Assisting Stalking Victims Using Victim Notification
Travis Fritsch, Trudy Gregorie, Karin Ho  -  2011/1/26
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
The recent events related to the shooting in Tucson have focused on the mental health of the shooter, and the fact that he had previously attended some events with Congresswoman Giffords and seemed focused on harming her. I have not heard any conversation or media reporting that used the word "stalking" in relation to this incident and wondered if this might be a useful avenue of discussion. Are we doing a good job of capturing stalking behavior so the issue of victim notification can follow?
 
1.  Trudy Gregorie
 Politically motivated stalking is one of the several types of stalking motivations and what we know of this offender would seem to indicate he would fit into this category, although it is clear he had mental health issues and there may be information we do not currently have or that has not been released. I have not seen any reporting that identifies this case as involving stalking, but again we may not have all the information that has been gathered or released. Very often the actual arrest and prosecution moves forward with the specific behaviors of the stalking offender, and the stalking offense itself is never identified. This is often because the individual stalking behaviors, most of which are themselves criminal offenses, may be charged separately from the stalking and actually carry a stronger penalty and are easier to establish for a successful prosecution than the criminal offense of stalking in most jurisdictions.This is a case that involves split jurisdiction, both local law enforcement and federal jurisdiction. The federal victim notification system through the U.S. Attorneys Office would be the main point of contact, but the Tucson Police Department VINE program would also notify registered individuals of release of the offender as well as movements of the offender pending court actions. Notification would be a priority for all the victims and survivors of those involved in this case, but given the nature and response to what happened as a result of this offenders actions the whole community may want to receive notification, and there are systems in place for that through automated notification registration processes at the local and federal level. In response to your last question, most jurisdictions are now doing a better job of capturing stalking behaviors due to increased training and experience with stalking case. Because it is a course of conduct type of crime, it involves many behaviors and each of these may occur in a separate law enforcement jurisdiction, so coordination of information around a stalking case is critical and the victim often has to be at the hub of this information transfer. This is a crime where the victim is very involved in tracking the stalking behaviors and collecting evidence for law enforcement and prosecutors. Victim specialists are critical to assist victims of stalking to help them understand what is happening, how best to assist the case investigation, and how best to protect themselves, as well as help them register for available notification processes both pre-trial and post-conviction, which can be so critical to their own safety. In stalking cases, precautions are taken to protect the victims information and location, as it is recognized that this information can be a tool for further stalking.
 
 
What is the victim notification technology and how is it effective?
 
1.  Pat Tuthill
 Thru web based technology, the Interstate Compact Offender Tracking system links all states together and in cases where their is a victim both the sending state and receiving state are aware that there is a victim to be notifed. All states are connected, currently funding is required to link an automated process to victim notification. If this automated notification can be established for Interstate Compact Offenders the application could be expanded to other criminal justice agencies and state victim agencies.
 
2.  Karin Ho
 There have been several technological advancements over the past decade that have greatly enhanced notification services. When victim notification rights first emerged, advocates traditionally informed victims about the status of their cases through letters or personal telephone calls. Current technology now allows for more automated notification through computerized telephonic and internet systems. Crime victims can simply register their phone number or email to receive messages whenever there are status changes or other events related to their case. The information can range from routine hearing notification to unexpected release from custody (ie: escape). These systems can be very effective in keeping victims not only informed, but safe! For example, if a domestic violence offender is released from jail pending a hearing, but the victim thinks the offender is still in jail, her safety could be greatly compromised. By receiving notification, the victim has a chance to implement a safety plan to fit the change in her case. Timing in these cases can be critical and the sooner victims have information, the better they are able to prepare and respond to whats happening. Is the information sent to victims in real timeor is there a delay in making notification? Please know that while every state has some form of notification, not all have these advanced technologies implemented. Even those that do, can vary dramatically from state to state in what information they notify victims about. It is very important to understand what is available in your state so victims have realistic expectations about what events they will be notified about in their cases.
 
 
Do you believe victim notification is enough or should there be more resources made available for victims?
 
1.  travis
 Travis very good question! Victims need, and deserve, a wide range of accessible resources and safety strategies that can serve them now and in the future. Automated victim notification can give them something that other services cannot but no service provides safety in isolation. Probably the most serious and valuable automated victim notification can provide victims with real-time and accurate information about the lock-up or custody status of their offenders, transfer to other facilities, and other critical notifications (e.g., escape) . These services can also alert victims when protective orders are served on offenders, which can prove to be an extremely high risk time for adult and child victims. Advance notifications about court hearings can support victims with safety planning for court appearances. And, the ability of victims to access offender information (e.g., still incarcerated) can bring a peace of mind. All safety planning must be 1) detailed; 2) practical; 3) practiced; and 4) revised continually as the victims circumstances change. Safety planning is the core training for advocates. Linking victims with advocates who can provide information, multiple resources, and referrals with varying degrees of confidentiality is extremely valuable for victim access to safety, justice and healing.
 
2.  Trudy Gregorie
 Victim notification is only one of the essential resources needed by crime victims. Additional resources are necessary and available for victims of crime. One resource that goes hand-in-hand with notification of release of serious, violent offenders in a number of states is the victim wrap-around process. This process involves the opportunity for victims who choose to be involved to meet with corrections professionals (including community supervision), law enforcement from the jurisdiction where they live, local victim advocates, and a support person of their choice prior to the release of the offender from prison. Information is provided about the process, who the supervision officer and agency will be, how to contact the supervision agency, information about local victim services, what the conditions of release will be for the offender, and other pertinent issues. In this face-to-face meeting, the victim can ask questions, voice safety concerns and any other issues that are of concern. Initial safety planning around the release of the offender is begun for the victim with the professionals in the meeting. This is an additional resource that has proven to be vital to many victims in the states where it is has been implemented and is available. Contact your states automated victim notification network andor the victim services division within your states department of corrections for more information.
 
 
Hi im in a family violence course, this is a subject that really interests me because it's part of many peoples lives. I would like to learn more on how do you know if you're being stalked by someone and if you are what is the measure that should be taken to deal with the situation. Also i would like to know more on any tips there are for domestic violence prevention.
 
1.  travis
 Travis---Great that you are taking a family violence course! Always have information that you can use to promote healthy relationships in your life and will give you an awareness and resources to use and share throughout your life. To learn more about stalking, how to identify the behaviors, assess risks, and learn about victim rights and protection strategies, let me refer you to the national Stalking Resource Center (SRC), with the National Center for Victims of Crime. You may get this and other extremely valuable information via: Website: www.ncvc.orgsrc Email: src@ncvc.org Phone: 202467-8700 or TTY 800211-7996 Another great resource is the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). In addition to the resources accessible through these sites, each of these programs provides state-of-the-art training. You may find NNEDV at: Website: www.nnedv.org Phone: 202543-5566For information about valuable domestic violence prevention programs::The Mary Byron Project, where I work, was established in 2000 in memory of the young woman whose tragic murder led to the creation of automated crime victim notification technologies. As a nationally recognized thought-leader on domestic violence, the Mary Byron Project (MBP) cultivates and supports efforts that extend beyond crisis management to attack the root causes of this epidemic and help build safer, healthier communities. The MBP also makes four (4) Celebrating Solutions awards nationally each year to exceptional programs across the country that are innovative and replicable in other communities seeking to reduce and prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating or relationship abuse. You may find out more about these exceptional programs via the MBP website. A compilation of winners is available with references to other valuable programs nationally. MBP promotes public awareness through their Face Book and Twitter postings. You may also access this information through the MBP. Website: www.marybyronproject.org Email: information@marybyronproject.org Office: 866264-6684 or 502992-3444 Travis A. Fritsch: 859229-7245 (cell; voice and text)Please also reference: Family Violence Prevention Fund (San Francisco); Faith Trust Institute (Seattle) which provides prevention and training resources to faith communities; There are also valuable mens movement programs that encourage and support men working to end violence against women (see MBP).  
 
 
Besides using victim notification systems, what else can victim advocates or even citizens do to help those who are being stalked or are in fear of being stalked? Also, how has this notification system helped victims and law enforcement?
 
1.  travis
 awareness and victim access to services.Travis---Part II.Hmmmm. there are so many accounts of how automated victim notification services have helped victims and police. We can each tell you about cases, and are glad to do so later if you like, but here are a couple of quick examples:---Battered woman seeks a protective order against her abusivethreatening husband. She registers for VINE Protective Order to be notified when he is served with the protective order so she can increase her safety planning. When she gets the phone notification, she realizes that she and her daughter cannot be at their home because he would be so mad that she is taking steps to stop him and get away from him. So, after the notification, she and her daughter flee their home. Within the hour, the neighbors are calling the police because he is at their house with guns and shooting the place up. All parties involved believe that if she had not been notified in such a timely manner that she and her daughter would be killed (and probably him too). Police were able to safely intervene, verify that he had been served with the order, and arrest him on multiple charges.----Police officer is registered to be notified when a domestic violence (DV) offender is released from jail. The offenders wife had been assaulted, threatened and stalked prior to his conviction. Upon notification, the officer made time to watch the location(s) where the offenders wife worked and livedbecause he knew that, despite court orders prohibiting him to come near her, he would do so and probably soon after being released. The offender did drive up to the victims home and was promptly arrested by the officer. The offender had a knife, tape and other questionable supplies in his car at the time.-- An advocate with a county sheriffs department always helped victims file for protective orders. She also explained safety planning with included victims right to register for notification when the respondent was served with the protective order. The advocate would register for notification on service of these court orders, print the email notifications, and file these service verifications in the court record. When the cases came to court, some respondents would try to claim that they had not been served with the protective orders. Unfortunately, in some cases, the serving agencies had not been able to return proof of service prior to court hearings. Fortunately, the advocate was ready to provide the court with proof of service. The court could then legally proceed with hearings and respond to the false statements of the respondent.
 
 
How can VINE help my clients who are being stalked? For other DV advocates, how are you finding VINE to be effective in helping your stalking victims?
 
1.  Trudy Gregorie
 Yes, for post-conviction notification, the offender has to have been convicted. However, there are notification systems in place for pre-trial notification, where the offender only has to have been arrested and awaiting trial.
 
2.  travis
 Travis at this point, I hope that you can find examples in responses to other questions about how VINE and other statewide automated victim information and notification (SAVIN) services can help stalking victims/persons of most any type of victimization. I really appreciate your question about the effectiveness of SAVIN services for victims. When assisting with these at-risk populations, it is critical for service providers and victims, to know the strengths and weaknesses of any safety or support service available them. For victims of domestic violence stalking, etc., the illusion of protection is worse than no protection at all!--- Travis A. Fritsch. No one service or legal remedy is perfect or the all-encompassing answer to preventing further victimization. Victims have a right to know about service optionsbut also the range of servicesprotections, limitations that may exist, etc.---Reality Check! As informed consumers, they can subsequently proceed with safety planning andor legal proceedings in a manner that is consistent with the protectionsland mines of the current system. In my opinion, the effectiveness of SAVIN programs and services with stalking (any) victims, is dependent on how they are designed, implemented, monitored, assessed, and updated. The design should comply with the ethics and guidelines set forth by the Bureau of Justice AssistanceIJIS Institute: Planning, implementing and operating effective Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) programs: Guidelines and Standards. Further, to be effective, all stages of SAVIN services require involvement of key stakeholders (diverse and representative of the population) and especially the voices of advocates and victimssurvivors. To assess SAVIN effectiveness, a statecommunity should examine the technology, technologydata-related protocols, human service supports and protocols, print and online SAVIN information, and consumer experiences. When the programservices work well, it is important to document and relay this information to key stakeholders, such as a states SAVIN Governance Committee andor the SAVIN vendor. Likewise, it is just as, if not more important, to identify, document and promptly relay problems to these identified authorities for prompt remedy (as is possible). Additionally, there should be on-going communication regarding recommendations to improve this safety tool i.e., SAVIN technology and services, protocols, resources, etc. Effectiveness is dependent on open collaboration and full accountability of all stakeholders, including the technologyVSR vendors. You may want to find out whowhich agencies are responsible for governing SAVIN services in your jurisdiction so you experiences and those of the victims you also serve, can be shared to promote practical and effective SAVIN services.
 
3.  Brittany
 Doesn't the Law Enforcement agency or Custodial Agency need to be using vine or registered to use this notfication tool? Does there need conviction or charges filed first?
 
4.  Jenny
 For the victim notification to work the perp would have needed to be convicted correct?
 
5.  Karin Ho
 Automated notification systems can be implemented at a local level for offenders in jail andor at a state level for inmates incarcerated in prison. While an offender is in custody in any of these systems, victims can register to receive timely information about the status of that offender. If the offender for example is released from jail pending a hearing, but the victim thinks the offender is still in jail, her safety could be greatly compromised. By registering for notification, the victim has a chance to receive information and implement a safety plan to fit changes in his or her case as necessary. As Im sure youre aware, timing in these cases can be critical and the sooner victims have information, the better they are able to prepare and respond to whats happening. Is the information sent to victims by an automated system real timeor is there a delay in making notification? The difference between downloading every hour versus once a day from a jail or prison system to an automated notification system and ultimately to the victims can make a huge difference. It is important to understand the capabilities of the system in your state. In addition, victim advocates and other justice professionals (including paroleprobation officers) can utilize automated notification systems to register themselves to also keep up to date with any changes in the status of the offender to provide additional support to stalking and other victims of crime.
 
 
Can a victim get other past conviction information on their defendant using victim notification?
 
1.  Karin Ho
 While most states provide notification information about current convictions, past conviction information is often considered public information. While most states may not provide past conviction information through their automated notification systems, it may be possible to obtain this information by contacting the appropriate agencys victim services office. Please know that laws vary on what may be shared about juvenile offenders and Id recommend you contact your states youth services agency to find out if past conviction information is available in your state. If the offender is incarcerated in an adult correctional facility, you could contact that agencys victim services section for past conviction information. If you are uncertain how to reach them, please feel free to contact the National Association of Victim Service Professionals in Corrections (NAVSPIC) at www.navspic.org for assistance.
 
 
In the early stages when one suspects she/he is being stalked, what are the most important steps to take to provide information to law enforcement?
 
1.  Trudy Gregorie
 Absolutely, contacting local law enforcement is the most important first step. Remember that stalking is a pattern course of conduct crime that has a number of criminal behaviors that constitute the stalking. Therefore, aspects of the stalking may occur in different police jurisdictions, that is, you may live in one jurisdiction, work in another jurisdiction, shop in another jurisdiction, and visit your family in another jurisdiction. Stalking behaviors that occur in any of these jurisdictions would need to be reported to that jurisdiction. Not all law enforcement agencies immediately share incident information with each other, so the victim needs to coordinate the provision of information about every stalking incident with the agency that has primary control of the initial stalking case. Keep a file with copies of every incident report. Keep a log of every incident in chronological order with as much detail as possible, and pictures of any property damage or items sent or left by the stalker. Keep tapes from the phone answering machine and any videos of the stalking behaviors as well. The more details the LE officers, and eventually, the prosecutor has available to them, the easier it will be for them to build a case against the stalker. In stalking cases, the victim is a vital part of the investigation and prosecution team. For personal safety, let the people you are close to know about the stalking activities and behaviors. I have worked with a number of stalking victims where having people close to them aware of what was going on in essence saved their lives. Find a victim professional in your area who is trained in safety planning and work with them to develop a safety plan for every part of your life, that is when you are home, when you are at work, when you are at school, when you are shopping, when you are at church, when you are at the gymvirtually every part of your life. Another safety tip is to begin to vary your patterns, that is, how you travel to work, the places you shop, the day and time you work out, etc. All of these tips are some of the most important steps to take in the early stages of a stalking situation. Be sure to check the web site for the National Stalking Resource Center which was provided in an earlier response for more information.
 
 
When one has done everything possible ro remain safe physically in a stalking situation, how can one feel safe psychologically?
 
1.  travis
 Travis yes, these can and generally are two (2) different factors experienced by victims of stalking, domestic violence, dating abuse and sexual assault. First, in this field, we refer to these services as statewide automated victim INFORMATION and NOTIFICATION (SAVIN)---because while all victims need (deserve) information, not all may want notification services. And second, please member that SAVIN services are not just AUTOMATED victim services. The Bureau of Justice Assistance has set standards and guidelines for SAVIN services nationally and these include the 247 accessibility to trained operators so victimssurvivors may connect and talk with competent and compassionate professionals (Victim Service Representatives). So when everything is in place with a victims safety plan, SAVIN services can help with his or her psychological sense of safety in many ways. Depending on the type of services available in a jurisdiction, victims may call or go on-line for information about their offender, their protective order or court case---247 without anyone knowing they were seeking this information. Without SAVIN services, many victims would call to sheriffs offices, court clerks offices, jails, and other service programs to find out information. Often, victims call over and over again to get the information they need; feel bad about making so many calls and are often sensitive to the frustration expressed by some officials. By accessing SAVIN information themselves, in the privacy of their homes, their sense of control and psychological safety can be enhanced.Further, victims may call and ask for assistance with registration, for referrals to emergency shelter services, etc. I remember hearing about a rape survivor who was registered for notification of her rapists release. Although she knew she had safety plans and wouldshould receive notification of his release or escape, she still could not sleep at night. One night, she called the trained VSR and asked how she could be sure he really was still incarcerated. The VSR kept her on the line and concurrently called the prison where he was incarcerated. The prison staff verified that he was indeed there---which was relayed to the survivor. She was able to sleep that night. She did not have to call every night thereafter, but she would occasionally call just for that peace of mind or psychological safety.The same scenario played out for a young child who witnessed a serious assault on his mother. The mothers boyfriend had been arrested. It was not just the assault, but the boyfriends threats (kill the child, mother and himself) that kept that child from sleeping or being awakened at night with nightmares. The mother called a VSR who would check and let the child know that the offender was still in jail. This reassurance brought relief to both the child and his mother.Of course, there are many other examples . . .
 
 
What is the best way to geta job helping victims? And what experiences have you had while working or learning about victims?
 
1.  travis
 Travis this is an exciting field of service with diverse opportunities in which to work. A good first step might be to identify and research the key stakeholders in your area (i.e., state, territory or tribal land). Check locally and at the state level. If you are in a position to do so, offering to volunteer for a period can help you really see if there is work in that organization or a partner agency while keeping an eye on job opportunities. You may find that the responsibilities and opportunities that interest you most are offered via an agency or field you otherwise may not have fully considered. Use the Internet to keep up with what is going on in the field. Attend public events and professional trainings, if possible, to pick up more field-specific knowledge, skills and networking opportunities. The volunteer work early in my career (over 30 years ago now) was most helpful to me in assessing the places I will go but probably more importantly, helping me to see how domestic violence, stalking and other forms of violence against women and children spills into other fields and that each of these has a role to responsibly identify, respond and prevent violence against women. I worked in juvenile court, federal prison, adultcommunity education, special education, . .. . the list goes on and these experiences provided me a strong, multi-disciplinary foundation to collaboratively work with phenomenal people across the country. Will probably have to write the book to describe those experiences that continue to motivate meus in this field, but over the years, I cherish when we have finished various projects, to hear victimssurvivors describe how those changes canhave impacted their lives to hear courageous, dedicated colleagues say they feel like this work stands out in their careers . . and to hear my son, now a US Marine, talking about being able to help friends who have been victimized and talk to other guys about appropriate v. inappropriate acts . . does my heart good. We can and do make a difference. . . . I hope you find that path. Oh, the places you will go! smile
 
2.  Karin Ho
 One of the best ways to get involved in victim advocacy is to volunteer for an agency working in an area that interests you. Many domestic violence shelters, rape crisis programs, prosecutor based victim advocacy programs and others offer training for volunteers and experience responding to cases. Volunteering can be invaluable in allowing you to learn from those doing the work and validate your interest in advocacy. In addition, you are proving your abiliites and can often walk away with strong references and possibly permanent employement in this area. I'd recommend looking into what services are available in your local community and talking to those advocates about possible volunteer opportuntiies...
 
 
What is the best way to protect a stalking victim within a community group such as a church? If the church is unwilling to uphold a protective order, is there any recourse for the victim? I have a victim whose Pastor seems more concerned with quietly counseling the stalker than protecting the victim from escalated stalking and harassment from the church members.
 
1.  travis
 Travis Certainly, there have been homicides of victims of faith by their stalkers who also profess to be persons of faith. And, there have been offenders who have been served by their faith leaders, but . . and until such time, a faith community can actively (and quietly) protect adult and child victims while making other arrangements for the offenders. A faith community may have concerns about protective orders since they are not legally responsible for enforcing the terms and conditions of those orders. However, pastors who have successfully worked with persons who were subject to court orders can be very effective in providing strategies to colleagues who are unsure of these situations and potential outcomes.Regarding the offenders: Pastors have been successful by referring offenders to certified perpetratorbatterer intervention programs (BIP) whose staff have the credentials and educational/therapeutic tools to effectively work with these offenders. Such a referral does not speak ill of the pastor or his/her capabilities. As with doctors, when they see persons who conditions are complex andor beyond their scope of expertise, they make referrals to competent providers. Pastors can also request updates on the offenders active participation, safety alerts, etc. They may also continue to counsel the offender about faith issues but let the BIP focus on the stalking/abusive behaviors. An offenders failure to comply may be that evidence a pastor needs to see this person has another agenda and it is not the safety, health or well-being of hisher significant other or family.Many pastors have also successfully supported victims withwithout protective orders. If the victim has a protective order that requires the respondent to stay away from the victim/petitioner, the pastor can advise the respondent that it is in everyones interest that she/he attend a different service or a different house of worship for the duration of the order. Trusted faith members can provide protective surveillance before, during and after services and other activities---each with cell phones and the ability to call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance. The victims with protective orders may figure it is in the pastors interest to be registered/notified about the offenders custody status andor court proceedings. This can provide the pastor with information for guiding hisher parishioners but also to alert the pastor about potential risks.When these strategies, whether presented by the victim, advocates, other pastors or through resources of the Faith Trust Institute (Seattle), then assist the victim with finding anothertemporary place of worship. A community training for faith leaders, using case scenario and alternative positive responses, can also be effective.
 
2.  Trudy Gregorie
 It seems that what has exacerbated this situation is that the stalker and the victim attend the same church, which is not an infrequent occurrence. This often happens in domestic violence cases as well, and is why the Office on Violence Against Women has funded the development of training curricula for ministers and the faith community on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In the situation you describe, I would suggest having the primary detective or law enforcement officer and the victims advocate to go together to talk to the pastor to explain the protective order and its ramifications. Ask the victim if there is another leader in the congregation who is more supportive of her position, perhaps a Sunday School teacher, or womens group leader who can provide support for her while she is at church and outside of church. Perhaps this individual would be willing to go with her to the pastor to provide more information about what is really going on in this situation. Certainly, you as the victim advocate need to ensure that the victim has thought through her safety plan for what she should do if the stalker does something while she is at church. These are very difficult situations, and it is extremely frustrating and emotionally and spiritually hurtful for the victim. But the protective order covers her while she is at church just as it does when she is anywhere else in the community.
 
 
Oregon has a system that allows victims to have access to information via text message and e-mail about the status of protective orders and when offenders have been released from prison in cases of domestic violence. Do you believe a system like this is efficient in the age of information? Are there other implications?
 
1.  Karin Ho
 This is a great question! Automated notification via text messages andor email are emerging in several states and can be a very effective tool in reaching victims. With the advances in AndroidSmart phones, etcour society is moving more and more in this direction. It would be very important that the information be shared in real time to help promote victim safety. In addition, if there is any concern about the confidentiality of the information or victim identity, I would recommend checking on your states laws related to confidentiality of emails. In many states, emails are considered public information, but may be protected in other instances.
 
 
Is there any resource or information for undocumented immigrants who are being stalked by another undocumented immigrants, permanent resident or USC?
 
1.  Karin Ho
 Great question! We would like to research this a little further and post information/referrals after today's WebForum. Thank you!
 
 
How can we do more to stop children from being victims of human trafficking-I believe they were stalked before being taken?
 
1.  Karin Ho
 I know there are some emerging services and resources in many local communities as well as nationally in the area of human trafficking and would like to research this a little further after today's WebForum and would like to make sure I give you the most accurate information possible. Please be sure to check back later for information.
 
 
How can we get law enforcement to enforce the protective orders when the stalker leaves the scene before they arrive, and what actions should be put in place by law enforcement to protect these victims?
 
1.  Janet K
 Stalking logs are a great tool for stalking victims. The NCVC website has a blank stalking log that is something all victims and advocates should become familiar with. It is not up to the victim to prove they are being stalked. Police complaints are required and then the police should investigate. Witnesses listed in the stalking log help a great deal with the police investigation.
 
 
Do you know what notification systems are available in Kansas?
 
1.  Karin Ho
 If you are looking for technology to possibly implement in a Sheriff's Office...there are a number of Sheriff's Offices that have such programs. There are a few vendors who could help...or if you have a strong IT staff, they could develop something in house. You could contact the National Sheriff's Assocation at www.nsa.org for further assistance. Tim Woods is the staff liaision to the Victims' Committee there and could be a great resource.
 
2.  Jessica Hall
 I am looking for a victim notification system that a sheriff's office can use to notify stalking victims when the suspect has been released from jail or has been served the protection order.
 
3.  Karin Ho
 Also, if you could like to call the Office of Victim Services within the Kansas Department of Corrections, their number is 1-866-404-6732
 
4.  Karin Ho
 While VINE specifically is not available in Kansas, victim notification is available through various agencies. If you are looking for assistance regarding an inmate under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Department of Corrections, their website is www.doc.ks.gov/victim-services to register for notification through their Office of Victim Services. For anyone looking for services available in other states, please contact the National Association of Victim Service Professionals in Corrections at www.navspic.org for further assistance.
 
 
1. How can we get Faith-Based Communities to be more involved in being educated and learning how to identify and help victims recover?2. World Vision notified me of plans for kids to be trafficked at the upcoming super bowl-what is the Federal Government (law enforcement and the FBI) doing to ensure this does not happen in Texas-Feb 5th,2011? I believe the community needs to be educated in advance-especially parents-dont you think?
 
1.  James
 I just want to respond here because I think the author makes a very important inquiry. Victims of all type of stalking are not understood sufficiently. People are not educated to exactly what trauma and abuse that the victim experienced. Some likely think that it is not too serious that someone or some group followed you around. They may not realize the fear, anger and fustration that one can experience when being stalked on a minute by minute basis. Education is the key for these faith-based organization, and unfortunately for law enforcement as well. As for the Super Bowl event, I believe I heard law enforcement was on to it and maybe limited the exploitation.
 
2.  travis
 yet another good question about involvement of the Faith Community. Certainly, as offenders devalue womenpartners and feel entitled to control and abuse them, the Faith Community should stand up to denounce those values as contrary to religious teachings, ethics principles, in addition to state and federal laws. The work of the Rev. Marie Fortune of the (now) Faith Trust Institute (Seattle, WA) has opened the eyes and ears of clergy across faiths and challenged them to challenge violence against women and children. The Faith Trust Institute serves as the heart of this aspect of the movement and as a clearinghouse of incredible resources to support clergy in these efforts. Their staff members are also available to assist in many ways.I am not familiar yet with World Vision and the issue you have identified about child trafficking. I will look into this matter and post a response in the coming days. This information/resource was found on the OVC Web Forum----On January 19, 2011, at 2 p.m. (eastern time), the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) will present a Web Forum discussion with Mollie Ring on best practices for serving child victims of sex trafficking. Ms. Ring is the Director of Anti-Trafficking Programs at the Standing Against Global Exploitation (SAGE) Project, a nonprofit organization working to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adults. She coordinates direct services for domestic minor and international victims of human trafficking and leads outreach, training, and public education efforts. She also oversees technical assistance initiatives for local, regional, and national partners. Prior to joining SAGE in 2008, Ms. Ring served as a consultant to the United Nations Childrens Funds Evaluation Office and the United Nations Development Program. Communities especially parents---do need to be educated about these issues, ways they can become more alert to possible risky situations and who to contact in case they know or suspect a problem, and how they can become active to prevent childhuman trafficking. I will include resource information for you in the response I post later this week.
 
 
I have booklets regarding safety planning, however, is there a class that is offered in putting a safety plan in action. I sometimes feel that I may do more harm than good in trying to protect someone without the proper instruction.
 
1.  Trudy Gregorie
 Your instincts are absolutely right in thinking that training is needed to provide assistance to any victim, especially stalking victims, in safety planning. The best training would be what is provided in your state or jurisdiction as some assistance is related to the services and justice processes in your state which may differ from other jurisdictions. Check with your state's domestic violence or sexual assault coalition and your local DV or sexual assault program to see when their next training on safety planning will be offered. Also check with your state's crime victim assistance academy to see if a course in victim safety planning is scheduled in the future. Booklets are a good start, but instruction by a trained professional with experience in safety planning where there are opportunities within the training to practice safety planning with a victim in different situations is invaluable.
 
 
What is the best way for a parent to help their child/teen who is being stalked by a fellow teen?
 
1.  Trudy Gregorie
 Stalking among teenagers is not an uncommon event, unfortunately. How it is dealt with in the juvenile justice system may differ than what would occur in the adult system. Certainly, a parent would want to access assistance from a local domestic violence program since most of these programs are trained in teen dating violence or stalking among teenagers as this has become a topic for research and training over the last several years. These local advocates can provide information and guidance on next steps, as well as assist with safety planning for your teenager. They also may have teenager support groups who meet to discuss the impact and personal consequences of being the target of such stalking behaviors. For more information, contact the StalkingResource Center (SRC), with the National Center for Victims of Crime. You may get this and other extremely valuable information via: Website: www.ncvc.org/src Email: src@ncvc.orgPhone: 202467-8700 or TTY 800211-7996. For information about danger or risk assessment in your teenager's situation, you can access the web site:www.dangerassessment.org
 
 
Do you have any information as to problems that other states have experienced when implementing or using the VINE system?
 
1.  Karin Ho
 While technology and automation is great, when and if it ever fails victim notification is not like a simple computer failure...lives can be directly impacted. Some states have experienced challenges from time to time and nationally we have all learned from eachother and built standards to help mininmize problems as much as possible. There is a SAVIN Advisory Board (Statewide Automated Victim Information Notification) that has established baseline standards as well as a crisis management model that you could use as a benchmark. I think it is imperative that all notification systems have a plan in place to respond to situations in the event their system fails. You would need a response to the technology issue as well as the human impact involved in each possible situation. Given concerns for possible problems and the importance of having crisis management plans in place...automated victim notification technology is still a very important tool that should be considered.
 
 
Are there any evaluations of victim notification programs to determine their effectiveness? I have had to deal with three situations to date where the victim was not notified and the perpetrator given a deal by the same jurisdiction the victim was residing in and had had the restraining order or permanent protection order filed in, to get out of jail and corrections supervision without notifying the victim, and in some cases with the intent to kill the victim, by making them and their families appear to be drug dealers , and the perpetrator had been in custody out of state and released on parole to another state, so the Victims Services program in that state was coopted. What can be done to prevent this sort of situation from occurring?
 
1.  Trudy Gregorie
 Unfortunately, there are no perfect systems anywhere in the justice system. Notification systems, just like any other system, need to be periodically evaluated and have ombudsman complaint processes in place to monitor effectiveness and operational integrity. The Standards and Guidelines for Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) systems contain measures for evaluation on a periodic basis for the operation of such systems, as well as recommendations for how these evaluations should be conducted. At present the National Institute of Justice (U.S. Department of Justice) is funding a three-year evaluation of the implementation and effectiveness of the SAVIN programs nationwide with the purpose of developing a promising practices toolkit to assist in the ongoing development and enhancement of victim notification programs. This project is evaluating the effectiveness of such systems on protecting crime victims and survivors, as well as the community at large and should provide at its conclusion, some of the information needed to make improvements where necessary so that the kinds of issues and events you describe will not re-occur.
 
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