NCVRW Awareness Campaign
Anne Seymour  -  2006/2/8
Anne, what are your suggestions on how to get more media attention to the events that are held during Victims' Rights Week. This would be valuable to those victims that are not aware of the events.
1.  Martha
 You could be a guest on your local morning news show to let the audience know of Crime Victims Week and your upcoming activitiesevents. Most communities have a local cable channel that runs PSAs, usually for free! What about doing a spot on a radio talk show? And, you could submit articles in local newspapers. Who on your boardstaffvolunteerdonor base has media connections?
2.  Anne Seymour
 Hi Pat, as noted earlier, good media relationships are essential. ALSO I strongly suggest the power of the personal story of actual victims and survivors, who are in the best position to discuss victims' needs, and how strength in unity can make a huge difference in victim assistance AND overall community safety. We need to frame our issues as a community and not just individual problem.
What do you suggest for the Northern Virginia Coalition of Victim Service Providers: How to we publicize our NCWRW activities more effectively?
1.  Anne Seymour
 For ANY communities, I suggest that you begin by building a good media list (both print and electronic). Read and listen and watch the news, and send emails or notes to journalists whose work you admire. Cultivate relationships early! ALSO utilize outreach through allied community groups, neighborhood assns, etc. Crime is a problem that affects EVERYONE!
From your perspective, are there specific messages to communicate and goals and objectives that service providers should have for this national week of recognition? What do you think is the most important thing to communicate to the public during NCVRW - not just this year, but every year? Why do are themes an important part of NCVRW? Thank you, in advance, for your insight.
1.  Anne Seymour
 May I ALSO add - our theme Victims' Rights: Strength in Unity is really helpful to conduct outreach to allied groups, such as multifaith communities, businesses, civic organizations, etc. The history of our field began with victims coming together, then service providers, and the domino effect up until today has been pretty amazing.
2.  Anne Seymour
 Great question, Victoria! My theory is everyone IS or KNOWS a victim or survivor of crime. ALL my efforts take it from this angle - personalizing our messages so that folks get it's NOT someone else but likely someone I know.
I am in complete support of all assistance given to victims of crimes. Do you work with other groups to help "restore" the community in which the crimes occur?
1.  Anne Seymour
 Indeed. I don't think we can address crime issues without addressing its impact on communities and neighborhoods. In so many ways, victim assistance is crime prevention and awareness because when victims participate in justice processes, we are more likely to bring criminals to justice. ALSO there are SO many unserved and underserved communities. OVC just today released an RFP that offers up to seven grants, up to $50K each, specifically for public awareness projects in underserved communities. DO visit for the RFP and more info! Thanks for a great question!
I want to comment on the 2006 NCVRW packet. I love the "VR: Strength in Unity" theme since we had to learn in 2005 to fight with one voice for the VOCA Fund. These materials are like gold to BUSY and overworked victim advocates. The print ready art work and small posters are great. Do you think Victim Right Week is enough? Shouldn't the observance get a month like so many other mportant issues in our nation?
1.  Angela D
 I think that is a great suggestion. I was really excited to go into a school and discuss the first ever Teen Dating Violence Week this week, maybe a month for crime victims isn't so far away!
2.  Anne Seymour
 Hi Girlfriend! Ironically, there HAVE been national discussions about expanding the week to a full month. It would sure take pressure off of all of us, having to cram oodles of PR activites into seven short days. I would suggest that folks consider this, and let OVC know how you feel.
Our community has limited funding (i.e. $0) to create events for Crime Victims' Week. Do you have any suggestions on low-cost, free events that would be compelling for the community to attend? Thank you.
1.  Jo Winston
 I would also suggest that you contact your state Dept of Corrections. DOC in WI has inmates put together commemorative ribbons, print the bookmarks, make posters, and donate handmade craft items for auction and fundraising events. We send items out all over the state free of charge. You might be able to tap into a similar resource in your state. Also, corrections employees have been great about donating time and money to these types of events!
2.  mara dougherty
 As co-chair of our County Victim Advisory Committee we host a Victims' Candlelight Tribute every year which includes a Tribute to Law Enforcement (who may also be victims of crime)our church community have hosted the event without charge and we invite local dignataries, singers, pipers and victim speakers who all participate without charge..each year it grows and is very successful..crime victims feel the strength in the recognition and unity of our community
3.  Marti Anderson
 One year, we had the county lower the flag in front of the courthouse as names of homicide victims were read. We invited survivors, police, prosecutors, judges, etc. and had a fair number of passer-bys show up as well as the press.
4.  Anne Seymour
 Great question, because I don't believe I have EVER in 20+ years come across a VSP that has the funding it needs! I would join together with other groups to do something with major impact, such as an event on the courthouse steps. In the past, folks have held vigils, planted a tree or garden, etc. - events that are highly visual, which helps with the news media. ALSO if you get a number of groups chip in a small amount, like $25 each, that becomes your budget. Hopefully, ALL the resources in the NCVRW Resource Guide can help you with nametags, visuals, etc. Our hope is to make your jobs easier, reduce replication of efforts, AND save money so we can use it to help victims!
5.  Liz Reed
 Hi J:If you are looking for money, you may wish to investigate foundation grants. That is what we are doing to make up for our shortfall. You would be amazed on how many corporations have foundations. Burger King has a foundation. Also, if you have a Community Foundation in your area, you may wish to contact them as well.
This is my first year as my local law enforcement's Crime Victim Liaison and was wondering what some of the activities were that I should try to plan during Crime Victim Awareness week.
1.  L Wells
 The roll call idea is very, very interesting to me as a victim advocate working outside law enforcement. Maybe you can invite community based advocates to help planpresent?
2.  Anne Seymour
 I would start within your agency, and utilize materials from the Resource Guide to develop a publicvictim awareness display in your lobby. Next, consider making EVERY roll call training during NCVRW about some victim issue - seven days, seven types of victim response, etc. Finally, the strength in unity theme really means you should find out what OTHERS in your community are doing - system and community-based victim assistance folks - and join their efforts, hopefully in at least one very public venue, such as a candlelight vigil or luncheon. Make sure you involve victims and survivors - it is ALL about them! Good luck!
Hi Anne! We struggle with getting people to come to the event any suggestions about how to reach out to grab peoples interest in victim rights? What about funding sources to help host local events during crime victim rights week?
1.  Anne Seymour
 Good to hear from you, Sharon! I would make sure ALL justice leaders (LE, prosecutors, courts, corrections) are engaged and involved. If you have a lunchtime event or right after work, you are more likely to increase attendance, and hopefully they'd encourage their staff to come. In DC this year, we are doing extensive outreach to multifaith communities; neighborhood associations; community policing regions, etc. PLUS a big media push the highlights crime as a problem that affects us ALL - strength in unity.You could also seek support from businesses and civic organizations. Try a challenge gig where some generous soul gives you $100 and challenges others to match it, for victims and survivors. ALSO again use the Resource Guide to do things on the cheap. All of ya'll are very experienced and good at frugality - it's a core tenet of victim advocacy! Glad you wrote in, xoxox to all in VT!
I got a copy of the Resource Guide... it's really fantastic, but there's so much great stuff in there, I don't know where to start. What do you suggest?
1.  Peggy
 David,I found the easiest way to start with all of it is to read everything. Start w the letter. Then go back through and highlight anything you think might be possible. Then go back through and think of time, money, and volunteers- how much can you really do. Highlight in different color or underline,circle, etc. then do it.
I am working with a faculty meeting and was just told that their peer mediation group wants to do something the week of victims rights week. Any thoughts for high school and community program partnership?
1.  Angela D
 Some great ideas-I believe in the past they had a poster contest with one of the schools. It was refreshing to hear this coming from the students.
2.  Anne Seymour
 Angela, over the years, I have participated in many NCVRW activities involving schools, peer groups and teen courts. Some have worked with musicdrama departments at schools to put on plays and presentations about victim issues affecting youth, i.e. acquaintance rape, bullying, domestic violence, etc. I LOVE the idea of combining arts with education (and so do school administrators and teachers). ALSO join with your PTA, they are a faboo resource for engaging parents and community leaders.Since it involves kids, food and sodas are always a good idea as well!
I was wondering if there were any new, innovative activities that communities have had great success with. We traditionally put on a candle light vigil with speakers but have been brainstorming other possible effective events and activities to hold during this week. Anyone with suggestions, please reply. Thanks, Lori
1.  Michele
 Lori, my organization does an event called Family Gathering, where the victims families (whom we have helped) come together to gain emotional support from people in similar circumstances to theirs. The specifics our event were covered in an articles this past November in the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http:www.twincities.commldtwincitiesnews13469512.htm). The reception for this event has been warm and people seem to appreciate it quite a bit. This will be our 8th year doing this event.
2.  Martha
 We will be co-hosting our 14th Annual Crime Victims Breakfast this year. Although we invite victims of crime, mostly it is attended by other agencies involved in crime victim rights. And we have one guest speaker who is comfortable to speak of their victimization. As we are very close to New Orleans, our guest speaker this year is a sexual assault victim who was victimized in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
3.  Anne Seymour
 Lori and I, let me point you again to the Resource Guide, specifically the section that highlights what folks who received the small public awareness funds from OVC did with their money. Let me assure you, a huge bang for their buck! If you check out this year's and last year's Guides, in this section, I believe there are well over 50 innovative ideas, most done on a shoestring budget.And in the Fall, keep an eyeear open for when OVC publicizes its small awareness funds that are available, on a competitive basis, to communities to promote NCVRW. A little money goes a long way to support your efforts!
4.  Liz Reed
 HI Lori:Last year, we did a day long event with federal agents on ID Theft, Fraud, Scams and Cybercrimes, with our seniors. It was a great success.Liz
How would you suggest to get our message out there in rural small communities?
1.  Anne Seymour
 From my experience, working with different faith communities is a good place to start. Getting Sunday bulletins to include a message on victim issues. Getting faith leaders to preach about victim issues in their sermon. ALSO in small towns, you can easily make lots of copies of the small public service posters from the Resource Guide, and post them around town after you personalize with your contact information.If you have survivors who are willing and able to speak out, newspapers and radio stations in rural areas often appreciate the opp to highlight a personal story. And try to get a PSA on the daily farm reports - seriously, alot of folks listen to them!ALSO work with schools and, likewise, with parents of kids. If you can get PTA or school buyin, it is golden!Thanks for a good question...
In your opinion, what type of events or workshops work best in teaching juvenile offenders more about victims' rights?
1.  Anne Seymour
 I have learned that younger folks have a very short attention span. So you need to have gigs that grab their attention, interact with them (instead of lecturing, I am old but that is how I prefer to learn). Use visuals and music and videos, all short and compelling. Again, with kids, candy and drinks always make them happy.When I talk to younger folks, it's pretty easy to hook them on victimization being of concern, because so many of them get it. You can also start with issues like stealing property and bullying and underage drinking - issues that are unfortunately universal in many schools.ALSO schools have student groups that can help out - service orgs, choral groups, jocks, etc. Find an angle for each, and get them engaged. Kids tend to listen to each other before they will their elders!Great question, thanks much!
I would like to host a crime victims awarness program at the prison where I work.I would appreciate suggestions on what you think would be imporant for the inmates to know about crime victims.
1.  aouttodie
 Awareness of how the crime impacts the victims life. If this was the criminals sister or mom, would he see the victim differently? Would he still commit the crime?
2.  Anne Seymour
 Robi, Departments of Corrections across the nation are among the most advanced in promoting NCVRW behind walls and in probation and parole. Lots of folks use OVC videos, such as Help, Hope and Healing and Victim Impact: Listen and Learn to help offenders understand the devastating impact of crime on victims -- emotionally, financially, spiritually and physically. ALSO the need for offender accountability is essential! So many of them feel victimized because of early abuse, or bad families, or simply by the fact they are in prison. They need to recognize the harm they cause victims and communities. And to recognize that they CAN change their behavior, and become non-violent. Also many VSPs use folks with community service obligations to help with NCVRW. For example, for the last couple of years, fairfax County (VA) probationers attached 1000 ribbons to pin cards. In WV, they have made baby blankets for shelters, and inmates raise funds for local VSPs. In AZ, inmates have built victim memorials at numerous courthouses.Visit our web site,, for ideas on how community service can help with NCVRW.SO glad you are doing this.
Do you know of any foundations that will help fund our events? This year, we are targeting youth with our Youth Violence Prevention Program. Our problem is funding. We received $303 from the state as we could not receive funds from the DOJ as we were awarded a grant last year.Also, do you know of wonderful public spakers who could deliver the youth violence prevention message to our community?Thanks.
1.  Anne Seymour
 I utilize the web site of The FOundation Center alot to ID foundations and corporate donors in specific jurisdictions. Often, though, funds come from someone you know who knows someone else. Send an email pitch out to all your colleagues, families and friends, tell them what you are trying to do, and ask if anyone has leads.Often civic organizations provide small amounts of funding (Rotary, Junior Leagues, Lions (and tigers and Bears!), etc. Find out who YOU know who knows someone in a civic organization. Better yet, JOIN yourself - great networking and educational opportunities.
What role do you see local police departments playing in the NCVRW awareness program?
1.  Anne Seymour
 I think EVERY justice agency could AND should be involved in all NCVRW-related activities. Police can provide fabulous color guards for events. Turn out uniformed officers, which always adds a nice touch. Sponsor roll call trainings on victim issues. have the chief write an oped column for the local newspaper, or do a radiotv interview with a local advocate. the possibilities are endless!
Greetings, I am a police officer in Iowa City, Iowa. What are your thoughts pertaining to citizen volunteers becoming active within the community and partnering with law enforcment? If so, what roles for citizens and groups would best benefit the community in your opinion?
1.  Dawn
 I am a Victims Assistance Unit Coordinator in the Topeka Police Departmenent and must use citizen volunteers per my grant. It is great, if you get the right people. We also use VIPS for community patrol. You should contact our volunteer coordinator and she could enlighten you with some information on both volunteer programs. Our contact information is at http:www.topeka.orgpolicedepartmentindex.shtml
2.  Beth
 Hi, I'm an advocate in Tucson, AZ and we have a volunteer program that I think is outstanding. It's been around since 1975 and is still going strong. this is the website so take a look and feel free to contact me if you'd like more info...i'm sure Anne has some other suggestions to...beth
Our crime rate has been in the media several times lately so the community is focused, but nothing has been said about the victims. Victims Right's week would be a great time...any best practices by other programs?
1.  Anne Seymour
 Hi Julie, so sorry about a higher crime rate. My advice: PERSONALIZE it with actual victims speaking about how crime affects them, as well as the community. When one woman is raped, all women live in fear. When one person is murdered, it affects all of our quality of life.Link to neighborhood watch groups and community policing associations, as they are always fabulous partners. Again, Strength Through Unity is a wonderful theme in a community like yours.AND talk radio! One of the best venues. Plan now with contacts to radio public service and news directors (the Resource Guide can guide you to developing a list pretty easily).Good luck!
Thanks for the excellent OVC Resource Guide. It is loaded with goodies! Some events can be planned using free resources (like media). Any ideas about sources of funding for printing and other activities that may require $?
1.  Anne Seymour
 I would pitch the concept to civic organizations and small businesses, and stress the positive impact on the community in promoting victims' rights and ultimately community safety. And next year, make sure you apply for the NCVRW public awareness funds available from OVC - should be published in the Fall at
What is your suggestion/idea to not only get our message out to the community but have people respond and get involved. We are located in Eastern Oregon and a very rural farming community.
1.  anne seymour
 I would start with multi-faith communities and schools, as most folks are connected to either. Have simple messages, and include one thing you can do. Rather than asking folks to do a whole bunch of things. ALSO folks are likely to get involved when somebody they know personally asks them. So consider how to get that chain going from your friends and family and colleagues now. Good luck!
Anne, Do you have any suggestions for how a state agency might pick an activity to coordinate uniformly among county victim/witness programs? some counties do their own activities locally, some do nothing and some join other local programs. Any thoughts about how we might promote some activity uniformly with programs statewide?
1.  Anne Seymour
 Yes indeed. Coordinated planning could help promote ONE type of theme event, held on the same day at the same time, i.e., an evening vigil, or noontime event on the courthouse steps. It would make statewide publicity easier; reflect the strength in unity theme, and show the entire state that we work together and serve victims together. Make sure you involve victims and survivors as speakers, they are essential. And consider something in your state legislature - in VT a few years back, they left great info on the chair of each state rep during the week, with great feedback. Good luck!
How can I get my hands on one of these packets?
1.  Anne Seymour
 Contact, under publications then 2006 NCVRW Resource Guide. There is a small fee for service. A e-version is also available from OVC at
How do you get started with a victim's rights week event. My county does not currently hold an event. What types of events do people like to attend? What are the main objectives of the event? Who is the target audience? I need lots of basic info. Thank you for your guidance.
1.  Anne Seymour
 I hope you received a Resource Guide from OVC, because it's chock full of good ideas to get you going. I truly believe our target audience is the entire community, as so many folks are impacted by crime. The Guide features a mission and vision statement for NCVRW in general which may be helpful to you. It is to make sure that all victims and community members are aware of victims' rights and services.For those of you who did not receive a Resource Guide and Theme Poster, you can visit to order. There is a small fee for service; the poster is $12.15 and the Resource Guide is $5.00. If you did NOT receive a Resource Guide this year, DO email me at Justice Solutions is compiling a list for OVC so that we have wider dissemination next year.Justice Solutions has a weekly listserv that emanated from the OVC National Victim Assistance Academy. Every weekend, we send out information that is useful to victimssurvivors and those who serve them, with links to some great resources for the field (many addressing key public awareness issues). We encourage you to join, and its easy. Simply send a BLANK email to: That way, we can ALL keep in touch on public awareness and other key issues affecting our field!
I work in a juvenile correctional institution and each year we commemorate NCVRW by bringing in speakers, doing various community service projects, crime clock activities, etc. Do you have any new and innovative activities I can do with the youth, keeping in mind we have limited resources to work with?
1.  anne seymour
 Hi Becky. OVC is sponsoring a new Victim Awareness Curriculum for Offenders through the CA Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. While it won't be done until later this year, we are developing curriculum resources that are cognitively appropriate, interactive and engaging to younger folks. Join my MMM listserv, and you'll be kept posted of these and other resources.
Do you think a brown bag lunch with the DA or CA is an event that would draw media and/or community attention relevant to Crime Victims' week?
1.  Anne Seymour
 Usually, such lunches are more for educational purposes. But if you have a good agenda, and your DA is willing to speak out on behalf of victims, invite the media for sure! And feed THEM as well!
Do you think it is a good idea to have both victims and offenders speak together, as on a panel?
1.  aouttodie
 How would a victim go about setting up the panel?
2.  Anne Seymour
 Good question, Harriet. Depends upon the victims, and the offenders. Victim safety and comfort is paramount. ALSO to have a lot of structure to the goals and objectives. I have seen it work in the past, and have also had to step in and do a save because a victim got very traumatized. With careful planning, safety considerations and the right participants, it could work. But it takes great care to make it successful!If it works, it can be helpful because a victim could be very validated by an offender who accepts responsibility and shows remorse. If you can find one!Thank u for a great question!
Anne, this is my first time participating in coordinating a victims rights activity. I would like to invovle as many organizations as possible. Do you have any suggestions on what organizations to involve that might be "outside" the box.
1.  Anne Seymour
 Excellent question, Crystal. Begin with allied victim service organizations, law enforcement and justice folks. Then think about ALL who help victims - schools, mental health, medical, multifaith communities, etc. The list is endless. It ALSO helps to tailor specific messages to their constituencies, personalizing them to address their concerns and fully engage them. Again, I believe almost ALL folks are affected in ways large and small by crime. It's up to us to educate them about how they can get involved to make a difference, AND to help victims recover in the aftermath of crime. Strength in Unity!
Hi Anne, I just wanted to thank you for the great materials. We are creating a bookmark and a payroll stuffer. Since it is my first year as a community education coordinator, I find it hard to limit the outreach based on budget criteria when there are so many good things to do. What do you suggest.
How do you attract positive community attention to a organization that has previously been in dispair and is trying to rebuild?
1.  Sara
 I would love to email you and get some more insight on this issue, Ms. Seymore what is your email address or how can I get reach you?
2.  Michele Longe
 The organization that I work for has been in similar circumstances during the past 4 years. We are continuing to try to attract community attention with our revised and more focused mission-based work and are exploring the possibility of changing our name. Fortunately, we have credibility in the metro area, which helps, but providing outreach to more rural communities has presented to be a challenge, as they seem to have greater difficulty accepting the shift in our organization. We were in a horrible spiral last year as a result of a political campaign led by the founder (who was already retired from our organization) of our organization. If you would like more specific information on how we were able to rebound back from damage control mode into strong programs and services, please don't hesitate to email me at
3.  Anne Seymour
 A challenge, to be sure. Admit past mistakes. Focus on rising like a phoenix from the ashes to once again provide quality victim assistance. Seek and publicize testimonials from victims who you have helped, and community leaders who are willing to give you a second chance. Geez, when you consider all the fallen folks who have done redemption tours and bounced back - that is good inspiration! Email me for further tips, that is a challenge!
A media suggestion: Oprah. I also recommend her to be at least nominated for the Ronald Reagan award: she has taken such an active role in using the nation to apprehend predators. Are nominations still open?
1.  Anne Seymour
 Not for this year, but DO consider this for 2007 NCVRW. Then you will get to go on Oprah and make us all so very proud!
2.  Anne Seymour
 Hi Diane. Nominations are not open for this year, but go for it in 2007! Then she will invite YOU to be on her show and you will make us ALL proud! U go girl (as O would say!).
Anne, Other than the usual issuing invitations to politicians to invite them to attend NCVRW events, have you encountered any other strategies that are helpful in getting elected officials to attend these events? Thank you!
1.  Anne Seymour
 Indeed. Get five of the official's constituents to call, write or email, stressing the importance to himher and those heshe serves. Provide crime stats for the district or jurisdiction. Make it relevant to the person. AND get on the schedule early (like right now), as they are busy people. Good luck!
2.  Liz Reed
 As my day job is working for a legislator, I would say it is best to send the invite out ASAP. This will get the event on hisher calendar. However, there is no guarantee that they will be able to attend. It depends on their schedule in D.C. or in the state. However, one of their staffer may attend in their stead.
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