News & Features
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December 2015: December Commemorates National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
November 2015: National Native American Heritage Month
October 2015: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)
September 2015: OVC Releases its Biennial Report to the Nation
August 2015: Participate in a Live Chat on Title IX
July 2015: News & Program Updates Highlights Innovative Practices to Meet Emerging Demands
December Commemorates National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
In his proclamation for National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, President Obama states, “No person should suffer the tragedy of losing someone as a result of drunk, drugged, or distracted driving, but for far too long the danger of impaired driving has robbed people of the comfort of knowing that when they or a loved one leaves home they will return safely.” To help raise awareness, OVC features the following resources:
- Information and prevention resources available from:
- Topic-focused Web pages highlighting resources for serving victims of impaired driving on our Drug-Related
Victimization page, along with information on impaired driving enforcement and prevention from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service’s Impaired Driving Special Feature.
OVC Releases December News & Program Updates
The new edition of OVC News & Program Updates is now available online. This edition focuses on children and youth, a vulnerable population that should be safeguarded.
Read about OVC’s efforts to help children exposed to violence, learn how violence interrupter programs are working to address the cycle of trauma and violence among young men of color, and follow one survivor’s pathway to healing from childhood trauma and violence.
Funding Opportunity: Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS)
The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking applicants for its Fiscal Year 2016 Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS). CTAS provides comprehensive funding to American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments and tribal consortia to support public safety, victim services, and crime prevention improvements.
Applicants can submit a single application and select from any or all of the nine purpose areas, including two administered by OVC:
- Comprehensive Tribal Victim Assistance Program (CTVA): CTVA supports tribal program response to victims of crime, their families, and communities and provides trauma-informed, culturally competent holistic services.
- Children’s Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities Program (CJA): CJA supports comprehensive and coordinated multidisciplinary responses to child abuse victims and their families in ways that are trauma-informed and culturally competent.
In an effort to provide guidance on CTAS, the Department of Justice is sponsoring a webinar series that will focus on educating applicants about CTAS application requirements and purpose areas. View the CTAS applicant webinar series schedule for detailed information and to register.
Visit the CTAS solicitation website to learn more. Apply by February 23, 2016, at 9 p.m. EST.
Coping with the Holidays
For those who have recently experienced a tragedy or lost a family member or friend, the holiday season may seem too much to bear. OVC Deputy Director Marilyn McCoy Roberts' blog post on coping with the holidays offers resources to help support those who have been victims of crime.
National Native American Heritage Month
President Obama proclaimed November as National Native American Heritage Month. OVC presents the following information for tribal communities in recognition of National Native American Heritage Month:
A Circle of Healing for Native Children Endangered by Drugs
This seven-part video series and companion guidebook detail first-person stories and cultural practices from across the Nation to show many of the ways children, families, and communities are healing from drug endangerment. Tribal leaders, service providers, and survivors share testimonials and practices to inform, teach, and inspire tribal communities as they work to help traumatized children on their path to healing.
Justice Department Awards More Than $97 Million to Enhance, Support Tribal Justice and Safety
Earlier this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) awarded more than $97 million to American Indian/Alaska Native communities to enhance victim services, law enforcement practices, and sustain crime prevention and intervention efforts in nine purpose areas. The awards are made under the Department’s Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), a consolidated tribal-specific grant program. Working with other DOJ bureaus and offices, OVC awarded funds to 33 tribal programs. Learn about program awards made by OVC and partner bureaus and offices on the CTAS 2015 Award List.
Using Federal Law To Prosecute Domestic Violence Crimes in Indian Country
This OVC DVD and companion facilitator’s guide educates criminal justice and social service professionals about using federal law more effectively to combat intimate partner violence offenses committed in Indian Country. The video incorporates case studies of actual prosecutions, while the guide provides an overview of relevant legal principles and key points for discussion.
Visit the American Indian/Alaska Native section of our site for additional resources.
Getting Ready for 2016 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW)
OVC is pleased to announce the 2016 theme for National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW). Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope. underscores the importance of early intervention and victim services in establishing trust with victims, which in turn begins to restore their hope for healing and recovery. NCVRW will be observed from April 10 - 16, 2016.
Update or add your information to the NCVRW Mailing List by November 17, 2015 to receive:
- A complimentary copy of the Theme Poster.
- Email notification when the NCVRW Resource Guide is available to download, including customizable art files, the Theme Video, Fact Sheets, sample PR pieces, and how-to information to save you time and unite your efforts with others around the country. This year's NCVRW Resource Guide is an online resource and not available in hardcopy.
- Details about the National Crime Victims' Service Awards Ceremony.
Download a customizable copy of the 2016 NCVRW Theme Poster and view this year’s color palette now.
During NCVRW, communities across the country hold events that honor crime victims and promote public awareness of crime victims’ rights. With the support of OVC, communities are eligible to apply for the Community Awareness Project (CAP) grant to support NCVRW events. Learn more and apply for funding today.
Coping with the Holidays
Anticipation of a holiday without a friend or family member can be harder than the actual holiday itself. View the OVC resource Coping With the Holidays After the Death of a Loved One or When You Are a Victim/Crime Survivor, which has suggestions from survivors for getting through the holidays.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)
President Obama proclaimed that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In his proclamation, the President states that during “National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we reaffirm our dedication to forging an America where no one suffers the hurt and hardship that domestic violence causes -- and we recommit to doing everything in our power to uphold the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse."
The Domestic Violence Awareness Month Project section of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence website provides customizable materials, training resources, and other tools designed to enhance your efforts to prevent and raise awareness of domestic violence during DVAM.
Additionally, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) developed a series of fact sheets which provide insight into the experience and needs children impacted by domestic violence and provide guidance to support their resilience and recovery.
Obtain additional material from the:
National Cyber Security Awareness Month Observed in October
Computer interconnectivity has produced enormous benefits but has also enabled criminal activity that exploits this interconnectivity for financial gain and other malicious purposes, such as Internet fraud, child exploitation, and identity theft.
In his National Cyber Security Awareness Month proclamation, President Obama states that the “Department of Homeland Security's ‘Stop.Think.Connect.’ campaign is designed to inform our citizenry of the dangers posed by cyber threats and to provide the tools needed to confront them. I urge all Americans to take measures to decrease their susceptibility to malicious cyber activity, including by choosing stronger passwords, updating software, and practicing responsible online behavior. I also encourage everyone to visit www.DHS.gov/StopThinkConnect to learn more about how you can help strengthen America's cybersecurity.”
In recognition of NCSAM, OVC highlights a new ID Theft Help App, developed by the Identity Theft Resource Center with grant funding from OVC. This app provides resources for identity theft victims, including direct access to victim advisors through a 24/7 call center or live chat, and also offers educational tools on how to protect yourself against identity theft.
To help promote awareness, OVC shares resources from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) NCSAM website that features information about NCSAM, suggestions for weekly activities during October to promote NCSAM, and tips and resources for parents, students, business and other professionals.
Finally, visit the following sites for additional materials on how to stay safe online:
OVC Releases its Biennial Report to the Nation
OVC has released the 2015 OVC Report to the Nation: Building Capacity Through Research, Innovation, Technology, and Training. This online report recognizes the progress made in upholding victims' rights and providing assistance to victims, survivors, and communities during Fiscal Years (FY) 2013 to 2014.
Read more about the strategic efforts to enhance victim services, including OVC's—
- partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense to provide the appropriate support to sexual assault victims in the U.S. military.
- awards to grantees and task forces to assist human trafficking victims.
- expansion of the current crime victim assistance programs in tribal communities and the development of victim-centered community wellness strategies.
- combined efforts with federal and tribal partners to establish three demonstration sites to address the needs of tribal victims of sexual violence.
- partnership with federal and local partners to develop mobile applications to increase public awareness, outreach, and education for victims.
- launch of Victim Assistance Training Online, OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center's web-based program, which helped service providers and allied professionals enhance their ability to meet the needs of victims.
To learn more about OVC's support for evidence-based practices, dynamic multidisciplinary partnerships, and effective strategies for building capacity, read the full report.
Safety for College & University Students
Stalking, sexual assault, robbery, homicide, and other crimes may be the last thing on the mind of college and university students as they return to school this fall. In order to bring attention to the issue of safety on campus, colleges and universities across the United States have recognized September as National Campus Safety Awareness Month. The law enforcement, mental health, student affairs, school administrators, and legal professionals charged with identifying, assessing, and managing violence risk at colleges and universities throughout the United States provide an incredible service under unique and often challenging circumstances.
For resources on promoting safety on campus and serving victims of campus crime, visit the –
Another resource specific to sexual assault on college and university campuses and in our schools is the NotAlone.gov website. The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault created this site to help students find a crisis service, learn more about their rights and how to file a complaint, and view a map of resolved school-level enforcement activities.
Honoring the Victims & Responders of 9/11
On the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Americans will unite to participate in the National Day of Service & Remembrance. This effort continues an inspiring tradition of engaging in charitable service on 9/11 in tribute to the 9/11 victims, survivors, and those who rose up in service in response to the attacks. Learn how you and your organization can get involved by visiting the National Day of Service & Remembrance website where you can register a volunteer project and find volunteer opportunities.
President Obama has also proclaimed September as National Preparedness Month and this year’s theme is "Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today." The President states in his proclamation that "[by] discussing with our families, friends, and neighbors how we will protect ourselves and our communities, we can contribute to and share in a stronger, more resilient society.” Learn more about how you can prepare for an emergency by visiting www.Ready.gov (www.Listo.gov para información en español) and the National Criminal Justice Reference Service’s (NCJRS) Safety and Preparedness Special Feature.
Victim service professionals are encouraged to visit OVC’s Domestic Terrorism & Mass Violence page for information about victim issues and resources. OVC’s Help for Victims of Domestic Terrorism & Mass Violence page provides information for victims on how to obtain assistance, including crisis counseling and victim compensation, along with other useful resources and referrals.
New Electronic Toolkit Provides Checklists, Tools, and a Holistic Approach to Victim Assistance
OVC—in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Office for Victim Assistance and Department of Justice's Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism—recently released an innovative electronic toolkit, Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resources. This multidisciplinary product provides communities with the framework, strategies, and resources to –
- conduct planning and preparation before an incident occurs
- mitigate the effects of future acts on victims
- respond to active incidents
- recover after an incident of mass violence or terrorism occurs
The toolkit is designed to serve as a victim-centered resource for a wide range of professionals. If you or someone you know is interested in developing a comprehensive victim assistance plan to ensure all victims' needs are met, read Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resources.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
National Hispanic Heritage Month is commemorated annually from September 15 – October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. During this month, OVC highlights our Recursos en Español (Spanish Resources) page which contains information on how victims can find help, resources to assist Spanish-speaking victims of crime, and links to other Spanish language websites.
Participate in a Live Chat on Title IX
On August 18, 2015, from 1:30-3:00 p.m. (Eastern), the OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) will host a free Live Chat on Title IX. Experts from the Victim Rights Law Center will be available to answer your questions about safety planning and legal representation for victims of campus sexual assault
Additionally, you may view previously recorded Title IX webinars which include –
- Know Your Title IX Rights
- Legal Representation for Victims of Campus Sexual Assault
- Safety Planning With Campus Sexual Violence Victims
- What Can Advocates Do To Help Victims?
Visit the OVC TTAC Web site to register for the upcoming Title IX Live Chat and view previously recorded sessions.
Free Training to Assist Victims of Identity Theft
The OVC Identity Theft Victim Assistance Online Training is a free e-learning tool which provides victim service providers and allied professionals the knowledge and skills to more effectively serve victims of identity theft and assist with their financial and emotional recovery. This training provides essential information and resources for individuals with limited or no experience in serving identity theft victims and is a great refresher course for those with experience.
Register for this self-paced training today!
Interested in Receiving OVC Announcements?
Keep up to date with the latest OVC publication and product announcements, new program initiatives and other important information. Visit our Connected Page to sign up for OVC social media and email updates.
OVC’s Calendar: A Tool for Providers and Community Leaders
OVC’s National Calendar of Crime Victim Assisted-Related Events allows users to plan, promote, and locate events of interest to the victim service community in their area. We encourage you to visit the Calendar not only when you are seeking learning opportunities, but also when you need to promote your organization’s events and trainings. View our Calendar submission guidelines for details about how to submit your information.
News & Program Updates Highlights Innovative Practices to Meet Emerging Demands
Designed to strengthen communication among victim-serving organizations, professionals, and OVC, the newsletter is a valuable tool for sharing information about OVC’s initiatives, events, and other items of special interest. This issue focuses on building capacity through innovation, providing comprehensive legal assistance, and addressing continuing and emerging challenges facing victims and service providers funded through OVC’s Vision 21 Initiative. Articles featured in this edition include
- how DNA evidence exonerated two men and the impact on one victim’s family;
- reaching victims in remote and challenging areas through the national sexual assault telenursing center;
- an evidence-based strategy to enhance law enforcement response to victims;
- how OVC is working to improve federal agency response to sexual violence in tribal nations; and
- the importance of the national survey of victim service organizations.
Read the June 2015 issue of OVC News & Program Updates.
Don’t Delay: National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Nominations Are Due by July 30th
Nominations are being accepted for the 2016 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 through the Online Nomination Form by July 30, 2015.
Sign up for the NCVRW Mail List for information about NCVRW, the Awards Ceremony, and the Resource Guide and Theme Poster, as they become available.
New Status Report Highlights Progress Being Made to Address Human Trafficking
In January of 2014, the White House released Coordination, Collaboration, Capacity: Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, 2013–2017. The plan discusses goals and objectives and the actions that federal agencies will take to ensure that all victims of human trafficking in the U.S. are identified and have access to the services they need to recover.
Reporting on the progress made, in alignment with the goals and objectives of the Plan, is an important way of ensuring that the commitments are fulfilled and that the public is able to engage in the efforts underway. The FYs 2013-2014 Status Report provides information on the progress made to address human trafficking by –
- aligning efforts to ensure a strategic, coordinated approach to the provision of services for victims of human trafficking at all levels of government;
- expanding and coordinating human trafficking-related research, data, and evaluation to support evidence-based practices in victim services;
- increasing access to services; and
- promoting effective, culturally appropriate, trauma-informed services to improve the health, safety, and well-being of victims.
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Featured in 2015: January - June | July - December