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Partner Message Board

The resources presented on the Partner Message Board are shared for information purposes only and inclusion should not be considered an endorsement by OVC.

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April 2018

New Research Offers Recommendations to Assist Human Trafficking Survivors

With funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, the Urban Institute recently released four reports that examine human trafficking survivors' experience with the justice system.

Based on interviews with 80 survivors, this research offers recommendations for improving the service provision and criminal justice system response to victims.

The reports also present a tool to help practitioners engage with survivors throughout their recovery. Practitioners can employ the information to inform their daily work with survivors. Read more in the following online publications.

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Elder Justice AmeriCorps

OVC-Supported Fellows Evaluate Elder Abuse in Iowa and Maine

Elder Justice AmeriCorpsThrough the Elder Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellowship Program, OVC supports victims of elder abuse who often suffer in silence. This program provides comprehensive legal and support services for victims of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

The innovative program supports 30 legal fellows, many of them located in OVC-funded legal clinics across the country, to further promote the capacity of pro bono services.

Recently, fellows in the program helped to develop guides in Iowa and Maine that discuss the responses to elder abuse and what can be done to support victims in those states. The Iowa report serves as a general summary of elder abuse laws in the state, and the Maine report takes a deep dive into the financial exploitation of elders in Maine.

The fellowship program is supported through a collaboration between OVC, the U.S. Department of Justice's Elder Justice Initiative, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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New Tool to Report and Recover from Tax Identity Theft

Tax-related identity theft happens when someone uses a stolen Social Security number to file a tax return and claim your tax refund.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have made it easier for consumers to report and recover from tax-related identity theft.

Now, consumers can report tax-related identity theft to the IRS online through the FTC's IdentityTheft.gov website. IdentityTheft.gov is the only website where consumers can report tax-related identity theft to the IRS electronically. The website also offers users with help to make an identity theft recovery plan, including information on how to create a fraud alert on your credit files and check your credit reports.

IdentityTheft.gov is free and easy to use.

View a recent FTC blog post and the IRS Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft page to learn more about tax-related identity theft.

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What Data Tells Us About Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services

Although significant strides have been made on behalf of crime victims in recent years, federal data reveal that there is still much work left to do to ensure that victims have access to appropriate services and support.

In a recent article for Police Chief Magazine, Heather Warnken, Visiting Fellow, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, discusses how federal data collection efforts illustrate the significant gaps that remain in accessing services for the majority of people touched by crime, including law enforcement-based victim assistance.

Using data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, this article sheds light on law enforcement's current efforts in victim services, highlighting the work that can be done to reach more victims.

There are preventative, public safety benefits to enhancing law enforcement's response to victims that are integral to agency success. Looking to the future, law enforcement leadership should strive to ensure that victims of crime have access to evidence-based services and care. OVC supports groundbreaking initiatives that have the potential to transform the trajectory of law enforcement–based victim services.

Read more in the article, What Does the Data Tell Us About Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services?

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March 2018

New Report Presents School Crime and Safety Statistics

Image of Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2017The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics today released Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2017.

This annual report on school crime and safety from the perspectives of students, teachers and principals.

It contains data on 23 indicators of school crime and safety, including–

  • violent deaths;
  • nonfatal student and teacher victimization;
  • school environment;
  • fights, weapons, and illegal substances;
  • fear and avoidance;
  • discipline, safety, and security measures; and
  • campus safety and security.

View the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2017 report to learn more.

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Tax Season: How To Protect Yourself and What To Do if You’re a Victim

Stay Safe From Cybercrime During Tax Time fact sheetTax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number along with other personal data to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.

As Americans across the country prepare their tax returns, resources are available to help protect the public and assist victims of this crime.

The Stay Safe From Cybercrime During Tax Time fact sheet provides an overview of scams targeting taxpayers, tips for protecting yourself from tax-related identity theft, and steps that victims can take to receive help. The fact sheet was created by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).

One of the resources featured in the fact sheet is the ID Theft mobile app. Developed by ITRC with funding support from OVC, this free app can help victims track their ID theft cases and obtain assistance and resources.

View the fact sheet for additional information.

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U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking Releases Second Annual Report

The U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking is composed of a diverse panel of human trafficking survivors. The council recently released its second annual report, which highlights its collaboration with federal government agencies to strengthen anti-trafficking policies and programs.

The council’s Victim Services Committee focuses on ensuring that services to trafficking survivors are comprehensive, meet the needs of all victims, and empower survivors. Last year, they met with OVC and other federal agencies to provide input on a new national housing initiative to support human trafficking survivors and to discuss victim identification.

Learn more about the council’s efforts in the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking Annual Report 2017.

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Information for Victims of Nonconsensual Pornography

Nonconsensual pornography, also known as “revenge porn,” can have serious consequences for victims. It can lead to lifelong mental health consequences, damaged relationships, and social isolation.

The Federal Trade Commission recently blogged about help available for victims of nonconsensual pornography.

The blog contains links to resources, guidance on how to get images removed from websites and social media, information about current revenge porn laws, and a crisis hotline for victims.

View the Federal Trade Commission’s blog to learn more.

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42 Percent of Violent Victimizations Reported to Police in 2016

The Bureau of Justice Statistics released estimates of crime from the Image of 2016 National Crime Victimization Survey2016 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).

In 2016, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced 5.7 million violent victimizations, including rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault. This was a rate of 21.1 violent victimizations per 1,000 persons. An estimated 1.3 percent of U.S. residents experienced one or more violent victimizations in 2016.

The NCVS collects data from residents on crimes both reported and not reported to the police. Fewer than half (42 percent) of the violent victimizations committed in 2016 were reported to police. Aggravated assault (58 percent) and robbery (54 percent) were more likely to be reported to police than simple assault (38 percent) and rape or sexual assault (23 percent). Sixty percent of the 480,940 nonfatal firearm victimizations were reported to police in 2016.

Additionally, in 2016, BJS introduced new areas to the NCVS sample to reflect population changes based on the 2010 Decennial Census and to produce state- and local-level victimization estimates, which will be released in early 2018.

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Recorded Webinars Available to Help Health Providers Serve Victims

SOAR logoThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released recorded training webinars for health providers who may come into contact with human trafficking victims. The recorded webinars are part of the HHS SOAR to Health and Wellness training that educates professionals on how to identify, treat, and respond appropriately to potential victims of human trafficking.

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New Resource Helps Child Welfare Caseworkers Identify and Prevent Human Trafficking

The Children’s Bureau, a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, recently released the bulletin, Image of PDF guideHuman Trafficking and Child Welfare: A Guide for Caseworkers.

Children involved with child welfare are at risk for being targeted by traffickers. Therefore, child welfare caseworkers can be an invaluable resource in helping communities respond to the human trafficking of children.

This bulletin explores how child welfare professionals can identify and support children who have been victimized and prevent the most vulnerable youth from becoming future victims. It provides background information for caseworkers, specific strategies they can use in identifying and supporting victims, and tools and resources that will help them in this work.

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New Tools for Financial Caregivers

Millions of Americans are managing money or property for a loved one who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions. These financial caregivers may be agents under a power of attorney, guardians of property, or other fiduciaries.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Office for Older Americans website provides easy-to-understand guides on managing someone else’s money. The website also offers state-specific guides which provide detailed information on serving older adults and adults with disabilities and protecting these vulnerable populations from fraud and other types of financial abuse.

To help financial caregivers in Georgia, CFPB recently launched a guide with information and resources specific to the State.

Register online for a free webinar on August 22, 2017 to learn more.

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New Report Offers Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits

National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary ApproachThe National Institute of Justice recently released the report, National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach.

These best practices were developed by more than 50 national experts. They include 35 recommendations that help provide a roadmap for agencies to develop or advance their policies and protocols for untested sexual assault kits.

The recommendations are rooted in a victim-centric, multidisciplinary approach that encourages victim engagement and increases the potential for legal resolutions.

These best practices provide a roadmap for collecting, transferring, preserving, storing, and analyzing sexual assault kits in order to help improve practices and protocols related to evidence inventory, tracking and audits, and communication systems.

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Majority of Hate Crime Victimizations Go Unreported to Police

U.S. residents experienced an average of 250,000 hate crime victimizations each year from 2004 to 2015 and the majority of these were not reported to police.

During 2011-15, about a third of hate crime victims believed they were targeted because of their ethnicity (35 percent) or gender (29 percent). More than a fifth of victims believed the hate crime was motivated by bias against persons or groups with which they were associated (23 percent) or their sexual orientation (22 percent). Seventeen percent of victims perceived the hate crime was motivated by religious bias and 16 percent thought the bias against them was because of a disability.

Findings are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey, which collects data on nonfatal crimes both reported and not reported to police. Read more in the BJS report, Hate Crime Victimization, 2004-2015.

You may also learn more about efforts underway at the U.S. Department of Justice to combat hate crime in a recent Speech at the 2017 Hate Crimes Summit by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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New Toolkit to Support Law Enforcement Responses to Children Exposed to Violence

Released in conjunction with National Police Week, the Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence toolkit is designed to equip law enforcement professionals with trauma-informed, developmentally-appropriate tools to:

  • Identify and minimize threats to child safety;
  • Foster closer engagement between law enforcement and youth; and
  • Maximize both officer safety and positive outcomes for children and families.

Developed with support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Yale Child Study Center, the toolkit contains protocols, checklists, and other field-tested and research-informed resources.

View this toolkit online and visit our featured resources page to find additional information designed to help your agency improve its services to victims of crime.

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Partner Message Archive

June 2018

Participate in a Public Forum on Fighting Elder Financial Exploitation in Your Community

World Elder Abuse Awareness DayWorld Elder Abuse Awareness Day, recognized annually on June 15, is a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

As part of their efforts to commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will convene a public forum in Topeka, Kansas on June 8, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. c.t. to discuss ways to prevent elder financial exploitation.

The Fighting Elder Financial Exploitation in Your Community event will feature remarks by CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, followed by a discussion with representatives from the Kansas Attorney General's Senior Consumer Protection Advisory Council.

Learn more and register for the public forum on the CFPB website.

May 2018

Funding Opportunity: FY 2018 Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has released the FY 2018 Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program solicitation. Through this funding opportunity, BJA, in partnership with OVC, seeks applicants to plan and implement comprehensive programs in response to the growing opioid epidemic.

This program is designed to—

  • support our nation’s first responders and provide for the needs of crime victims,
  • support diversion programs for non-violent individuals who abuse illicit and prescription opioids,
  • implement and enhance prescription drug monitoring programs,
  • promote cross-system planning and coordination of service delivery, and
  • reduce the incidence of fatal overdoses associated with opioid use.

BJA expects to make up to 160 grant awards for varying amounts and performance periods.

Apply by June 18, 2018.

March 2018

Funding Opportunity: FY 2018 Programs and Services for Victims of Crime: Phased Evaluation Research

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is seeking applications for rigorous program evaluation of specific services for victims of crime, including housing, legal assistance, and technology-based services.

NIJ is collaborating with the Office for Victims for Crime on the FY 2018 Programs and Services for Victims of Crime: Phased Evaluation Research solicitation to support a phased evaluation approach in three areas of victim services:

  1. Technology-based victim services.
  2. Housing and shelter models.
  3. Legal assistance models for victims of crime.

This funding opportunity supports the U.S. Department of Justice’s priority of reducing victimization by examining interventions that may be effective in reducing revictimization and supporting victim needs.

Apply by May 4, 2018.

National Consumer Protection Week is March 4–10

Stay Safe From Cybercrime During Tax Time fact sheetDuring the annual National Consumer Protection Week commemoration, we band together to help people understand their consumer rights, make well-informed decisions about money, and promote resources to help victims of crime recover from identity theft and fraud.

The Federal Trade Commission offers outreach materials in English or Spanish to help you in your public awareness campaign. Find online and print content on steps that consumers can take to minimize their risk of fraud and identity theft and resources for victims of these crimes.

We also encourage the victim services field to enroll in the free OVC online training, Identity Theft Victim Assistance Online Training: Supporting Victims' Financial and Emotional Recovery. This training is designed to give users the skills to skills to more effectively serve victims of identity theft and assist with their financial and emotional recovery.

September 2017

Webinar Series To Discuss Commercial Sex Trafficking Research

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, in collaboration with the National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College, will present the three-part webinar series "Commercial Sex Trafficking—Using Research Findings To Support Investigations" on September 13, 19, and 26, 2017, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. e.t.

This series will explore research related to commercial sex trafficking of minors and how to improve system responses to victims. The presenter will share findings regarding traffickers and buyers, as well as issues specific to American Indian youth. The first webinar will examine research about perpetrators, including common characteristics and grooming methods. The second and third webinars will explore findings related to factors that put youth at risk for sex trafficking.

Learn more about each free webinar and register:

May 2017

Advanced Certificate for Collaborative Response to Family Violence

SJSUSan José State University is launching a new certificate program that will educate professionals across disciplines to more effectively address the complex dynamics and effects of family violence through interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Advanced Certificate for Collaborative Response to Family Violence program is intended to help students develop the capacity to work and lead effectively across disciplines. The certificate program culminates with a seminar series that includes field, dialogue, and project seminars. Students will engage with others to develop a capstone project that demonstrates an improved approach to family violence through interdisciplinary collaboration.

Previously, OVC supported San José State in creating the Institute for Collaborative Response for Victims of Family Violence (ICR). Since its founding in 2009, ICR has provided a new model of education and training to inspire students to work collaboratively among related disciplines to provide a more effective response for victims of family violence. Students who participate in ICR courses receive specialized training in areas of victimization, awareness of victims’ rights, and models for collaborative practice and service delivery.

Preparing for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15

Research has shown that 1 out of every 10 older adults are victims of elder abuse and these crimes often go underreported. Only 1 out of every 23 cases of elder abuse are reported to the appropriate protective services.

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, an annual call to action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

In commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) resources highlight strategies to support victims of elder abuse and reduce the instances of these crimes moving forward. These resources include:

Additionally, the Department of Justice, with OVC support, recently launched an elder abuse case review toolkit. This resource facilitates the development and growth of multidisciplinary teams to address elder abuse cases. It also provides information about team structures and functions, along with common issues that arise with developing a case review team.

For more information on the resources available regarding elder abuse, visit the Elder Abuse/Mistreatment section of our site and the Elder Abuse Special Feature at the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

April 2017

Trauma Training Available for Criminal Justice Professionals

Trauma-informed criminal justice responses can help to avoid re-traumatizing individuals. These responses recognize the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma can play in people’s lives. This increases safety for everyone involved, decreases the chance of an individual returning to criminal behavior, and supports the recovery of justice-involved men and women with serious mental illness.

The GAINS Center, a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), offers training that helps educate criminal justice professionals about the impact of trauma and how to develop trauma-informed responses.

The interactive, one-day training is specifically tailored to community-based criminal justice professionals, including law enforcement, community corrections, and court personnel.

To locate a trauma-informed trainer in your area, use the SAMHSA’s GAINS Center Trauma-Informed Response Trainer database or contact the GAINS Center directly about holding a training.

January 2017

The Crime Victims Fund: A Primer for Youth Justice Advocates

The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) has compiled a collection of resources related to the Crime Victims Fund, specifically in regards to how the fund can support children.

The recently released NJJN fact sheet (PDF 726 kb) is geared toward youth justice advocates who need a basic primer on how the federal Victims of Crime Fund operates. It includes strategies to move some of these increased resources to the communities that have historically lacked these services, but have had the greatest need for them.

The Crime Victims Fund was established by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984. It’s financed by annual deposits of fines and penalties paid by those convicted of federal offenses. Through the Fund, VOCA provides states with several streams of support for victims of crime, including crime victims’ compensation and victims’ services.

NJJN leads a movement of state-based juvenile justice reform organizations to fight for a fairer youth justice system that’s appropriate for youth and their families.

Money Management for Financial Caregivers

Millions of Americans are managing money or property for a loved one who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions. These financial caregivers may be agents under a power of attorney, guardians of property, or other fiduciaries.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Office for Older Americans website provides easy-to-understand guides on managing someone else’s money. View these state-specific guides which provide detailed information on serving older adults and adults with disabilities and protecting these vulnerable populations from fraud and other types of financial abuse.

To help financial caregivers in Illinois, CFPB is launching a guide with information and resources specific to Illinois in January 2017.

Register online for a free webinar on January 12, 2017, to learn more about this guide and how you can help people acting as financial fiduciaries for older adults and adults with disabilities.


 

For older announcements, visit the News Archive.