Mobile App Offers Support to Victims of Sexual Assault
According to 2016 Bureau of Justice Statistics data, only 12 percent of victims of serious violence reported receiving services to assist them in a crime's aftermath. OVC is committed to reaching even more survivors and to better meeting the needs of all victims of crime.
Seek Then Speak is a multichannel platform available as a mobile app, a website, and by phone and text, which helps survivors of sexual assault gather information, make decisions, and take the action that is right for them.
Services are available in 30 different languages, and users can remain anonymous while they explore their options.
OVC is also supporting Victim Link, which operates in partnership with Seek Then Speak. If a victim decides to request advocacy services or wants to report a sexual assault to law enforcement, the Seek Then Speak tool will alert the appropriate agencies and organizations through Victim Link.
A limited number of one-year subscriptions are available for eligible law enforcement agencies and victim advocacy organizations. Learn more and apply for a Victim Link subscription.
(Posted April 23, 2018)
Expanding the Circle to Reach Young Victims of Crime
Our Nation's children and youth experience crime and victimization at alarming rates. The OVC-funded Vision 21: Linking Systems of Care for Children and Youth demonstration project brings statewide systems together to coordinate efforts that ensure a timely and seamless response for children and their families.
These articles, authored by Linking Systems of Care Steering Committee members, discuss how their field seeks to "expand the circle" and "reach all victims" in vulnerable populations and how this work ties into the goals of the project.
The goal of this project is to encourage innovative ideas and methods to increase legal services to crime victims in rural areas. Specifically, the project is anticipated to fund sites that will leverage technology to provide holistic legal services, including enforcement of victims’ rights, to crime victims in rural communities.
NCVLI anticipates awarding three subawards up to $750,000 starting in 2018 and ending August 31, 2020.
If you plan to apply, please send a non-binding letter of intent to NCVLI no later than April 11, 2018.
Evaluating Elder/Adult Abuse Fatality Review Teams
The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging is inventorying elder/adult abuse fatality review teams (EAFRTs) across the United States. This is a crucial step for a new project funded by OVC and conducted in collaboration with the University of Texas Health Science Center.
The goals of this project are to update and expand the initial capacity-building work and evaluate the impact of EAFRTs in identifying system gaps and improving victim services.
The Commission on Law and Aging is seeking information about multidisciplinary teams that review deaths that were or might have been related to elder abuse, domestic violence in later life, or abuse of adults with disabilities.
Reaching and Supporting Male Survivors of Violence
The Vision 21: Supporting Male Survivors of Violence initiative seeks to improve the field’s capacity to provide culturally appropriate and trauma-informed services for boys and men harmed by violence. It also seeks to expand services that help normalize their lives and promote their healing.
This initiative is a collaboration between OVC, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
With OVC’s support, the Healing Justice Alliance provides training and technical assistance to 12 demonstration sites implementing the program.
The Healing Justice Alliance recently released the first in a series of briefs on Reaching out to Male Survivors of Violence. Based on the work of experts in the field, this brief offers best practices for reaching and serving male victims of crime.
Funding Opportunity: Apply to Host a Crime Victims Justice Corps Fellow
Equal Justice Works invites eligible organizations to apply to participate in the Crime Victims Justice Corps Fellowship Program, an exciting new initiative—funded by the Office for Victims of Crime—to increase capacity and access to civil legal help for crime victims.
The Crime Victims Justice Corps will mobilize 62 Fellows and 34 summer law students over a two-year Fellowship period, from June 2018 to May 2020.
Fellows and law students will work at nonprofit organizations across the country:
45 Fellows will serve human trafficking survivors.
17 Fellows will serve survivors of campus sexual assault, fraud and/or identity theft, and hate crime, and immigrant victims.
34 Law students will work during the summers (17 each summer), supporting the Fellows.
ITRC anticipates making up to 10 additional awards to organizations that will develop and lead an identity theft and/or cybercrime coalition.
This funding opportunity builds on prior NITVAN II efforts, and will further strengthen the network previously established. Each coalition will work to expand services to better address the rights and needs of identity theft and/or cybercrime victims. Applicants may achieve this goal through various initiatives, including, but not limited to—
community outreach and public awareness campaigns,
improved interagency infrastructure, coordination, and referrals, and
education and training of service professionals within the geographic region.
Successful applicants will be awarded up to $50,000, for a period of 1 year (October 2018–September 2019).
Strengthening Law Enforcement Response to Domestic and Sexual Violence
With support from OVC, and in collaboration with the National Crime Victim Law Institute, the International Association of Chiefs of Police recently announced funding for six law enforcement agencies to identify, address, and prevent gender bias.
Part of a national demonstration site initiative, these agencies will receive support to strengthen their response to victims and improve their investigations of sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence, and stalking. Agencies receiving funds are the—
National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network
The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft, recently announced six awards to lead identity theft coalitions. Each grantee will use this funding support to help expand and improve services to identity theft and cybercrime victims in their respective state or region.
Successful applicants will work closely with project staff and community partners to assess current practices and build agency-wide capacity to implement trauma-informed, victim-focused policies and procedures.
IACP expects to make up to four total awards not exceeding $225,000 per year for up to 3 years.
On September 25, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. e.t., join IACP for a webinar that will provide details and guidance for potential applicants.
Part I application submissions are due October 9, 2017.
OVC released the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit in April 2017 to address the negative effects of exposure to the traumatic experiences of other people.
The toolkit was created through an OVC grant to Northeastern University, and in an article from News @ Northeastern, Associate Professor Beth Molnar discusses the comprehensive efforts that were involved in developing this important resource.
The process of creating the toolkit included a national survey, calls for materials from the field, a systematic review of research literature and websites, expert summits, the development of 16 new tools, a pilot study of the website that included focus groups, and interviews in seven locations around the country.
In the article, Molnar says that “talking about the impact of trauma has been considered taboo—until now. We’re changing that social norm so there’s a positive, promotive, preventative set of responsibilities organizations can take on to make this kind of work healthy for people dealing with what we now call an occupational challenge, rather than a hazard or a negative part of the work."
(Posted July 31, 2017)
Roadmap to Assist Trafficking Survivors with Post-Conviction Legal Support
The U.S. Department of State notes that “authorities often fail to properly screen and identify victims of human trafficking when they detain or arrest criminal suspects. This can result in a second victimization when victims are punished for their engagement in the crimes their traffickers forced them to commit."
This guide serves as a roadmap for practitioners who represent trafficking survivors in post-conviction efforts to clear, vacate, expunge, or seal criminal records. It contains important filing considerations for motion practice, best practices for employing a trauma-informed approach to client interviewing and representation, and other best practices for advocates.
(Posted July 5, 2017)
Past News from Grantees
National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network Funds Awarded to Support Victims
NITVAN II, with funding support from OVC, seeks to enhance and expand the capabilities of service providers helping victims of identity theft and cybercrime to expand and improve their outreach through coalition building efforts nationwide.
Ten successful applicants will be selected to establish and lead a coalition in their designated service area. These coalitions will be awarded up to $50,000 each for allowable activities.
Each coalition will develop a sustainable support system of victim service providers, fostering member collaboration and increasing the availability of services to address the needs and rights of victims of identity theft and cybercrime.
Applicants are limited to public or private victim serving entities. This includes nonprofit organizations (including American Indian Nation nonprofit organizations), faith-based and community organizations, federally recognized American Indian Nation governments (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior), as well as local and state government entities.
Apply by June 9, 2017.
(Posted March 3, 2017, Updated May 3, 2017)
National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network Funds Awarded to Support Victims
The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft, has received a National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network (NITVAN II) grant awarded by OVC. This grant will enable the ITRC to provide technical expertise, assistance, and training to support coalitions who seek to improve services to all types of identity theft victims.
“Identity theft is often a complex and challenging crime that many victims experience as intensely traumatic," said OVC Director Joye E. Frost. “NITVAN coalitions provide victims of identity theft with critical resources ranging from legal assistance to online educational information to outreach materials informing victims about how to receive the help they need."
OVC Director Joye E. Frost encourages all victim service providers to complete this critical census once you have received an invitation to participate.
The NCVSP will provide the first comprehensive national picture of the existing response system for victims of crime and abuse. This information can be used by OVC and other federal agencies to gain a deeper understanding of gaps in services and delivery methods. It will also provide vital data to better demonstrate the need for adequate resource allocation.
The NCVSP is being conducted by RAND, the National Center for Victims of Crime, and survey firm NORC. Read more about the NCVSP on the project website.
(Posted October 27, 2016)
Video Shows Importance of Law Enforcement Response and Services to DUI Victims
Drunk driving crashes are crimes, not accidents. Alcohol impaired driving crashes cause thousands of deaths and injuries every year.
A new National Sheriffs' Association video, DUI Crashes: Real Crimes, Real Victims, addresses the need for law enforcement to respond to and interact with DUI crash victims in a victim-centered way, with all the referrals, support, and resources due to victims of a violent crime.
The video, which was produced with OVC grant funding, describes the importance of clearly communicating services that are available to victims of crime. This includes victim compensation available in every state and territory through the Crime Victims Fund.
The census is the first phase of a nationwide data collection effort that will define the diverse field of victim service providers and identify the size and scope of the victim services field.
This information can be used to gain a deeper understanding of gaps in services and service delivery methods, provide vital data to better demonstrate the need for adequate resource allocation, and enhance victim service organizations’ ability to focus requests for funding.
OVC Director Joye E. Frost encourages all victim service provides to participate in the census.