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.
(Posted January 11, 2017)
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.
(Posted January 4, 2017)
OVC Grantee Providing Services to Victims of Human Trafficking Highlighted by White House
The Thai Community Development Center of Los Angeles, an OVC grantee, was recently recognized during a White House roundtable discussion on the serving trafficking victims and how they differ from other crime victims.
More details on this roundtable, sponsored by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), were shared in a White House blog post. The work of this initiative represents one component of a holistic approach by the White House to provide innovative approaches to investigate and prosecute offenders and ensure that trafficking victims receive culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
The Thai Community Development Center was highlighted for their efforts in supporting victims of human trafficking. The center receives funding from OVC to provide specialized case management, mental health services, and legal services to AAPI victims of human trafficking in partnership with other organizations participating in the Asian Pacific Islander Human Trafficking Task Force in greater Los Angeles.
While there are many successful MDT models, the focus of this initiative is on helping those who wish to create, grow, or sustain an elder abuse case review MDT. This focus furthers the Department of Justice's broader elder justice goals by aligning with several recommendations of the Elder Justice Coordinating Council:
supporting the investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases;
enhancing services to elder abuse victims; and
promoting cross-disciplinary training on elder abuse.
To learn more about these services, or to schedule a consultation, visit the MDT TAC webpage.
(Posted November 10, 2016)
Coming Soon: Community Challenge to Improve Services
to Survivors of Human Trafficking
The President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking recently announced the
third and final Partnership for Freedom Challenge: Pathways to Freedom.
For survivors of human trafficking, leaving their trafficking situation is only the first step to rebuilding
their lives. Too many survivors still struggle to access services and be recognized as survivors of a
Pathways to Freedom will challenge local communities to address policies, practices,
and perceptions to ensure that every survivor of trafficking receives the respect, support, and
opportunities that they deserve.
Pathways to Freedom will launch in winter 2017. In the following months, the Partnership for Freedom will
share stories, news, and resources that highlight the realities that survivors face and motivate
communities to take action.
The webinar will focus on HUD’s recent guidance about fair housing standards related to nuisance abatement and crime-free housing ordinances. It will also give an overview of HUD’s complaint process.
Webinar participants should include domestic violence advocates, crime victim advocates, legal aid attorneys, and anyone who wants to better understand how nuisance abatement ordinances and crime-free housing programs impact victims of domestic violence.
(Posted October 17, 2016)
New Publication Discusses Requirements, Progress in State Courts Language Access Programs
The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has released a new publication, Language Access in State Courts (PDF 741 KB). This resource provides an overview of the legal requirements for providing language access services in state courts across the country, including services to victims and witnesses. This publication also highlights the significant progress that state courts have made, while addressing the challenges of providing meaningful language access.
Department of Justice Releases New Training for Interacting with Transgender Community
In August 2016, the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service released a training video for law enforcement that aims to ensure that interactions with members of the transgender community are respectful, professional, and safe for all involved.
The video provides information, tools, and techniques for police officers to effectively and politely interact with transgender individuals.
In promoting best practices, the video defines three important terms: assigned sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. As the roll call training video outlines, understanding the terminology and the major issues facing the transgender community can help rebuild trust and ensure that encounters are safe. The video also emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between a threat and a stereotype, and notes that individuals who feel disrespected are less likely to have faith in or cooperate with law enforcement.
“Transgender Americans, like all Americans, deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect by law enforcement officers,” said Paul Monteiro, Acting Director of the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service. “The information provided in this video will help strengthen the relationship between police and the transgender community, allowing for more effective investigations and safer encounters for officers and citizens alike.”
(Posted September 16, 2016)
Register for Free Webinars on Human Trafficking Awareness and Response
The Administration for Children and Families and the Office on Women’s Health with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are delighted to announce that they will be offering the Stop. Observe. Ask. Respond to Human Trafficking (SOAR) training through 10 virtual training sessions for health care providers, public health professionals, social workers, and behavioral health professionals.
HHS worked extensively with health care experts, social service providers, and trafficking survivors through the 2016 SOAR Technical Working Group to develop this training content and ensure that the most pertinent information and resources were included for the intended audiences.
This three hour training aims to equip health care and social service providers to —
Stop — Become aware of the scope of human trafficking in these settings.
Observe — Recognize the verbal and non–verbal indicators of human trafficking.
Ask — Identify and interact with a potential human trafficking victim using a victim–centered, trauma–informed approach.
Respond — Respond effectively to a potential human trafficking victim by identifying needs and available resources to provide critical support and assistance.
Fellows will provide legal services to older adults who have been victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. In addition to representing clients, fellows will work to create and support multidisciplinary teams of social workers, medical professionals, and law enforcement; lead “know your rights” sessions at senior centers, nursing homes, assisted living communities, and other community-based settings; and recruit and train pro bono attorneys.
NIJ Report Evaluates Testing Evidence in Sexual Assaults
Some of the most recent scientific findings about the role of evidence testing in sexual assaults come from two major projects supported by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). NIJ awarded grants to the Houston (Texas) Police Department and the Wayne County, Michigan, Prosecutor’s Office to form multidisciplinary teams to examine the issue of unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits (SAKs) in their jurisdiction.
These projects aimed to determine whether the experiences of these jurisdictions could help others and to better understand the issue of untested SAKs in the larger context of improving the justice system’s response to sexual assault.
Read Down the Road: Testing Evidence in Sexual Assaults (PDF 852 kb), which discusses the results of these studies and offers key lessons for improving responses to sexual assault based on research findings from Houston and Wayne County. Learn more from NIJ’s forensic and social science research portfolio on using biological evidence to solve sexual assaults and creating victim-centered notification.
(Posted August 17, 2016)
Office on Violence Against Women Releases National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Exams: Pediatric
This protocol provides a standard for communities wanting to develop or improve their response to child sexual abuse. It offers guidance for multidisciplinary agencies that coordinate with health care providers to facilitate medical care that addresses both the acute and longer-term health needs these children face. The goal of the Pediatric SAFE Protocol is to provide evidence-based, trauma-informed recommendations for health care providers who conduct sexual abuse medical forensic examinations of children.
(Posted May 3, 2016)
U.S. Department of Justice Releases National Strategy on Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction
The strategy covers child pornography; sextortion; live-streaming of child sexual abuse, child sex trafficking, and child sex tourism; and sex offense registry violations. For the first time, the strategy also dedicates an entire section to the unique challenges concerning child exploitation in Indian Country.
In support of the National Strategy, OVC developed the Circles of Support for Victims of Child Sexual Exploitation infographic (PDF 539 kb) found on page 87 of the National Strategy. This infographic illustrates the importance of a victim-centered response recognizing that every victim of child sexual exploitation has a unique set of needs and experiences, which if met and understood will offer that child a chance to continue his/her childhood in a new way with the opportunity to become a healthy, self-sustaining, and productive adult.
(Posted April 19, 2016)
Federal Trade Commission Launches Enhanced IdentityTheft.gov Website
On Thursday, January 28, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission announced the launch of an enhanced IdentityTheft.gov website, which the commission expects to revamp the way people report and recover from identity theft.
IdentityTheft.gov provides a comprehensive collection of resources for identity theft victims, including information on how to know if you’re a victim and what steps should be taken if your identity has been stolen.
The guidance details how gender bias can influence and undermine law enforcement agencies’ response to sexual assault and domestic violence. It offers eight principles for law enforcement to incorporate into policies and training to ensure that neither implicit nor explicit gender bias will undermine their efforts to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable. The guidance reminds law enforcement to uphold victims’ civil rights, treat all victims with respect and dignity, and encourage victims to participate in investigations.
Office on Violence Against Women Launches Campus Safety Website
The Office on Violence Against Women has launched the Center for Changing Our Campus Culture, an online resource clearinghouse for colleges and universities for preventing and responding to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on campus. The Center includes the latest research, sample campus policies, protocols, best practices, and information on training opportunities and technical assistance.
White House Accepting Nominations To Honor Youth and Law Enforcement Champions of Change
The White House Champions of Change program invites youth and law enforcement who are working together in their communities to the White House to share their accomplishments. The White House is now accepting nominations to recognize pairs of individuals—one young person (up to and including age 25) and one law enforcement officer—who help to build bridges between young people and law enforcement and improve public safety.
Nominees may include law enforcement officers who work with community partners to provide youth services, young people who have led programs and initiatives between law enforcement and youth, and police officers and youth who are using technology, including social media, to increase communication between law enforcement and young adults. Nominations must be received by noon on August 7, 2015.
White House Commemorates World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was commemorated on June 15, 2015. WEAAD is an international observance to raise awareness about the abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of elderly persons, provide services to victims, and promote ways to prevent elder abuse. Earlier this month, the Office of the Vice President and the White House Council on Women and Girls met with advocates to discuss ways to address solutions to serving elderly female victims of crime.
The discussion “featured an overview of the nexus between domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and elder abuse; explored how service providers can address age as a part of ongoing efforts to develop more comprehensive and victim-centered services; and identified remaining gaps and barriers for our field to build awareness and responsiveness to the needs of older survivors.” The Administration is working to support elder justice as a part of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.
New Checklists to Help Victims Recover from Financial Fraud, Identity Theft
In January 2014, OVC, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) sent out to the field the new Taking Action: An Advocate’s Guide to Assisting Victims of Financial Fraud which included strategies for addressing the major types of financial crime. FINRA and NCVC have just released four new checklists to assist victims of identity theft, investment fraud, mortgage and lending fraud, and mass marketing and other fraud.
On February 23, 2015, The Ford Foundation gathered a panel to discuss the issues raised in this publication, including the prevalence and impact of violence, victimization and trauma on young men of color. Moderated by The Ford Foundation's Kirsten Levingston, members of the panel included ‐
Representative Hakeem Jeffries, 8th District, New York (D)
Kenneth Thompson, District Attorney, Brooklyn, New York
Dr. Richard Dudley, forensic psychiatrist
Reverend Dr. Harold Trulear, Howard University School of Divinity
Serving Deaf Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence
Recent research indicates that as many as 25% of Deaf women will experience domestic and sexual abuse in their lifetime. Despite the overwhelming need, many of the resources available to help victims – from phone-based crisis hotlines to shelters without American Sign Language interpreters – remain inaccessible to the Deaf community.
The Vera Institute of Justice, along with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, studied the unique needs of Deaf victims and how to better meet them to new and existing services. The full report, “Culture, Language, and Access: Key Considerations for Serving Deaf Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence,” is available at vera.org.
For additional information on serving the Deaf community, view the following resources from OVC:
What happens to crime victims when an individual is wrongfully convicted and exonerated?
What happens to crime victims when an individual is wrongfully convicted and exonerated? This issue is explored in an article from the latest edition of the NIJ Journal. The authors of the NIJ Journal article, Addressing the Impact of Wrongful Convictions on Crime Victims, demonstrate that for some victims, the impact of the wrongful conviction may be comparable to — or even worse than — that of their original victimization. Crime victims may experience feelings of guilt, fear, helplessness, devastation, and depression. The authors also found a lack of available services to support crime victims who have been notified of a potential wrongful conviction.
In September 2014 the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office also released an 8-minute podcast in which Meg Morrow, former OVC attorney advisor, shares OVC’s plan to help address the needs of survivors and victims of crime in cases of wrongful conviction.
Boston Public Health Commission Web Video Series Engages Young Men in Preventing Gender Based Violence Against Women and Girls
As part of the Defending Childhood Initiative, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women’s Engaging Men in Preventing Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Grant Program, the Boston Public Health Commission has launched an innovative Web video series. The Halls follows three young men in Boston through their struggles with relationships, trauma, masculinity, and identity as rumors of a rape of a classmate surface in the halls of their high school.
Through this program, the Commission is creating a public education and community organizing campaign to engage boys and young men in ending Boston’s high prevalence of teen dating violence. The project seeks to support healthy teen relationships by changing community and gender norms. For more information about the project and Web video series, visit the Boston Public Health Commission’s Engaging Men and Boys Web site.
(Posted December 1, 2014)
Victim Rights During Federal Sentencing
The United States Sentencing Commission released a video entitled Victims' Rights and Federal Sentencing, which aims to help crime victims exercise
their right to participate in the sentencing process. The video explains the court process, legal terminology and how participating in the process can benefit victims of crime. A probation officer explains how victims can affect the sentencing outcome. The personal story of a crime victim is also presented in which he shares his experience about speaking during sentencing.
(Posted November 5, 2014)
New Report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Provides Recommendations for Law Enforcement and Courts in Eyewitness Identification
According to the report, science has provided an increasingly clear picture of the inherent limits in human visual perception and memory that can lead to errors, as well as the ways unintentional cues during law enforcement processes can compromise eyewitness identifications.
Urging caution in handling and relying upon eyewitness identification in criminal cases, Identifying the Culprit: Assessing Eyewitness Identification examines the factors that can lead to such mistaken identifications and subsequently wrongful convictions and suggests best practices and recommendations to protect the innocent, increase public safety, and deliver justice to crime victims.
(Posted October 21, 2014)
Impact of Exonerations on Victims
For 11 years, Jennifer Thompson was certain that the man who attacked her was behind bars—until she learned that DNA evidence proved his innocence. Hear her story in the Beat Podcast: Wrongful Convictions (mp3 10.9 mb) or read the transcript. OVC’s attorney advisor, Meg Morrow, also shares OVC’s plan that helps to address the needs of survivors and victims of crime in cases of wrongful conviction.
This 8-minute podcast is one of a series produced by the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office to inform you about the latest community policing topics facing our nation. The Beat Podcasts in September touch on these topics:
DNA Exoneration and False Confessions
Police Reforms to Prevent Wrongful Convictions
Eyewitness Misidentification: How it Happens and the Impact on the Innocent
Access these publications, referenced in the podcast:
Pass It On Campaign from FTC Encourages Peer-to-Peer Scam Education
In September 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the "Pass It On" campaign, which enlists people 65 and older to recognize and report frauds and scams. The campaign reinforces what older individuals already know about some of today’s most common scams, and it gives them a quick and straightforward way to share that knowledge with their family members, friends, and communities.
The topics in the first generation of the Pass It On campaign include—
Health care scams
Paying too much
"You’ve won" scams.
Visit the Pass It On Web site for more information about the campaign and free resources for bulk orders and downloads. All resources are also available in Spanish; Vea ¡Pásalo!(Posted September 11, 2014)
The U.S. Department of Justice Launches Elder Justice Web Site
On September 8, 2014, Associate Attorney General Tony West, Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery for the Civil Division, and members of the Department’s Elder Justice Initiative met with stakeholders in the field of elder abuse and financial exploitation to launch the Elder Justice Web site in an effort to further prevent and combat elder abuse and financial exploitation.
The Elder Justice website serves as a resource for elder abuse prosecutors, researchers and practitioners and, most importantly, for victims of elder abuse and their families. This Web site will also serve as a forum for law enforcement and elder justice policy communities to share information and enhance public awareness about elder abuse. Key features of the site include—
NIJ Report Explores Applying a Sentinel Event Review Approach to Criminal Justice System Errors
Errors in our criminal justice system inflict specific harm—an individual is wrongfully convicted, a criminal goes free, and people lose trust in the justice system. Errors are potential "sentinel events" that can signal complicated, interconnected flaws in the system.
Drawing on lessons from medicine and aviation, the National Institute of Justice’s latest report, Mending Justice: Sentinel Event Reviews, takes a deeper look at how the criminal justice system could apply "organizational accident" review principles to improve the administration of justice and prevent future errors.
The primary essay—written by James Doyle, a Visiting Fellow with NIJ for 2 years—discusses how principles used by aviation and medicine to improve outcomes could be adopted in criminal justice. The report includes a message from the Attorney General and 16 commentaries from highly respected representatives of criminal justice researchers, practitioners, and other stakeholders.
This new guide for victim and support service providers (PDF 500 kb) highlights information that is relevant for providers, and includes key terms, risk factors, emerging service strategies, challenges of providing services, and recommendations for preventing, identifying, and responding to these crimes.
Webinar 1: Children and Domestic Violence
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. (Eastern)
In addition to providing an overview of the Webinar series, this event will teach participants about the needs of child victims and their families.
Webinar 2: Caring for Others While Caring for Ourselves
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. (Eastern)
This training will provide guidance on self-care, managing stress, and building organizational support.
Register for these 2 webinars today and sign up for the NCDVTMH Email List to stay informed about future webinars. (Posted May 23, 2014)
Nomination Period Open for L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award
Awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), the L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award is bestowed upon a collaborative team of law enforcement and community members whose innovative civic interactions have transformed public safety in their community.
Nominated teams of two or more individuals—at least one law enforcement officer and one community member—have to demonstrate active engagement with the community in a multifaceted manner that has been sustained over time and has resulted in positive, observable public safety outcomes.
The ideal team—
creates sustainable collaborations that are innovative, creative, and transformative;
displays civic leadership through problem solving and collaborative partnerships;
institutionalizes sustainable, positive, observable public safety outcomes; and
promotes public safety through dedication to the community policing philosophy.
Join Conference Call With President Obama To Thank Faith and Community Leaders for Assisting in Affordable Care Act Enrollment
At the request of the Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma, the Office for Victims of Crime is pleased to send you an invitation from the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to join President Obama for a conference call on Affordable Care Act enrollment. The conference call will take place on Monday, March 10, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. ET.
President Obama wants to thank all of the faith and community leaders across the country who are working hard to help millions of Americans access affordable, quality health coverage. As you know, one of the President’s top priorities is to ensure that Americans enroll in the health insurance marketplace before the March 31 deadline, and he looks forward to discussing these issues with you.
To participate, RSVP to AT&T Executive TeleConference at http://www.att-rsvp.com or by phone at 877-471-4350. If you are outside the United States, call 402-516-0110.
When you RSVP, you will be asked to provide Conference ID # 321632 and your name, organization, and email address. Once you RSVP, you will receive a dial-in number for the call on Monday, March 10, and you will need to retain Conference ID # 321632.
This call is off the record and not for press purposes.(Posted March 7, 2014)
Participate in Listening Sessions about Protecting Students from Sexual Assault
The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault will be conducting a series of virtual, public listening sessions in February. The Office of Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, in partnership with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, and the Civil Rights Division, U.S Department of Justice, will be hosting these sessions, and will be joined by the White House, the Office of the Vice President, and the agencies serving on the Task Force.
The Task Force is looking for concrete and creative ideas about how schools can prevent sexual assault, and how they can better respond when it happens—both in terms of supporting survivors and holding offenders accountable.
In particular, the Task Force is looking for your opinions on:
Institutional policies and protocols to address sexual assault
Responding to diverse, underserved or historically marginalized victims
Crisis intervention and advocacy services
Complaint and grievance procedures
Training and orientation modules for students, staff, and faculty
Evaluating and measuring the success of prevention and response efforts
Sharing information with the public
Making enforcement activities transparent and accessible
Promoting greater coordination and consistency among federal agencies
Maximizing the Federal Government’s effectiveness in combatting campus rape and sexual assault
To facilitate conversation, the listening sessions are organized by group. For more information about the various topical groups, the dates and times of each session, the procedure for the sessions, and how to register, visit NCJFCJ's event page for the White House listening sessions. (Posted February 18, 2014)
Participate in Free NITVAN Webinar on ID Theft Victimization Data and Informing Policy for Serving Crime Victims
On February 12, 2014, from 2 to 3 p.m. EST, the National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network (NITVAN), an OVC-funded network project, will host "Understanding the Latest BJS Data on Identity Theft VictimizationWhat it Means to Criminal Justice, Policy Makers, Victim Service Professionals and Allied Professionals," a free Webinar for advocates, law enforcement, legal assistance providers, and other allied professionals.
Bureau of Justice Statistics statisticians and authors of 2012 Identity Theft Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, Erika Harrell and Lynn Langton, will provide background information on the source of the data and explain key findings related to the financial, social, and emotional consequences of identity theft and the experiences of identity theft victims.
Eva Casey Velasquez, President and CEO of Identity Theft Resource Center, will offer thoughts on how the data can be used to inform policy decisions in addressing the needs and rights of identity theft victims.
Register now to learn how these data can impact your work with victims, inform policy decisions, and educate the public on the effects of victimization. (Posted February 6, 2014)
Read the Federal Interagency Report on Women and Trauma-Informed Approaches
Trauma-Informed Approaches: Federal Activities and Initiatives—a report of the Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma—demonstrates the application of trauma-informed approaches across a wide range of settings and systems to encourage other government and nongovernmental agencies to implement a cross-sector, interagency, inter-systems’ recognition and response to trauma.
This report, developed with support from the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, also addresses the growing interest in this issue nationally, the work of the Committee, and the specific progress that participating agencies made in the years (2010-2013) since the Committee published its first report in 2011.
Read the report (PDF, 632kb) for further information about the projects, programs, and initiatives of more than three dozen federal agencies, departments, and offices participating on the Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma. (Posted January 27, 2014)