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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 website. 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. 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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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.

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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.

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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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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:

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Learn more about the work of the Thai Community Development Center and other OVC and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grantees by visiting the Matrix of OVC/BJA-Funded Human Trafficking Services Grantees and Task Forces.

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New Elder Justice Initiative Multidisciplinary Team Technical Assistance Center

The Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative announced the launch of the elder abuse case review Multidisciplinary Team Technical Assistance Center (MDT TAC). The mission of MDT TAC is to provide tools, resources, and individualized consultations to facilitate the expansion of elder abuse case review multidisciplinary teams across the nation.

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.

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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 crime.

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.

Join the Pathways to Freedom Email List to receive an update as soon as the challenge is released.

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Keeping Domestic Violence Victims Safe with HUD’s New Guidance About Fair Housing

Join the Office on Violence Against Women and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in a webinar on October 20 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. ET during which staff will explain new federal guidance designed to help families continue to live in safe housing.

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.

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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.

OVC recognizes that communication barriers prevent millions of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and limited English proficient (LEP) victims across the country from seeking and receiving services. To help bridge this gap in services, earlier this year OVC announced the Language Access Initiative to Reduce Language Barriers to Victim Services (PDF 60 KB).

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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.”

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Register for Free Webinars on Human Trafficking Awareness and Response

SOAR logoThe 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.
For more information and to register, visit the SOAR training webpage.

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Apply Today for Elder Justice Fellowship Opportunities

Elder Justice AmeriCorps ProjectEqual Justice Works is accepting applications for fellows to work on the Elder Justice AmeriCorps project in over 20 locations across the country.

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.

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

Visit the Equal Justice Works website to learn more and apply.

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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.

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Office on Violence Against Women Releases National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Exams: Pediatric

Medical forensic examination is an integral component of the response to child sexual abuse victims, and it is designed to address victims’ health care needs and promote their safety and healing. To aid providers involved in responding to child sexual abuse, the Office on Violence Against Women, with support from the Office for Victims of Crime, has created a National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Exams: Pediatric (Pediatric SAFE Protocol) (2 mb).

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.

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U.S. Department of Justice Releases National Strategy on Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction

Circles of Support for Victims of Child Sexual Exploitation

Image Sources:
© iStock, © Shutterstock
(See OVC’s reuse policy.)

The U.S. Department of Justice has released an updated National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction (PDF 8.46 mb) that provides a comprehensive threat assessment of the dangers facing children in 2016.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced the changes on April 19, 2016.

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.

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Federal Trade Commission Launches Enhanced Website

On Thursday, January 28, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission announced the launch of an enhanced website, which the commission expects to revamp the way people report and recover from identity theft. 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.

For more information, visit

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U.S. Department of Justice Releases Guidance on Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

On December 15, 2015, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced the release of new policy guidance to help law enforcement agencies prevent gender bias in their response to sexual assault and domestic violence.

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.

View the Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Guidance (PDF, 1.73 mb) and the Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Fact Sheet (PDF, 20.22 kb).

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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.

For more information, visit the Center for Changing Our Campus Culture website.

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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.

View the White House page to read more, and nominate a Champion of Change. (Choose “Building Bridges Between Youth and Law Enforcement” in the Theme of Service field.)

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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.

View the White House Blog to read more, and visit our June Featured Resources for resources to help your organization assist elderly victims.

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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.

Check out the new checklists today to help victims move toward recovery! You may also view the Taking Action Guide online.

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Register to Attend a Webinar on Supporting Victims with Disabilities

Join the National Center on Criminal Justice & Disability (NCCJD) for a webinar on Violence in the Lives of People with Disabilities: Emerging Issues and Solutions for 2015 and Beyond on April 30, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. (Eastern). The webinar will explore emerging issues such as:

National Center on Criminal Justice & Disability

  • Applying trauma-informed care when working with people with intellectual/developmental disabilities
  • Assisting victims with complex communication needs
  • Supporting victims with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and other disabilities
  • Responding to bullying of students with disabilities
  • Supporting people with disabilities in speaking out against violence

Participants will also be the first to obtain NCCJD’s white paper on violence, abuse, and bullying

Visit OVC’s Crime Victims with Disabilities page for additional resources.

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Justice for All: Understanding Victimization of Young Men of Color

OVC's Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report highlights the need for more information about the prevalence of crime victimization among boys and young men of color, along with the barriers they face in asserting their rights as victims and gaining access to services. In 2014 the Vera Institute of Justice released a report titled, Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm: Addressing Disparities in our Responses to Violence.

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
  • Danielle Sered, Vera Institute of Justice

Watch a recording of the panel discussion to help you gain an understanding of these issues in order to better engage this underserved population.

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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

For additional information on serving the Deaf community, view the following resources from OVC:

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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.

Silhouette of a person holding their head. ©Comstock, Stockbyte. Image is used for illustrative purposes only and any person depicted is a model.
©Comstock, Stockbyte. Image is used for illustrative purposes only and any person depicted is a model. (See Reuse Policy)

You will also hear from Jennifer Thompson, who for 11 years, was certain that the man who attacked her was behind bars—until she learned that DNA evidence proved his innocence. Listen to the Beat Podcast: Wrongful Convictions (mp3 10.9 mb) or read the transcript.

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Partner Message Archive

December 2014

New Online Library Features Tools on Violence Against Women

End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) image End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) offers service providers and allied professionals with resources to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable.

EVAWI has launched a new online Resource Library which features publications, policies, protocols, training tools and additional resources on topics including:

  • domestic violence
  • sexual assault
  • stalking
  • trauma
  • human trafficking
  • cold cases
  • elder abuse

Visit the EVWAWI Resource Library to search and view materials in this collection.

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.

November 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.

October 2014

New Report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Provides Recommendations for Law Enforcement and Courts in Eyewitness Identification

Identifying the Culprit - Partner Message Board ImageSponsored by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, a new study and corresponding report from the National Academy of Sciences explains the fallibility of eyewitness identification and issues science-based recommendations that will enable law enforcement and courts to improve the accuracy of eyewitness evidence.

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.

September 2014

Impact of Exonerations on Victims

Thumbnail fo The Beat Podcast Page from COPSFor 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:

  • Wrongful Convictions
  • 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 Identity Theft. Imposter Scams. Charity Fraud. Health Care Scams. Paying Too Much. "You've Won" Scams.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—

  • Imposter scams
  • Identity theft
  • Charity fraud
  • 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!

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—

  • Resources by State
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Common Elder Abuse Scenarios
  • Training Materials
  • Sample State and Federal Case Documents

For more information, including OVC resources, visit the Elder Justice Web site.

NIJ Report Explores Applying a Sentinel Event Review Approach to Criminal Justice System Errors

Mending Justice: Sentinel Event ReviewsErrors 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.

Download Mending Justice: Sentinel Event Reviews (PDF 1.2 mb) from NIJ’s Web site.

July 2014

National Academies Release Victim and Support Services Guide About Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children

Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States. A Guide for Providers of Victim and Support Services. How are we preventing, identifying, and responding to Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking or Minors in the U.S.? Launch Graphic.

The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council released a guide for victim and support service providers summarizing the Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States report. The report, sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), was released in September 2013 and examines current approaches to address commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children.

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.

Access materials from the report, including an infographic and YouTube video.

May 2014

Sign Up for Webinars on Trauma-Informed Services for Victims of Domestic Violence

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental HealthThe National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health (NCDVTMH) will host a free, 10-part webinar series titled, Building Trauma-Informed Services for Children, Youth, and Parents Impacted by Domestic Violence. The goal of these webinars is to provide participants with practical strategies for supporting survivors and their children to address challenges, promote resilience, and heal from the traumatic effects of interpersonal violence.

  • 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.

Nomination Period Open for L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award

The L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination AwardAwarded 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.

Visit the COPS Office’s L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award website to learn more and nominate a team. Nominations must be sent via e-mail to or via fax to 202-616-8658 (ATTN: Nazmia Alqadi) by Thursday, June 12 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

March 2014

The White House, WashingtonJoin 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 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.

February 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
  • Prevention programs
  • Crisis intervention and advocacy services
  • Complaint and grievance procedures
  • Investigation protocols
  • Adjudicatory procedures
  • Disciplinary sanctions
  • 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 combating 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.

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 Victimization—What 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.

January 2014

Read the Federal Interagency Report on Women and Trauma-Informed Approaches

Trauma-Informed Approaches: Federal Activities and InitiativesTrauma-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.