions.

OVC’s Web Forum Guest Host, Charity White, MSW, answered questions on coordinating SANE-SARTs in Indian country. Read the transcript from the December 18th Guest Host Session. Subscribe to the OVC Web Forum E-Alert for email notifications of upcoming discussions.

Reimagine: Opportunity FinalistFinalists announced for the Partnership for Freedom Reimagine: Opportunity challenge. On December 16, 2013, the Partnership for Freedom announced the 12 finalists for the first of three innovation competitions—Reimagine: Opportunity, which is dedicated to finding new solutions in sustainable housing, economic empowerment, and social services for survivors of human trafficking. The Partnership for Freedom—comprising Humanity United and the U.S. Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development—was launched at a White House event in September 2013.

Find out more about the finalists, the Partnership for Freedom, and the Reimagine: Opportunity challenge, by visiting the Partnership for Freedom Web site.

Together, we can turn our ideas into opportunity.

Read questions and answers from the Web Forum Guest Host Session on intersections between elder financial exploitation and other types of elder abuse. Jeannie Beidler, an Elder Advocate, and Shelly Jackson, Ph.D., an OVC visiting fellow, were available during the live discussion.

National Summit on Wrongful Convictions: Building a Systematic Approach to Prevent Wrongful ConvictionsA newly released IACP report offers a strategy to reduce wrongful arrest and prosecution. On December 3, 2013, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), with support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), components of the Office of Justice Programs, released National Summit on Wrongful Convictions: Building a Systematic Approach to Prevent Wrongful Convictions.

This report is the result of the National Wrongful Conviction Summit, jointly supported by BJA, NIJ, and OVC, that brought together 75 subject matter experts, including victim advocates and victims, to examine the cause and solutions to wrongful convictions across the justice system.

Read the National Summit on Wrongful Convictions Report to learn about this proposed comprehensive strategy to reduce wrongful arrests, prosecutions, convictions, and incarcerations of innocent individuals and ensure the right offender is punished, preventing victims from being retraumatized after exoneration.


November 2013

On November 20, OVC presented a Web Forum Guest Host Session on innovative practices in victim assistance and compensation. Laura Banks Reed, J.D., Director of the D.C. Superior Court’s Crime Victims Compensation Program, and Shontel Wright, Program Director for the Victim Assistance Unit of the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, led the discussion. Visit the OVC Web Forum today to read the questions and answers from the discussion and share your own comments.

OVC products receive MarCom Awards, an international creative competition that recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communication professionals. In 2013, there were over 6,500 entries competing from throughout the United States, Canada, and several other countries and the following OVC products were recognized—

Sherri Stearns, Office Coordinator and Logistics/Social Marketing Coordinator for Unified Solutions Tribal Community Development Group, Inc.Tribute to Sherri Stearns

On November 3, 2013, the victim services field lost a strong advocate for crime victims in Indian Country, Sherri Anne Gessendorf Stearns. Born in New Jersey, Sherri lived in many places during her childhood, including Germany, California, South Dakota, and Ohio before settling in Arizona.

Sherri had a long relationship with the tribal community and brought more than 20 years of work experience to her position as the Office Coordinator and Logistics/Social Marketing Coordinator for Unified Solutions Tribal Community Development Group, Inc., in Arizona. Through her work at Unified Solutions, Sherri became a strong advocate for victims of crime within tribal communities and will be remembered by Unified Solutions staff as someone who touched more lives than she ever realized. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse herself, Sherri had a deep insight, different perspective, and a deeper level of understanding regarding children who are exposed to violence.

In her personal life, Sherri wrote poetry, but for anyone that knew her, it was clear that she loved animals. She shared her home with chickens, four dogs, six cats, two thoroughbred horses, and one quarter horse. She was extremely passionate and active in advocating for the well treatment of animals. At the time of her death, she was very committed to working for the protection of wild horses.

Her parents, siblings, extended family members, beloved pets, friends, and colleagues will sorely miss her dedication, passion, humor, and empathy. Everyone at OVC appreciates the wonderful work of Sherri Stearns and shares Unified Solutions’ deep sense of loss at her passing. Our thoughts are with her family, friends, and colleagues.

October's Web Forum guest hosts discussed integrating crime victims’ issues into college and university curricula. The questions-and-answers session was led by Dr. Alison Cares, Dr. Mario Gaboury, and Dr. Linda Williams and can be read on the Web Forum and in the October 30th transcript. Visit the OVC Web Forum today to take part in the ongoing conversation and share your own comments.

October 2013

This Web site will be undergoing maintenance on the evening of Thursday, October 24 as well as throughout the weekend of Saturday, October 26 through Sunday October 27. During these periods, the Web site and its features may be unavailable. If you encounter problems, please try back later. We regret any inconvenience.

On October 30, at 2 p.m. ET, OVC will conduct a Web Forum Guest Host Session on integrating crime victims’ issues into college and university curricula. Join Dr. Alison Cares, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Assumption College, Dr. Mario Gaboury, Dean of the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven, Connecticut, and Dr. Linda Williams, Professor at the School of Criminology and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell, for the live discussion. Submit your questions for the hosts to answer during the session.

On September 27, at 2 p.m. ET, OVC conducted a Web Forum Guest Host Session on responding to older crime victims with disabilities. Nancy Alterio, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission, and Mary Counihan, M.S.W., President of the National Adult Protective Services Association, hosted the live discussion. Read the older crime victims with disabilities session transcript now.

September 2013

If you are a victim, witness, or survivor of the Navy Yard shooting seeking assistance, please contact the Navy Yard Victim Assistance Response Line at 1-866-962-5048. The District of Columbia opened the Navy Yard Victim Assistance Response Line on Sunday, September 22, 2013. Staffed with trained advocates, the helpline offers short- and long-term victim advocacy, trauma-informed therapy, and counseling. Individuals living and working in the neighborhood are welcome to seek assistance as well.

On September 27, at 2 p.m. ET, OVC will conduct a Web Forum Guest Host Session on responding to older crime victims with disabilities.  Join Nancy Alterio, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission, and Mary Counihan, M.S.W., President of the National Adult Protective Services Association, for the live discussion. Submit your questions for the hosts to answer during the session.

We at OVC convey our deepest sympathies to the victims of the Navy Yard shootings and their families. Resources are available. The Mayor’s Assistance Center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for anyone affected by the Navy Yard shootings. Crisis counselors, advocates, and staff from the DC crime victim compensation program, DC Department of Mental Health (DMH), and the Red Cross are available to assist with any needs, including mental health assistance, compensation assistance, and assistance with return of property left in the buildings at the Navy Yard. The Assistance Center is located at:

King Greenleaf Recreation Center
201 N St., SW
Washington, DC 20024

People who are seeking emergency mental health treatment may contact the DMH Access Helpline at 1-888-793-4357, which is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Friends, families, and survivors who are in need of follow-up or longer term care may contact the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing at 202-624-0010 or the Network for Victim Recovery of DC at 202-727-1727.

If you are seeking information about crime victim compensation, please contact the DC Superior Court Crime Victims Compensation Program at 202-879-4216.

For additional referrals to programs that can provide assistance in the aftermath of this tragedy, please contact the DC Office of Victim Services at 202-727-3934.

Submit ideas for the Partnership for Freedom challenge, Reimagine: Opportunity, by November 17 to help solve the challenges facing victims of human trafficking. On September 16, 2013, at the White House, the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development, along with Humanity United, launched the Partnership for Freedom. This is a public-private partnership designed to spur innovative solutions to the challenges of human trafficking.  The partnership will launch three challenges that aim to confront some of the deepest difficulties facing survivors; and identify, incubate, and pilot the most innovative and sustainable solutions. Reimagine: Opportunity is the first of three challenges, which is dedicated to improving the infrastructure of support for survivors of modern-day slavery. We invite you to participate in this competition by putting together your team, formulating your ideas, and submitting your application to Partnership for Freedom by November 17, 2013.

2014 NCVRW theme colors are cornflower blue and black or PMS 285C and PMS Black COVC is pleased to announce the 2014 theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW)—30 Years: Restoring the Balance of Justice—to be observed Sunday April 6–Saturday April, 12, 2014. The 2014 color palette is cornflower blue (PMS 285C) and black (PMS Black C). The color samples are shown in the water droplets image along with comparable colors for use in electronic media and Web sites.

The 2014 NCVRW Resource Guide is anticipated to be mailed to the field in early 2014, while the 2014 NCVRW Theme Poster will be mailed separately to the field this Fall. Order a hard copy of the Guide to help you in your public awareness raising efforts with—

  • Customizable public awareness posters.
  • Camera-ready artwork in black and white and in color.
  • 2014 NCVRW Theme DVD emphasizing how the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) has helped to restore justice to victims since its passage in 1984.
  • Sample speeches.
  • Statistical overviews.

For a free copy of the 2014 NCVRW Resource Guide and 2014 NCVRW Theme Poster, sign up for the NCVRW mailing list.

 

In commemoration of National Preparedness Month, OVC held a Web Forum Guest Host Session on preparing and assessing strategically for community crisis. Ginger Bankston Bailey, Director of Community Outreach and Training at Methodist Behavioral Hospital/Methodist Family Health in Arkansas, and Lori Gerber, experienced professional in the field of crisis response and victim advocacy, answered questions during the session. Visit the OVC Web Forum today to read this and other discussions of interest.

August 2013

OVC seeks comments on proposed regulation for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Assistance Formula Grant Program. VOCA authorizes OVC to provide annual grants from the Crime Victims Fund to states and territories to financially support direct services to crime victims through eligible victim assistance programs.  The proposed regulation provides guidance to state/territorial agencies administering the VOCA victim assistance program, and reflects changes in VOCA, the allocation of funds, OVC policy, and the needs of the crime victims field.

The proposed regulation is posted to Regulations.gov for a 60-day comment period, ending October 28, 2013. Your comments will help ensure that VOCA-funded services are of the highest quality and are readily accessible to every victim of crime in our Nation.

Read the proposed regulation and submit comments by October 28, 2013.

Photo of Joye E. Frost, Director of the Office for Victims of Crime.
Joye E. Frost
Director of OVC
President Obama appoints Joye E. Frost to Director of OVC. Ms. Frost has served OVC since 1997, previously holding the titles of Principal Deputy Director, Acting Director, and Program Specialist. During her tenure at OVC, Ms. Frost—

  • Launched the Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services initiative.
  • Forged closer ties with State Victims of Crime Act administrators.
  • Championed the integration of innovation with research in OVC’s efforts to build capacity in the field.
  • Fostered a groundbreaking partnership between OVC and the Department of Defense to strengthen support to military victims of sexual assault.
  • Expanded OVC’s work to assist victims in Indian Country.

Join us in welcoming Ms. Frost to the position of OVC Director!

OVC releases the 2013 Report to the Nation: Transforming Today’s Vision Into Tomorrow’s Reality, which summarizes the progress made in upholding crime victims’ rights and providing high-quality services to victims, survivors, and communities during fiscal years 2011−2012. The online report highlights innovative programs and victim-centered initiatives, summarizes financial support to states and U.S. territories, and provides insight into OVC’s strategic efforts to address both emerging and enduring challenges in order to expand and enhance victim assistance throughout the Nation.

The Office for Victims of Crime commits a significant amount of its discretionary funding to supporting victim-centered services in Indian Country. Poverty, isolation, high crime rates, and a chronic lack of services for victims of crime in Indian Country all contribute to making American Indian/Alaska Native communities a high priority for enhanced programs and services. Read about how OVC Builds Capacity To Serve Crime Victims in Indian Country.

The Office for Victims of Crime announces $512,730 grant to support victims of the Sikh Temple attack in Oak Creek, WI (PDF 80 kb). In a justice blog post commemorating the anniversary of the Sikh Temple shooting, Attorney General Eric Holder announced this grant and other steps the Justice Department is taking to help the victims of this and other hate crimes against Sikhs.  

The grant is made possible through the Antiterrorism Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP), established in 1995 to  assist victims in extraordinary circumstances.

July 2013

Review questions and answers from OVC’s latest Web Forum Guest Host Session on addressing ID theft cases with large numbers of victims. Held on July 24, 2013, Debbie Deem, Federal Bureau of Investigation Victim Specialist and Theresa Ronnebaum, Identity Theft Victim Services Program Specialist for the Florida Office of the Attorney General were guest hosts of the online discussion.OVC Web Forum for Victim Service Providers

On July 24, at 2 p.m. ET, OVC will conduct a Web Forum Guest Host Session on addressing ID theft cases with large numbers of victims. Join Debbie Deem, Federal Bureau of Investigation Victim Specialist and Theresa Ronnebaum, Identity Theft Victim Services Program Specialist for the Florida Office of the Attorney General for the live discussion. Submit your questions for the hosts to answer during the session.

The Crime Report publishes article highlighting the Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report. On July 9, 2013, The Crime Report published an article by Mai Fernandez, Executive Director, National Center for Victims of Crime, which outlined the holistic approach of the Vision 21 initiative and identified the findings and recommendations from final report. Visit the Vision 21 Web site and read the final report if you’d like to learn more about this groundbreaking initiative.

June 2013

Read the summary from the second National Coordination Committee (Committee) meeting for the American Indian/Alaska Native Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner—Sexual Assault Response Team Initiative. On April 17, 2013, fourteen members met via web conference to discuss and develop formal recommendations to present to the Attorney General. Read the April 2013 summary (457 kb PDF) and visit the AI/AN SANE-SART Initiative Web pages for more information about this project and the Committee.

OVC awards a $141,783 grant to the Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center, Inc. (CAC) to assist the victims of the Midland City, Alabama school bus shooting. On January 29, 2013, Jimmy Lee Dykes kidnapped a 5-year-old boy from a school bus in Midland City, Alabama, killing the bus driver in the process. The boy was taken hostage to a nearby underground bunker and was held for 6 days before being rescued. Many other children were also traumatized—35 lost their bus driver and 20 witnessed the bus driver’s murder. With funding from OVC’s Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP), the Southeast Alabama CAC will provide trauma counseling as well as appropriate emotional and psychological services for the child victims impacted by this tragedy. Visit the AEAP Web site for more information about the program.

On June 7, 2013, OVC released the Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report (PDF 1.2 mb). 

Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report

In a press release issued by the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated, “Through Vision 21, we’ve gained an unprecedented understanding of the current state of victim services from coast to coast. And we've developed groundbreaking strategies for responding to urgent needs, combating violence and abuse, and providing critical support to crime victims.”

“This is a bold and creative plan to meet the needs of crime victims in the 21st century,” said Assistant Attorney General for OJP Karol V. Mason. “The recommendations in this report display the latest and best thinking in the field of victim services and set us on a course to ensuring services for all victims.”

This final report follows the release of the Vision 21: Transforming Victim Service Framework document, announced on Capitol Hill in April 2013 by Senator Patrick J. Leahy (Vermont). Mary Lou Leary, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, Joye Frost, Principal Deputy Director, Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, William Kellibrew, President, William Kellibrew Foundation, and Katie Ray-Jones, President, National Domestic Violence Hotline, also delivered remarks about this groundbreaking initiative to transform the landscape of victim services in the 21st century. 

Be among the first to read the outcome of the first comprehensive assessment of the crime victim assistance field in nearly 15 years. View the report to see the findings, recommendations, and strategies revealed through the Vision 21 initiative that have the potential to transform our work on behalf of victims.

Nominations are being accepted for the 2014 National Crime Victims’ Service Awards. Each year, OVC recognizes extraordinary individuals, organizations, teams, and programs that demonstrate outstanding achievements in supporting victims and victim services. The recipients are honored at the National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC. View past recipients and, if you know a similarly deserving individual, group, team, or program, submit a nomination by Wednesday, September 4, 2013.

Visit the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Web site for details about NCVRW—April 6-12, 2014—and the Awards Ceremony as they become available.

On June 5, 2013, OVC held an online discussion on Incorporating LGBTQ Victims’ Needs into Mainstream Victim Services. Robin Parker, Executive Director of the Beyond Diversity Resource Center, and Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, led this OVC Web Forum Guest Host Session. Visit the OVC Web Forum today to read the questions and answers from the discussion and share your own comments.

May 2013

On May 15, 2013, OVC held a Web forum session on drunk driving and child endangerment with guest hosts from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD): John Evans, National Training Manager for Victim Services, and Carl McDonald, National Law Enforcement Initiative Manager. Visit the OVC Web Forum today to read the questions and answers from the discussion and share your own comments.

On June 5, 2013, join OVC for an online discussion on Incorporating LGBTQ Victims’ Needs into Mainstream Victim Services. Robin Parker, Executive Director of the Beyond Diversity Resource Center, and Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, will lead this OVC Web Forum Guest Host Session on June 5, 2012, at 2 p.m. (eastern time).

Pre-submit your questions to the guest hosts and return to the OVC Web Forum the day of the Session to participate in the online discussion.

On May 15, 2013, join OVC for a Web forum session on drunk driving and child endangerment with guest hosts from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD): John Evans, National Training Manager for Victim Services, and Carl McDonald, National Law Enforcement Initiative Manager. Submit your questions now and return on the day of the session May 15, 2013, at 2 p.m. (eastern time), to participate in the online discussion.

June grant application deadlines are fast approaching! Visit OVC’s Current Funding Opportunities page to view OVC’s open grants supporting—

  • Crime Victim Compensation Program Initiative Solicitation. Application Deadline: 06/03/2013.
  • Bridging the Gap in Victim-Related Research to Practice. Application Deadline: 06/10/2013.
  • Services for Victims of Human Trafficking. Application Deadline: 06/10/2013.
  • Victim Assistance Professional Development Fellowship Program - Vision 21 Fellowships. Application Deadline: 06/10/2013.
  • An Evidence-Based Approach to Understanding and Addressing Vicarious Trauma in Victim Assistance Professionals, Law Enforcement Officers, and Other First Responders. Application Deadline: 06/13/2013.

In 2014, NCVRW will be observed April 6–12, 2014. Visit the NCVRW Web site regularly for information about the 2014 NCVRW theme and colors or sign up for the NCVRW mailing list.

April 2013

OVC will award one cooperative agreement of $1,250,000 to examine, assess, identify, and pilot-test evidence-based policies, practices, procedures, and protocols designed to facilitate an understanding of and comprehensive approach to addressing vicarious (or secondary) traumatic stress in victim assistance professionals, law enforcement personnel, and other first responders. Deadline: June 13, 2013.

OVC will award one cooperative agreement of $750,000 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of victim service providers and social science researchers to assess their capacity and readiness to engage in meaningful dialogue about critical issues and emerging knowledge in the victims field. Deadline: June 10, 2013.

OVC will award two fellowships of up to $135,000 to undertake activities on issues emanating from OVC’s strategic planning initiative, Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services. Deadline: June 10, 2013.

OVC will award approximately seven cooperative agreements of up to $400,000 each to support comprehensive and specialized services to victims of human trafficking throughout the United States. Deadline: June 10, 2013.

OVC Web Forum for Victim Service ProvidersOVC held a Web Forum session on April 19 to discuss Responding to Sexual Assault Victims through Military/Civilian Partnerships. The online discussion was cohosted by Major Matthew Youngblood, a Victim Assistance Advisor for the U.S. Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, and Hallie Martyniuk, author of Strengthening Military-Civilian Community Partnerships To Respond to Sexual Assault.

Visit the OVC Web Forum today to read the questions and answers from the discussion and share your own comments..

 

Attorney General Eric Holder honored 12 individuals, programs, teams, and organizations for service to crime victims during the National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony, which was held on April 24. Tony West, Acting Associate Attorney General; Mary Lou Leary, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs; and Joye Frost, OVC Principal Deputy Director, also addressed attendees at this annual event that honors heroic and hard-working individuals for their extraordinary service to crime victims. If you missed the event and would like to learn more, visit the following:

If you were injured during or an eyewitness to the Boston Marathon bombings and have not already spoken to a FBI Victim Specialist, contact the FBI Office for Victim Assistance at victim.assistance@ic.fbi.gov or call the FBI Victim Assistance Call Center at 1-800-331-0075. You may have access to rights and resources, such as special funding to provide emergency assistance, crimes compensation, and counseling.

Two first-year awards totaling $350,000 will be awarded to develop promising practices, models, or programs designed to enhance the administration of crime victim compensation programs at the state level; and to increase program responsiveness, efficiency, and accessibility for all crime victims throughout the state or territory, especially underserved victims. Deadline: June 3, 2013.

OVC Web Forum for Victim Service ProvidersThe next OVC Web Forum session is planned for April 19 to discuss Responding to Sexual Assault Victims through Military/Civilian Partnerships. Join the online discussion cohosted by Major Matthew Youngblood, a Victim Assistance Advisor for the U.S. Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, and Hallie Martyniuk, author of Strengthening Military-Civilian Community Partnerships To Respond to Sexual Assault.

Visit the OVC Web Forum now to submit questions for Ms. Martyniuk and Major Youngblood and return on April 19 at 2 p.m. (eastern time) for the live discussion.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is seeking entries for the IACP/LogIn Excellence in Victim Services Award, which recognizes law enforcement agencies for innovative victim response practices. See IACP’s Web site for more information; entries are due by May 3, 2013.

On April 10, OVC conducted a Web Forum on Child Welfare Agencies Responding to Child Identity Theft. Hosts Howard Davidson, Catherine Heath, and Steven Toporoff were on hand to answer questions from the field. The hosted session was held in commemoration of National Child Abuse Prevention Month by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) in coordination with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Visit the OVC Web Forum today to read the questions and answers from the discussion and share your own comments.

OVC is seeking your comments by May 24, 2013, on Coordination, Collaboration, Capacity: Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, 2013–2017. On Tuesday, April 9, 2013, the White House announced the release of this 5-year plan that embraces the principles of freedom and equality set forth in the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago.  Led by cochairs from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Justice, the collaborative, multiphase effort outlined in the plan is open for public comment. The purpose of this comment period is to provide an opportunity for stakeholders and experts within the
anti-trafficking field, and civil society at large, to—

  • review the plan,
  • make recommendations to strengthen the plan,
  • suggest additional items that can be accomplished through collaboration with states, tribes, and local communities or partners.

By participating in this public comment period, you will be contributing to the realization of a sustainable, comprehensive, and trauma-informed victim services response to victims of human trafficking. 

To read the plan and learn more about the public comment period, including guidance on submitting comments, visit https://acfstrongertogether.ideascale.com.

Vincent Roper, Cofounder of MCVRC
Vincent Roper, Cofounder of MCVRC

On April 4, 2013, the victim services field lost a national pioneer of victims’ rights, Vincent Roper, one of the founders of the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center (MCVRC). On April 3, he spent the day in Maryland’s state capitol at the First Annual Crime Victims & Advocates Commemorative Day and the Governor’s Victim Service Awards Luncheon, during which Vince and his wife, fellow advocate Roberta, were recognized with a citation from Governor Martin O’Malley on the 30th anniversary of their daughter Stephanie’s murder.

Born in Pennsylvania, Vincent enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 and was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, where he graduated with the class of 1956. He retired from the Navy as a Captain with more than 30 years of service.1 Circumstances led him to spend the rest of his life in service to his country in the fight for the rights of crime victims.

The Ropers are part of the history of crime victims’ rights in America, turning their tragic pain into tireless dedication for improving conditions for victims. Vince Roper was one of the founders of the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center, an organization that evolved from the merging of the Stephanie Roper Foundation and Committees. In 30 years of service to the victims field, the Ropers were part of all of the major advances in crime victims’ rights in Maryland and nationally. In fact, part of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, a section of the Justice for All Act of 2004, was named for Stephanie Roper.

Vince and Roberta participated in the Oral History Project, an OVC-funded undertaking by the University of Akron that is designed to provide an oral history of the crime victims’ rights movement. The Ropers, through the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center have been at the forefront of ensuring that crime victims are awarded the rights to which they are entitled. The Resource Center was one of the original pilot sites for the National Crime Victim Law Institute, a now nationwide effort to provide pro bono legal representation to victims of crime to enforce their rights as victims. This effort, along with so many other important innovations in the field of victims’ rights, led to the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center being awarded the 2006 Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services from OVC.

His children and grandchildren, friends, and colleagues will sorely miss his dedication and devotion to the cause, and his warm and gentle personality. Everyone at OVC appreciates the wonderful work of Vincent Roper, and shares the deep loss felt by all who knew him. Our thoughts are with Roberta and all of his family and friends.


1 Based on information from the obituaries on Gazette.Net (Maryland newspaper online) and The Washington Post.

 

Register to attend an OVC sponsored virtual conference on mortgage fraud hosted by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) on April 10, 2013. NCPC wants to increase public awareness about mortgage fraud with a dual-track conference that provides useful resources and sessions for current and potential homeowners, victims of mortgage fraud, and victim support advocates. This conference, also sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, is scheduled for April 10, 2013, in a virtual environment and includes workshops on topics such as—

  • government responses to the mortgage fraud crisis;
  • the impact of mortgage fraud;
  • discriminatory lending cases;
  • and mortgage fraud hotspots.

You’ll also have the opportunity to engage OVC staff during the event in the virtual exhibit hall. For more information, view the NCPC Mortgage Fraud Conference Agenda and the speaker biographies.

March 2013

Up to six first-year awards of $35,000 will be awarded to develop State Victim Assistance Academies (SVAA) that will provide comprehensive, academically based, fundamental education and training for victim assistance providers, victim advocates, criminal justice personnel, and allied professionals who routinely work with victims of crime. Deadline: May 13, 2013.

Read the summary from the December National Coordination Committee (Committee) meeting for the American Indian/ Alaska Native Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner—Sexual Assault Response Team Initiative, held prior to the 13th National Indian Nations Conference on the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. The report (670 kb PDF) from the December meeting includes minutes, action items, and next steps for the Committee. Visit the AI/AN SANE-SART Initiative Web pages for more information about this project and the Committee.

New Challenges. New Solutions. National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 21-27, 2013Attend the National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony on April 24, 2013, at 2:00 pm (ET) in Washington, DC.  During this annual ceremony, OVC recognizes individuals, teams, programs, and organizations that demonstrate outstanding service in supporting crime victims and victim services. Register online by April 19, 2013 to attend. This event is free and open to the public but please note that government-issued photo IDs are required to attend the event.

NCVRW Webinar March 14, 2013, 2 p.m. eastern. Register.Learn how to make the most of your 2013 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide by attending an OVC-funded webinar. On March 15, 2013, at 2:00 pm (eastern time), join Susan Smith Howley, National Center for Victims of Crime, for a guided tour of the 2013 NCVRW Resource Guide. Register for this free webinar now to learn tips and tricks for designing memorable materials and to brush up on your social media lingo.

On March 6, OVC and BJA conducted a Web Forum on meeting the legal needs of adult and minor victims of human trafficking. Hosts Jean Bruggeman, Human Trafficking Fellow with OVC, and Robin Hassler Thompson, consultant on legal issues related to human trafficking, answered questions from the field. Visit the OVC Web Forum today to read the questions and answers from the discussion and share your own comments.

One cooperative agreement of $375,000 will be awarded to support the provision of financial and technical assistance to 60 communities nationwide to conduct public education and awareness activities on crime victims’ rights and services in their jurisdictions during the 2014 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Deadline: April 18, 2013.

February 2013

On March 6, at 2 p.m. ET, OVC and BJA will conduct a Web Forum Guest Host Session on meeting the legal needs of adult and minor victims of human trafficking. Join Jean Bruggeman, Human Trafficking Fellow with OVC and Robin Hassler Thompson, consultant on legal issues related to human trafficking for the live discussion. Submit your questions for the hosts to answer during the session.

On February 28, 2013, the House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The reauthorization of VAWA will help to continue to reduce domestic violence, improve how victims of rape are treated, and extend protections to Native American women and members of the LGBT community. Read statements from the President and Vice President on today’s vote.

OVC releases Through Our Eyes: Children, Violence, and Trauma—a series of videos and resources that addresses the needs of children exposed to crime, abuse, and violence. The videos and resource guides highlight major issues in child victimization, identify promising practices for service providers and others working with young victims, and show how trauma-informed care can help child victims recover to lead healthy, productive lives.

Grant deadlines are fast approaching! Visit OVC’s Current Funding Opportunities page to view OVC’s open grants supporting—

Grant deadlines are fast approaching! OVC has three open solicitations with March submission deadlines. Visit OVC’s Current Funding Opportunities page to view OVC’s open grants supporting—

In commemoration of National Black History Month, OVC presented a Web Forum Guest Host Session on reaching young men of color exposed to violence with guest hosts Mitru Ciarlante, Director of Child & Club Safety for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Dr. John Rich, Professor and Chair of Health Management and Policy at the Drexel University School of Public Health and MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Logo for the 12th Annual Crime Victim Law Conference, June 7-8, 2013, in Portland Oregon.Registration is now open for the 12th Annual Crime Victim Law Conference scheduled for June 7-8, 2013, in Portland, Oregon. Held at the Lewis & Clark Law School, this National Crime Victim Law Institute conference will focus on victims’ rights enforcement in criminal cases and providing participants the knowledge and practical skills necessary to provide effective legal services to crime victims.

The conference is designed primarily for—

  • Attorneys (such as a victims’ rights attorney, prosecutor, civil victim attorney, judge, defense attorney)
  • System-based and community-based advocates
  • Allied criminal justice professionals
  • Law students
  • Crime victims/survivors

 Consider attending this event. Scholarship opportunities are available.

OVC is seeking a Communication Specialist to perform a variety of outreach, development, and implementation duties regarding Web content management, print and electronic resources, communications, and information dissemination responsibilities. For more details on the position, duties, qualifications, and how to apply, please visit USAJOBS. Apply by March 4, 2013.

The OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) is seeking applicants for a Human Trafficking Team Leader position. OVC TTAC’s Human Trafficking Team Leader position provides technical and thought leadership on human trafficking through project design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. The Team Leader must also plan and carry out numerous concurrent activities on behalf of the project and the client. For more details, including job responsibilities, view the announcement.

Support for Aurora, CO Shooting VictimsOVC awards a $2.9 million, 3-year grant to the Colorado Department of Public Safety to support the victims of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado that took place on July 20, 2012. Through OVC’s Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program, the Colorado Department of Public Safety will provide funding to other Colorado agencies, including the 18th District Attorney’s Office, Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, Aurora Mental Health Center, Denver and Aurora Police Departments, and Jefferson and Arapahoe County Sheriffs’ Departments, to support more than 1,500 crime victims. This includes the 12 killed, 69 wounded and their families, other people in the theater complex at that time, people evacuated from an apartment complex where explosive devices were discovered, and first responders to the emergency.

Related reading:

OVC Grantee Orientation WebinarsWatch Grant Requirements and Measuring Success, the final two webinars in the OVC Discretionary Grantee Orientation Series.

On December 13, 2012, OVC hosted the third webinar, Grant Requirements, during which participants learned about progress reports, details on special conditions, the Grants Management System, and more critical topics related to managing the award. This webinar also highlighted resources available to grantees through the OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center and the OVC Resource Center. If you missed this event or simply wish to watch it again, you may view this webinar online. Please be sure to complete the evaluation.

On January 10, 2013, OVC hosted its fourth and final webinar, Measuring Success, about performance measures of the award, evaluating the program, and closeout instructions. After viewing the webinar, please complete the evaluation.

The first 2 Webinars in this series have been posted to OVC.gov and cover Getting Started and Financial and Legal Responsibilities.

Click image for larger view and caption.
Image of Federal Advisory Committee members.
Photo: Federal Advisory Committee Members

The first National Coordination Committee (Committee) meeting for the American Indian/ Alaska Native Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner—Sexual Assault Response Team Initiative preceded the 13th National Indian Nations Conference. On December 4–5, 2012, 14 members of the Committee met at the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation to discuss and develop formal recommendations to present to OVC. The committee’s work will inform OVC and its federal, tribal, and nongovernmental partners of the existing resources, challenges, and gaps related to sexual violence response. The Committee also will make recommendations for funding, training, and policies related to sexual violence service provision in AI/AN communities.

Leaders from OVC, the Indian Health Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation provided welcoming remarks, which set the stage for the 2-day working meeting. Several themes emerged early on, including the need for collaboration and system linkages—at community, tribal, state, and federal levels; systematic delivery of professional training within and across disciplines; and development of solutions based on diverse perspectives.

Sarah Deer, Committee Chair, framed the issues as "spiritual survival." She commented, "This represents an historic moment. Decades, perhaps centuries of grassroots work has been done within tribal communities. Now there is formal recognition that the coordination of federal and tribal efforts is a national priority." Read what other participants had to say during the meeting:

  • "Collaboration is a traditional value. We all work together; it’s what we do naturally. Everything we do has an impact on those around us because we’re all connected." – Peggy L. Bird, Chief Judge of the Laguna Pueblo Court and National American Indian Court Judges Association Representative

  • "As mothers, daughters, aunties—it is our responsibility to give voice to our children and women." – Linda Logan, Executive Director of the Native American Children’s Alliance

  • "Tribal systems of justice existed prior to the Constitution of the United States. Restorative justice approaches must be integrated into the work of tribal justice systems today" – Geri Wisner-Foley, Tribal Prosecutor and Chief of Staff for the Native American Children’s Alliance

January 2013

One discretionary grant of $150,000 will be awarded to plan and implement the National Joint Training Conference for VOCA Victim Assistance and Victim Compensation Administrators, to be held in 2014. Apply by March 18, 2013.

On January 30, 2013, hear Tony West, Acting Associate Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, address participants at Transforming the Coalition, an anti-human trafficking symposium. In recognition of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, this symposium, hosted by Deloitte Consulting LLP and Georgetown University, will provide a forum for discussing immigration-related law enforcement challenges through the lens of anti-human trafficking. Join government, academic, not for profit, and business leaders for discussions about trends, challenges, new technologies, and current communication capabilities, such as data analytics and supply chain risk management, which can assist in the fight against human trafficking.

Date: January 30, 2013 Georgetown University logo
Time: Registration and Refreshments (8:30 to 9:00 a.m.)
Program (9:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.)
Where: Georgetown University
Bunn Intercultural Center Auditorium
37th and O Streets NW
Washington, DC 20057

Keynote speakers include:

  • Tony West, Acting Associate Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
  • John Morton, Director, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Luis CdeBaca, Ambassador at Large, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons,  U.S. Department of State
  • Alice Hill, Senior Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Mira Sorvino, Academy Award-winning actress and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on Human Trafficking

Read more about this event and register now. For questions about the event, please contact Bradley Saull at 571-814-6725 or bsaull@deloitte.com, or Abbie Taylor at 202-687-2155 or act64@georgetown.edu.

In commemoration of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, OVC and OJJDP presented a Web Forum discussion on Providing Services to Runaway Youth and Victims of Human Trafficking with guest hosts Danny Stewart and Fiona Mason.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) are pleased to announce the release of a Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 competitive solicitation titled Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking. This FY 2013 program will fund Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force sites that take a comprehensive approach to combating all forms of trafficking—sex trafficking and labor trafficking of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens (male and female, adults and minors). Cooperative agreements of up to $500,000 are expected to be awarded. At each selected site, two awards will be made. Awards will be made by BJA to support law enforcement agencies to coordinate the goals, objectives, and activities of the entire task force in close collaboration with the local U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) and victim service provider partner. Awards will be made by OVC to support a victim service organization to coordinate the provision of a comprehensive array of culturally and linguistically appropriate services to all trafficking victims identified within the geographic area impacted by the task force.

One cooperative agreement of $350,000 will be awarded to produce the 2014 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide, which will serve as a resource for the victims field to support efforts to heighten the public’s awareness of crime victim issues nationwide during NCVRW in April 2014, and throughout the year. Apply by March 13, 2013.

The 3-day event that will bring together multidisciplinary stakeholder teams to share their experiences and knowledge about how to respond to victims, survivors, and communities. For more information, view the conference schedule.

 

November 2013

OVC Fellow Publishes Blog Post on Responding to Elder Abuse

On October 30, 2013, Shelly Jackson, PhD, OVC’s Financial Fraud and Abuse Visiting Fellow, and Carrie F. Mulford, PhD, a Social Science Analyst at the National Institute of Justice, wrote a blog post for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency on the use of multidisciplinary teams (MDT) in responding to elder abuse. Elder abuse cases are typically complex and because of that complexity and that "no one agency possesses all the skills necessary for investigating and responding to elder abuse, communities are increasingly turning to multidisciplinary teams." Read the blog post now to learn how an MDT response to elder abuse cases offer multiple benefits for both victims and the MDT members.

Participate in Webinar on Recovering After Foreclosure

National Crime Prevention CouncilOn November 21, 2013, at 2–3 pm (EST), the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) will host Life After Foreclosure: Road to Recovery. This OVC-funded webinar will provide best practices and highlight the areas that will assist mortgage fraud victims with their credit rating and help in their overall recovery efforts. Information will also be shared on the best ways to manage, track, and protect their credit.

The featured speaker will be Todd Mark, Vice President of Education, at Consumer Credit Counseling Services in Dallas, Texas.

Registration is required. Victim service providers, allied professionals, attorneys, and homeowners are encouraged to participate to enhance their knowledge of this complex issue.

September 2013

New Video and Online Training from the SANE-SART Resource Service

Awareness Video

Break the Silence: Sexual Assault and the SART SolutionWith funding from OVC, the SANE-SART Resource Service released a video titled, Break the Silence: Sexual Assault and the SART Solution. The 20-minute video is designed to help in the creation a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and can be used to educate other potential members, management, and the community on how SARTs can provide improved response to victims of sexual assault and increased offender conviction rates. Special attention is given to benefits of SARTs in tribal and rural areas.

Online Learning Program

Through funding from OVC, the SANE-SART Resource Service’s SANE-SART Online Learning Program has expanded to include special tracks for victim advocates, law enforcement officers, and legal representatives beginning this September.SANE-SART Online Learning Program

After completing 32 hours of self-directed online learning about adult and adolescent SANE didactic, students will attend an 8-hour webinar that will augment the information provided online and allow learners to ask questions of a subject matter expert, which will complete the training at a total of 40 hours. The webinars will also be taped and stored online for others to review at a later date.

OVC also offers online resources and information on this topic, including:

Attend Webinars on Legal Assistance for Crime Victims

Through the "Legal Assistance for Crime Victims: An OVC Capacity Building Initiative," OVC is working to expand the availability of pro bono and no-cost legal assistance for victims of crime nationally. Part of that effort includes support for a series of free webinar trainings on victims’ rights issues developed and delivered by the National Crime Victim Law Institute in collaboration with the OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center.

More details are available under the Legal Assistance for Crime Victims section of OVC’s Training & Technical Assistance page.

July 2013

New Resource: Know your Rights!

Quick ToolThe National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) has launched QuickTools—short videos designed to provide a basic understanding of critical issues facing crime victims, victims’ rights, and the practical skills necessary to serve victims. Watch the first video in the series, "What is polyvictimization?" available off the NCVLI Web Site.

Production of QuickTools is funded, in part, by 2012-VF-GX-KO13, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the QuickTools are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network logoParticipate in Webinar on Disaster-Related Identity Theft & Fraud

On July 15, 2013, at 2–3:30 pm (EST), the National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network (NITVAN), with funding from the Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice, will conduct a webinar on resources to assist victims of disaster-related identity theft and fraud.

In the aftermath of, and sometimes during, natural or man-made disasters, scammers and identity thieves seize the opportunity to victimize Americans going through an already horrific time in their lives and scam those who try to offer aid. Participate in this NITVAN Webinar to learn how victim service professionals, legal assistance providers, first responders, and allied professionals can help prevent the crime and assist the victims in recovering from disaster-related fraud and identity theft. Participants will learn how to—

  • Quickly access leaders and resources in your region through a national network of identity theft coalitions.
  • Model the innovations and emerging practices most recently used in critical areas to improve conditions for victims of identity theft in the wake of natural and manmade disasters.
  • Report those who would divert charitable and government funds intended for victims in need for their own fraudulent purposes.
  • Involve and recruit pro bono attorneys to assist victims.
  • Access resources online and learn about an upcoming resource guide for disaster-related service to victims.

Registration is required. Visit the NITVAN Web site for more information.

June 2013

Learn About the Prosecutor’s Role in Responding to Mortgage Fraud

National Crime  Prevention Council logo

National District Attorneys Association logo

On June 20, 2013, at 2–3 pm (EST), the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) will host Prosecutors and Victim Service Providers Working Together for Victims of Mortgage Fraud. This OVC-funded webinar will explore the prosecutor's role in responding to the mortgage fraud crisis, including national trends at the state and local levels, and factors prosecutors consider during intake, case development, and trial. The Webinar will also discuss how prosecutors can effectively work with victim service providers to screen victims and identify cases that could be criminal, in addition to civil. Attendees will gain a better understanding of how these cases proceed through the criminal justice system and learn about opportunities to collaborate with prosecutors.

The webinar will be conducted by David Pendle, Director, White Collar Crime Program, National District Attorneys Association.

If you are interested in participating, register online or send an email to coletrane@ncpc.org.

May 2013

Provide Feedback To Improve the 2014 NCVRW Resource Guide

National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 21-27, 2013. New Challenges. New Solutions.The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) has prepared a questionnaire about the 2013 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide to help improve next year’s Resource Guide. If you received the 2013 guide, NCVC is interested in obtaining your feedback. Complete NCVC’s 5-minute questionnaire by June 5, 2013.

The 2013 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide and related promotional materials remain available online from OVC. The 2013 Resource Guide can also be accessed from the NCVRW Web Site—source of information and links to stay current with NCVRW-related activities.

If you did not receive the 2013 NCVRW Resource Guide, and you’d like to receive it next year, sign-up for the NCVRW mailing list.

April 2013

Register for the Virtual Conference on Mortgage Fraud

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) wants to increase public awareness about mortgage fraud with a dual-track virtual conference that provides useful resources and sessions for current and potential homeowners, victims of mortgage fraud, and victim support advocates. This conference, sponsored by OVC and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, is scheduled for April 10, 2013, in a virtual environment and includes workshops on topics such as—

  • government responses to the mortgage fraud crisis;
  • the impact of mortgage fraud;
  • discriminatory lending cases;
  • and mortgage fraud hotspots.

You’ll also have the opportunity to engage OVC staff during the event in the virtual exhibit hall. Register now through the NCPC Web site. For more information, view the NCPC Mortgage Fraud Conference Agenda and the speaker biographies.

March 2013

Receive a Guided Tour of the 2013 NCVRW Resource Guide

NCVRW Webinar March 14, 2013, 2 p.m. eastern. Register.

On March 15, 2013, at 2:00 pm (eastern time), join Susan Smith Howley, National Center for Victims of Crime, for a guided tour of the 2013 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide. During this OVC-funded webinar, you’ll—

  • Learn how to make the most of your 2013 NCVRW Resource Guide.
  • Receive tips and tricks for designing memorable materials.
  • Brush up on your social media lingo.

Register now and you will receive a link at which you can both view and hear the webinar.

February 2013

Participate in Webinar on Cyber Security and Identity Theft Victimization

Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network logo

On February 19, 2013, at 2–3:30 pm (EST), the National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network (NITVAN), with funding from the Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice, will conduct a webinar on cyber security and identity theft victimization.

The featured speaker will be Michael Kaiser, Executive Director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). In this role, Mr. Kaiser engages diverse constituencies—business, government, and nonprofit organizations—in NCSA's broad public education and outreach efforts to strengthen the Nation's cyber infrastructure. This includes leading NCSA's outreach and awareness campaign, National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Prior to joining NCSA, Mr. Kaiser spent 25 years in the field of victims' rights and services in senior staff positions at the National Center for Victims of Crime in Washington, D.C., and Safe Horizon in New York City.

Registration is required. Visit the NITVAN Web site for more information.

November 2013

NCVLI Launches Rights Enforcement Toolkit

On October 11, 2013, the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) announced the launch of their Rights Enforcement Toolkit to enhance practitioners work to assert and seek enforcement of their clients' rights.

Toolkit imageThis toolkit was supported by a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, and is organized into pretrial, trial, and post-trial tools, including—

  • video tutorials of rights,
  • flowcharts that guide you through the how and when of asserting rights,
  • checklists to ensure that you are making all of the best arguments, and
  • sample pleadings. 

You can access the Rights Enforcement Toolkit on NCVLI’s Web site.

New Resource in Addressing Child Identity Theft

Youth and Credit: Protecting the Credit of Youth in Foster Care guide.A new guide for protecting foster kids’ credit suggests five steps adults can take in assisting these youth to understand credit and identity theft. Youth and Credit: Protecting the Credit of Youth in Foster Care is a free, online 32-page guide written by ChildFocus Inc. for the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Download the Youth and Credit: Protecting the Credit of Youth in Foster Care guide (PDF 5.5. mb) for information on—

  • Educating youth about credit.
  • Clearing credit reports of errors and fraud.
  • Helping youth to maintain good credit in the future.

This helpful guide also presents a variety of ID theft resources and fliers with different scenarios involving credit and identity theft to share with youth and young adults.

Readers of this guide might also be interested in OVC’s Web Forum Guest Host Session on Child Welfare Agencies Responding to Child Identity Theft held on April 10, 2013.

October 2013

Nominate a Sheriff’s Office for the Crime Victim Services Award

National Sheriffs' AssociationOriginally funded by OVC, and sponsored by Appriss since 2008, the National Sheriffs’ Association’s (NSA) Crime Victim Services Award recognizes a Sheriff’s Office that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in support of crime victims. Nominations should include—

  • a brief overview of the Sheriff’s Office,
  • responses to multiple questions posted on the Crime Victim Services Award Web page, and
  • a list any other achievements the nominee may wish to highlight.

The deadline for receipt of nominations by NSA is November 16, 2013. For more information about the nomination process, including eligibility, visit the NSA’s Crime Victim Services Award Web page or contact Tim Woods at 703-838-5317. The 2014 Crime Victim Services Award will be presented during a plenary session at NSA’s June Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The NSA is committed to assisting local law enforcement in providing the best possible service to victims of crime and with funding support from OVC has produced several resources to support this effort, including—

Learn more about their current resources and ongoing initiatives by visiting NSA’s Crime Victim Services web page.

Rural Domestic and Sexual Abuse Program Advocates: Making a Difference in the Lives of Older Survivors of AbuseNCALL Releases Booklet on Rural Domestic and Sexual Abuse Program Advocates

In 2013, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) released Rural Domestic and Sexual Abuse Program Advocates: Making a Difference in the Lives of Older Survivors of Abuse. The purpose of this booklet is to provide rural domestic and sexual abuse service programs with possible resources and tools to effectively respond to abuse in later life, an issue that lies at the nexus between domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse. A PDF version of the NCALL booklet is now available for download (PDF 2.9 mb).

 

September 2013

New Anti-Sexual Assault Initiatives in the Military

Department of Defense SealOn August 15, 2013, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the Department of Defense (DoD) is taking New Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Measures to improve victim support, strengthen pretrial investigations, enhance/elevate oversight, and make prevention and response efforts more consistent across the military services. Measures include—

  • Establishing special legal advocacy programs
  • Allowing victim input during sentencing
  • Conducting pretrial investigations to be handled by Judge advocates general officers
  • Evaluating closed sexual assault investigations on a regular basis
  • Requiring timely follow-up reports on sexual assault incidents

A Web Forum Guest Host Session on this topic is available online from OVC. Visit Responding to Sexual Assault Victims through Military/Civilian Partnerships to read the questions and answers from the discussion and share your own comments.

Partnering up with the Office for Victims of Crime

OVC is also working to improve services for military victims of sexual assault and teamed with the DoD and other partners to educate local service providers about military systems, protocols, and culture. These efforts resulted in the development of a 2-day curriculum, Strengthening Military-Civilian Community Partnerships To Respond to Sexual Assault, available by request from OVC's Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC).

OVC TTAC and project partners are marketing this training to advocates near military installations with a high incidence of sexual assaults. Since October 2012, 193 advocates have been trained in Ohio; San Diego, California; Columbia, SC; and Salemburg, NC.

OVC TTAC is offering this training by request after completing a "training of trainers" program to qualify 51 professionals, including community-based victim advocates, military sexual assault response coordinators, and judge advocates, to conduct the course nationwide. Moving forward, trained civilian victim advocates will deliver 1-2 trainings in their home state or territory with a goal of conducting 100 training events by the end of 2014.

In another action to address sexual assault in the U.S. military and provide appropriate support to victims, OVC is collaborating with the DoD's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) to develop an online training course for continuing education credit. The online training will go live in November 2013 provide advanced training to an anticipated audience of more than 50,000 military Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Victim Advocates (VA) worldwide.

July 2013

Military Consumer Protection Day 2013. Your first line of defense.First Annual Military Consumer Protection Day

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its partners are sponsoring Military Consumer Protection Day (MCPD) on July 17, 2013. MCPD is a joint initiative to empower military and veteran communities.

Check out http://www.military.ncpw.gov for tips and tools, and use these free resources as the first line of defense against fraud.

 

June 2013

Read Joint Statement on Addressing Gender-Discrimination in Policing

In a joint statement on June 14, 2013, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), committed to providing law enforcement agencies with the resources, technical assistance, and support that they need to ensure safety for all members of their communities and achieve compliance with applicable federal laws. 

Over the last few decades, the United States has increasingly recognized that domestic and sexual violence are serious crimes that should be treated as such by law enforcement.  The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division conducted investigations addressing whether women were subject to discriminatory practices related to police services and found a pattern of discrimination in the New Orleans Police Department and similar problems with the Puerto Rico Police Department and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.  These law enforcement agencies are not alone in their need to improve their response to sexual assault and all forms of violence against women.  Indeed, through their agreements with the Department of Justice, Missoula, New Orleans, and Puerto Rico are working to implement reforms that will stand as models to other law enforcement agencies across the country.  OVC, OVW, and COPS encourage other jurisdictions across the country to follow their lead and review and revise policies, protocols, and, most importantly, practices, to ensure they are free from gender bias. 

OVC, OVW, and COPS grantees and technical assistance providers have produced model policies, training curricula, best practices, and a host of resources for law enforcement on how to appropriately address domestic and sexual violence cases.  Examples include:   

  • OVC, in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indian Health Service, implemented the American Indian/Alaska Native Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner – Sexual Assault Response Team (AI/AN SANE-SART) Initiative to enhance the capacity of AI/AN communities to provide high-quality multidisciplinary, coordinated services and support for adult and child victims of sexual assault. 
  • End Violence Against Women International, working in partnership with OVW, has developed the OnLine Training Institute to bring state-of-the-art training on the topic of criminal justice response to sexual assault.  
  • The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), working in partnership with OVW, produced Investigating Sexual Assault Model Policy and Sexual Assault Incident Reports: Investigative Strategies.  Working in partnership with OVC, IACP developed Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims, a comprehensive set of resources for agencies to use in improving their approach to victims, including victims of sexual assault. 
  • The International Association of Forensic Nurses, in partnership with OVW and key stakeholders in the field, developed Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Technical Assistance to promote and disseminate the “National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations of Adults and Adolescents” and to provide training and technical assistance for all sexual assault responders about sexual assault forensic examinations and related issues.
  • The University of Arkansas National Center for Rural Law Enforcement, working in partnership with OVW, developed a sexual assault curriculum for law enforcement executives in rural areas nationwide.
  • The State of Oregon Sexual Assault Taskforce, working in partnership with OVW, provides ongoing training and technical assistance through "the Sexual Assault Training Institute" to all members of a sexual assault response team, including law enforcement, through a series of statewide and regional trainings.
  • The OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) is the gateway to current training and technical assistance for victim service providers and allied professionals who serve crime victims.  The aim of OVC TTAC is to build the capacity of victim-serving organizations and agencies across the country through a variety of training and technical assistance.  OVC TTAC has numerous resources focused on enhancing the capacity of professionals, including law enforcement, to assist victims of sexual assault.
  • Working in partnership with the COPS Office, the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing has produced two guides to strengthen police response to violence against women; Sexual Assault of Women by Strangers and Domestic Violence.
  • OVC released the SART Toolkit, an online collection of resources for communities considering establishment of a SART team or those seeking to improve their existing coordinated response to victims of sexual assault.  

Working together, OVC, OVW, and COPS commend and stand ready to support jurisdictions like Missoula that are prepared to do the hard work of ensuring that all victims of violence, regardless of gender, have access to the justice and safety they deserve. 

Read the joint statement for additional information.

Blue Campaign. One Voice. One Mission. End Human Trafficking.Department of Homeland Security Launches Redesigned Blue Campaign

On Wednesday, June 5, 2013, Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the launch of the redesigned Blue Campaign, the Department of Homeland Security's unified voice for combating human trafficking. The Blue Campaign is offering new, comprehensive resources for recognizing the indicators of human trafficking and knowing how to report suspected instances of human trafficking to law enforcement, as well as resources for potential victims.

Everyone has a role to play in combating human trafficking. Visit the Blue Campaign Web Site to –

To report suspicious human trafficking activity or get help from federal law enforcement, call 1-866-347-2423 or submit a tip online at www.ice.gov/tips.

Apply for a Bureau of Indian Affairs Position in South Dakota

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is seeking applications to fulfill a Program Coordinator (Victims Assistance) position for the Office of Justice Services for the Pine Ridge Agency. If you have experience serving the needs of victims of violent crimes, and meet the required qualifications, consider applying through USAJOBS. The announcement is an Indian Preference Only vacancy. Apply by June 11, 2013.

May 2013

Videos of All-Day Workshop on Senior Identity Theft

Videos of the May 7 webcast on senior identity theft are available online. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought together experts from government, private industry, and public interest groups to discuss the unique challenges facing victims of senior identity theft. The all-day forum included panels on different types of senior identity theft—

  • Senior Identity Theft. A Problem in This Day and Agetax and government benefits,
  • medical, and
  • long-term care.

 

The final workshop explored the best consumer education and outreach techniques for reaching seniors. Download the FTC May 7 Forum agenda (PDF 80 kb) for details on each of these 4 workshops.

April 2013

The New Edition of the National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations

National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations (SAFE Protocol)The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) has released the second edition of the National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations (SAFE Protocol), which has been updated to reflect the latest in technology and practices for forensic medical examinations. It is based on the latest scientific evidence and provides recommendations to standardize the quality of care for sexual assault victims throughout the country.

The 2013 edition of the SAFE Protocol (PDF 1.6 mb) includes increased—

  • Emphasis on victim-centered care.
  • Changes from the Violence Against Women Act of 2005.
  • Information on special populations, such as victims with limited English proficiency; victims with disabilities; American Indian and Alaska Native victims; victims in the military; and lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender victims.
  • Information on topics such as drug and alcohol facilitated sexual assault, pregnancy, confidentiality and alternative reporting procedures.

A document summary of the 2013 SAFE Protocol (165 kb) detailing the major updates is also available for download from OVW.

BJS Study Reports on Sexual Violence Against Females: 1994-2010

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has released Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010 (NCJ 240655), examines demographic characteristics of female victims of sexual violence and characteristics of the offender and incident, including victim-offender relationship, whether the offender had a weapon, and the location of the victimization.

Hate Crime Victimization Rates in the U.S.—BJS Special Report

Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) reveals changes over time in hate crime victimizations, including the type of bias that motivated the hate crime, the type of crime, and whether the incident was reported to police. Findings include—

  • U.S. residents experienced about 259,700 hate crimes annually from 2007 to 2011.
  • The percentage of hate crimes motivated by religious bias more than doubled between 2003-06 and 2007-11 (from 10% to 21%), while the percentage motivated by racial bias dropped slightly (from 63% to 54%).
  • Between 2003-06 and 2007-11, the percentage of hate crime victimizations reported to police declined from 46% to 35%.

For more findings from this March 2013 Special Report, visit the web page on Hate Crime Victimization, 2003-2011. Also available for download in PDF (1.3 mb).

BJS offers additional information data collections and special reports on crime victimization statistics. Visit the victims section on the BJS Website for more details.

Attend Forum on Senior Identity Theft

On May 7, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission will bring together experts from government, private industry, and public interest groups to discuss the unique challenges facing victims of senior identity theft. The forum will include panels on different types of senior identity theft—tax and government benefits, medical, and long-term care—and will also explore the best consumer education and outreach techniques for reaching seniors.

Senior Identity Theft. A Problem in This Day and Age
Date: May 7, 2013
Time: 9:00-4:30 pm (ET)
Where: FTC Conference Center
601 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

This forum is free and open to the public and a live webcast will be available on the day of the workshop. Registration is not required, but is recommended. For more details, visit the FTC web site.

March 2013

Resources Available from Child Identity Theft Forum

Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC). Our Purpose, Your ProtectionOn February 4, 2013, the Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC) hosted a forum to discuss the unique challenges surrounding child identity theft. Participants learned about the latest research, laws, consumer tools, pilot projects, and consumer education efforts on child identity theft.  If you were unable to attend the forum, you now have the opportunity to view the Webinar recording, as well as materials and information from other Forum participants, such as—

  • Fast Facts: Child Identity Theft, Financial Services Roundtable.
  • 2012 Child Identity Fraud Report Highlights, Javelin Strategy & Research.
  • Child Identity Theft Web page, TransUnion.
  • Safeguarding Your Child's Future, Federal Trade Commission.

Visit the ITAC Web site to view the webinar and read the materials. Check back regularly for new materials, including a whitepaper on the proceedings of the ITAC Forum on Child Identity Theft.

February 2013

Register for the Annual Crime Victim Law Conference

Logo for the 12th Annual Crime Victim Law Conference, June 7-8, 2013, in Portland Oregon.The National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) will host the 12th Annual Crime Victim Law Conference, June 7-8, 2013, in Portland, Oregon. Held at the Lewis & Clark Law School, this conference will focus on victims’ rights enforcement in criminal cases, providing participants the knowledge and practical skills necessary to provide effective legal services to crime victims.  The conference is designed primarily for—

  • Attorneys (such as a victims’ rights attorney, prosecutor, civil victim attorney, judge, defense attorney)
  • System-based and community-based advocates
  • Allied criminal justice professionals
  • Law students
  • Crime victims/survivors

Consider attending this event. Scholarship opportunities are available.

NCVLI promotes balance and fairness in the justice system through crime victim centered legal advocacy, education, and resource sharing. With funding from OVC, NCVLI is responding to the emerging issue of polyvictimization–experiencing multiple victimizations of different types throughout a lifetime. Learn more about what NCVLI is doing to improve the justice system for victims.

January 2013

Participate in Forum on Child Identity Theft

Join the Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC) for a forum to discuss the unique challenges surrounding child identity theft.  As a follow-up to the 2011 Stolen Futures Forum on Child Identity Theft, co-sponsored by OVC and the Federal Trade Commission, this forum will afford participants the opportunity to learn about the latest research, laws, consumer tools, pilot projects, and consumer education efforts on child identity theft.

ITAC logo
When: Monday, February 4, 2013
8:00am – 3:00pm (ET)
Where: 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Suite 500 South
Washington, DC 20004

For a working agenda and a list of presenters, including victim advocates, legal service providers, and business professionals, visit the forum Web page. If you would like to participate, please contact ITAC at identitytheftassistance@gmail.com

National Network to End Domestic Violence Seeks Job Applicants NNEDV logo

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) seeks a highly motivated and high performing Technical Assistance & Training Specialist to work with the Safety Net Technology Project. The Safety Net Project educates victims of domestic and sexual violence and their advocates about strategically using technology to help escape violence and find safety. The position is based in Washington, D.C., and will require regular travel, up to 50% of the time. For more information about this employment opportunity, including responsibilities and required skills, education, and qualifications, as well as application instructions, visit the NNEDV Web site. The position is open until filled. However, applications received before January 18, 2013, will be given priority.