Collaborative Educational Models Benefiting Victims and Providers
Linda Williams, Maureen Lowell  -  2012/10/9
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
What would be your #1 talking point to convince individuals/agencies on the importance of understanding and learning about victim rights and victim issues?
 
1.  Linda Williams
 I will confine this reply to the area in which we at UML are working with OVC—to integrate crime victims issues into the university and college curricula. I would argue that given the pervasiveness of crime, crime victims’ issues impact people in many of their social roles - as friends, family members, & community members and also as employers, coworkers & members of a variety of professions. So students will be assisted greatly by course content focused on learning about victims’ rights and victim issues.
 
2.  MLowell
 Victims of crime do not have one story, but they share the right to be heard, to be treated with respect, to be humanized and be connected with needed services, to have quick resolution and restitution so that they can resume their lives with resilience and hope. If we prepare our students with a foundation of victims’ rights, we will help influence policies overtime that are based on the human story and the right to live free from the potential trauma of their victimization that should not be exacerbated by the services intended to help. Our educational program at San Jose State is based on the premise that this education is best achieved when students learn in interdisciplinary, collaborative settings.
 
3.  MLowell
 It is critical that we embed in our education of all prospective allied professionals the awareness of the victim’s story and the human voice of experience that needs the institutions to stay responsive to the individual. Students are still compelled by the story and a desire to justice; many students have not yet been socialized by the institutions.
 
4.  MLowell
 This is not exactly a quick talking point, but from my perspective working with prospective victim service professionals in the University, I would say it is important to realize that institutions are built to sustain themselves. Institutions and systems such as Child Welfare, Criminal Justice, Mental Health, large social institutions designed to serve, become professionalized and bureaucratized. This creates conditions of de-individuation in which personnel play a role and follow procedures. Policies and procedures often dehumanize the individual served by the institution as they are seen as the object of service.
 
 
have any collaboration models been evaluated? any study's I can use when suggesting this.
 
1.  MLowell
 Assessment results suggest that students participating in the ICR program developed a generally high level of collaborative capacity, as measured across the four domains. Averaged scores in each of the four domains fell between Above Average (4) and Mastery (5) on the associated rubric across all program activities. As previously found in the ICR program - Phase I evaluation, there were no significant differences in performance between undergraduate and graduate students for any of the Program Learning Objectives.
 
2.  MLowell
 Our project was developed and implemented at the same time, so what we have to date is an independent program evaluation. This would certainly not meet the threshold of a study; however, I can share with you these early findings. The primary outcome for students who participate in and successfully complete the ICR program is the development of collaborative capacity to improve response to family violence. The collaborative capacity of students was operationalized through the assessment of four domains including knowledge, analysis of collaborative capacities, application/skills, and increased awareness. The activities evaluated included workshop participation, interdisciplinary discussion groups, community-based projects and internship evaluations.
 
3.  Linda Williams
 Our approach is based on the premise that by adding a victim issues component to existing courses and programs, developing new victim oriented courses and programs, and increasing the availability of victim oriented field placements, victim issues will obtain a new level of prominence in university and college curricula. But this will need further evaluation.
 
 
what are the key strategies of this collaborative model?
 
1.  MLowell
 The strategies for our project were to develop a classroom based educational program that we instituted through an interdisciplinary course in Collaborative Response to Family Violence. Students are required to take this foundational course. This class-based learning is extended through interdisciplinary discussion groups, collaborative internships in services related to response to family violence and community-based projects. Projects are encouraged to be completed through interdisciplinary teams. Our students primarily come from our Justice Studies Department, Social Work, Health Sciences and Nursing. We continue to work with faculty and community partners to expand learning opportunities and collaborative service networks.
 
 
how can we transition and add a collaborative model into our existing victim service program?
 
1.  MLowell
 In general, adding collaboration to victim services means calling partner agencies together and creating a common vision for improved services. From there, you develop steps that begin to recognize that working together creates better, more sustainable outcomes than working alone.
 
2.  MLowell
 I strongly agree with Linda. I think developing partnerships between Universities and community-based services is a wonderful opportunity to increase learning opportunities for students; to provide faculty with meaningful scholarship and research opportunities; and improve our service delivery through evaluation and research findings.
 
3.  Linda Williams
 Williams, L.M. (2004). Researcher-advocate collaborations to end violence against women: Toward liberating methodologies for action research. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 19 (11): 1350-1357.
 
4.  Linda Williams
 I also think that those in the field can assist faculty in their role in teaching about victimization issues by supporting their efforts to be sensitive in the ways they frame potentially difficult material. For example we have developed some faculty guidelines for responding to victimization issues in the classroom, but faculty need the support and assistance of victim service providers in responding to reactions students have to difficult material and in responding to disclosures both inside and outside the classroom. Now we “simply” need to get faculty to recognize they need this assistance and find ways to bring service providers and faculty together (in places where this is not already happening).
 
5.  Linda Williams
 One other area in which building collaborative models is critical--- that is in collaboration on research on victim issues. Clearly collaboration can improve the quality of both practice and research and can help create theory grounded in social experience. It has long been suggested that researchers take steps to insure the active involvement of advocates, practitioners and survivors in the research especially in formulating questions, determining the research design and participating in discussion and dissemination of findings. So faculty need to teach (and model) student-practitioner collaborations.
 
 
do we have to have money or a grant to work with a local university? how do we go about collaborating on a program.
 
1.  Linda Williams
 Yes, Maureen is correct, money always helps. And (what little there is)needs to be made available to all the partners to make sure the collaborations work best.
 
2.  MLowell
 That said, money always helps with quality and developing sustainable partnerships :)
 
3.  Linda Williams
 Good point. It does take time to make this happen.. and to find a receptive audience. We are preparing materials that may be useful to take to faculty and eventually (under OVC auspices) there will be a website with all these materials. For more information or to be added to our mailing list for notification of the availability of new materials, please email vic_ovc@uml.edu To download materials currently available, especially our faculty guidelines please visit http://www.uml.edu/vic
 
4.  MLowell
 Grants and funding allow you to engage a faculty member as an investigator on the project. Essentially a project needs to buy the teaching time of the professor/researcher. That said, building the educational program as a collaborative with the University allows you to engage the resources of the University. Specifically, most applied professions require internships. Most post-bacc programs require research by students. If you include the University in your victim-service collaboration, you may find that students can help while meeting degree requirements.
 
5.  MLowell
 Grants and funding allow you to engage a faculty member as an investigator on the project. Essentially a project needs to buy the teaching time of the professor/researcher. That said, building the educational program as a collaborative with the University allows you to engage the resources of the University. Specifically, most applied professions require internships. Most post-bacc programs require research by students. If you include the University in your victim-service collaboration, you may find that students can help while meeting degree requirements. That said, money always helps with quality and developing sustainable partnerships .
 
6.  Mike
 It has not been my experience in the past that it took money or a grant to collaborate with a college. We have partnered with college programs that have been looking to place students in agencies for internships and it has proven to be beneficial for both the students and our program.
 
 
I was wondering if there are plans to create any collabortive educational models for victims of economic crimes such as fraud? If so can we help in any way?
 
1.  MLowell
 San Jose State's program does not have any plans to expand the Collaborative Response for Victims of Family Violence educational program to this problem area. However, our educational model of classroom learning, community-based projects and internships may apply. The classroom learning introduces core concepts of collaboration through case studies in family violence. The internships reflect systems and services that respond to family violence and community projects are based on identified gaps. You may be able to use the premise and apply the issue.
 
2.  Linda Williams
 This is a great idea. It would be helpful for Victim advocates, State Victim Assistance Academy members, and other professionals who work in the victim services field to connect with faculty who teach related courses in a wide variety of disciplines and share materials on the impact of economic fraud. I could see the advantages of incorporating these materials in courses on organizational behavior, ethics and management. Leaders in these colleges are interested in these areas. But partnerships need further development.
 
 
What are some examples of collaborative educational models for benefiting victims and providers?
 
1.  Melissa Riley
 I believe that service learning models would be beneficial to victims and providers. It is crucial that future providers/teachers, etc., understand the dynamics of victim services and the needs of victims/families/communities.
 
2.  MLowell
 The desired outcome was to provide this interdisciplinary education for students as they prepared for their respective careers so that they could graduate with a perspective of collaborative response to social issues, rather than a silo’d professional role in that response. The corresponding goals of the project were to build collaborative capacity in the community through development of partnership networks and to provide training to allied professionals to enhance educational opportunities for students. The intent was to create mutual benefit for students and community partners while enhancing interdisciplinary collaboration in services for victims of family violence. Ultimately the intended outcome was to improve services for victims and survivors of family violence.
 
3.  MLowell
 The Institute for Collaborative Response for Victims of Family Violence (ICR) was established through a project funded through the Office for Victims of Crime beginning in 2009. The goal was to develop a new model of collaborative education and training in a university setting that would provide an educational foundation for students to work collaboratively across disciplines to provide a more effective response for victims of family violence. The primary mission of the project was to prepare students to work professionally across disciplines to effectively and sensitively address issues related to family violence across the spectrum of services.
 
4.  Linda Williams
 Maureen Lowell added some information in response to an earlier question that indicates benefits they found with their model designed to teach students to respond more effectively to family violence using interdisciplinary collaboration. Now we need to expand this to efforts to develop educational models that will broaden the learning opportunities (bridging classroom education with field experience) in other areas related to crime victims… this might include work with family members of homicide victims, victims of identity theft, victims with disabilities, victims of property crimes as well as of violent crimes.
 
 
What suggestions would you have to reinvigorate the self sustaining institutions who are concerned more with functioning within budget constraints than holding criminals accountable and being responsive to the plight of victims?
 
1.  MLowell
 I know it sounds idealized when you face the wall directly, but if you step back, we can find ways around the barriers that constrain us. That is the value of education and why it is critical that we embed these transformational models in our educational institutions.
 
2.  MLowell
 Ray, K. (2002). The Nimble Collaboration: Fine-Tuning Your Collaboration for Lasting Success. New York: Fieldstone Alliance
 
3.  MLowell
 I believe that true collaboration offers the best solutions. What I mean by true collaboration is coming together with a common vision for change and recognizing that the “institutions” and agencies and services that we represent a part of a greater whole. A quote about collaboration that I love comes from Karen Ray, who says collaboration, “is a commitment to the mutual institutional renewal that embeds the results for lasting success. Entering a collaboration means preparing to change one’s organization. “ (Ray, p. 108) We can’t enter true collaboration and expect to stay the same.
 
4.  MLowell
 I get it. I hear the concern both from the post as well as from Linda’s reply, but I guess I am still hopeful. We have to stay committed to the vision. I strongly believe that people care and it is people that make up these institutions. We have to not be afraid to name the oppression and seek solutions. (cont)
 
5.  Linda Williams
 I know this might sound like a bit of a stretch and something that will take a long time to percolate through to the agencies, but it is critical that we get those in training for positions in these agencies to understand more about crime victims and the impact of victimization. In our colleges and universities those of us who already focus on victim issues find it a bit astounding that even courses that one would think would have a component, if not a focus, on victims sometimes barely even mention victims or victimization. This needs to change.
 
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