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.
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.
New Tool to Report and Recover from Tax Identity Theft
Tax-related identity theft happens when someone uses a stolen Social Security number to file a tax return and claim your tax refund.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have made it easier for consumers to report and recover from tax-related identity theft.
Now, consumers can report tax-related identity theft to the IRS online through the FTC's IdentityTheft.gov website. IdentityTheft.gov is the only website where consumers can report tax-related identity theft to the IRS electronically. The website also offers users with help to make an identity theft recovery plan, including information on how to create a fraud alert on your credit files and check your credit reports.
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.
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.
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.
(Posted March 13, 2018)
National Consumer Protection Week is March 4–10
During 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.
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.
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.
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.
(Posted December 7, 2017)
Recorded Webinars Available to Help Health Providers Serve Victims
The 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.
(Posted October 12, 2017)
Webinar Series To Discuss Commercial Sex Trafficking Research
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, in collaboration with the National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College, will present the three-part webinar series "Commercial Sex Trafficking—Using Research Findings To Support Investigations" on September 13, 19, and 26, 2017, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. e.t.
This series will explore research related to commercial sex trafficking of minors and how to improve system responses to victims. The presenter will share findings regarding traffickers and buyers, as well as issues specific to American Indian youth. The first webinar will examine research about perpetrators, including common characteristics and grooming methods. The second and third webinars will explore findings related to factors that put youth at risk for sex trafficking.
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.
(Posted September 11, 2017)
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.
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.
(Posted August 16, 2017)
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.
(Posted July 3, 2017)
New Toolkit to Support Law Enforcement Responses to Children Exposed to Violence
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.
Advanced Certificate for Collaborative Response to Family Violence
San 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.
(Posted May 17, 2017)
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.
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.
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.
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.)
(Posted August 6, 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 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. (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)