Rural Victimization Assistance
Jeannette Adkins  -  2006/8/31
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
How would you recommend building a team to benefit victims with groups and individuals who have historically despised each other?
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Angela, this is probably the single greatest challenge to providing direct services to those victimized by crime that we face in this profession. Although our goal is a common one: to provide support and advocacy services to crime victims, there are philosophical differences as well as the proverbial turf issues that exist between the major providers in this field. Community-based advocates often disagree that system-based advocates can be true advocates for those whom they serve and system-based advocates at times believe that their community-based counterparts encourage surviors to not cooperate with the system. I am a firm believer that we all have a significant role to play in our delivery of services and if we keep the survivors or those victimized by crime at the forefront of our mission and purpose, then it will be easier for the rest to fall into place.I believe that team building first starts by example; be the catalyst in your community to bring everyone around the table to discuss a collaborative effort to improve rights and services for those that we serve. Recognize and respect the work of each player around the table and include everyone in strategies to best work together in our service delivery. And you must take the higher road as you build this team by showing respect, meeting your opponent halfway and listen to their concerns. In return, you must ask them to listen to yours. Find the middle road where you can meet and agree to provide the best collaborative services possible for those victimized by crime in your jurisdiction. As a former prosecutor-based victim assistance program director, I invited all of the service providers in my county to monthly brown bag lunch discussions. I asked each of the other programs to take a turn hosting us and to highlight their programs when we met. We shared information about our respective programs and services and all learned something new about each other. Our relationships improved resulting in better cooperation in our service delivery. Lead by example! :0)
 
 
I have recently accepted the Victim Advocate position in the organization I work for, and would like your suggestion conserning the best training to prepare me in the advocate role.
 
1.  Adkins
 If your state has a state victim assistance academy (SVAA), I would encourage you to seek permission to attend this basic 40-hour training course that will provide you with the foundation you need to begin providing services. If your state does not have a SVAA, which you can determine by visiting this OVCs web site link: http:www.ovc.govassistwelcome.html, you can also find out if there are other volunteer or staff training programs in your area which you might be able to attend. OVC plans to launch a Victim Assistance Training Online (VAT-Online) very soon, which will provide a 40-hour basic training course for new victim advocates.
 
 
In Colorado, many rural programs are concerned about the impact of credentialling on programs with only 1-2 staff. While we are in favor of quality training for staff, the direct and indirect costs of attending trainings (often a 12-hour round trip in our large state just for travel) and leaving agencies in the hands of volunteers will be significant. What is essential in a credentialling program to ensure it's not overly burdensome on rural victim assistance?
 
1.  Adkins
 Your concerns in Colorado are not unique to your state; the impact of credentialing on smaller agencies in other states with credentialing programs was a concern also. However, there are economical options available for training that have proven to eliminate these fears in other states whove implemented credentialing programs. For example, join resources with other programs to offer 40 hour training programs for staff and volunteers by sharing experienced trainers. Make use of any training provided by your state network or other resources (VOCA, State Victim Assistance Academies or other pre-approved programs for basic victim advocacy training). OVC will soon launch Victim Assistance Training Online (VAT Online), which will offer a free 40-hour basic training for victim advocates. New advocates and volunteers can be trained without ever having to leave the office, and will be able to come and go (start, stop and start again) from the training segments. If we all share the ideal of only trained staff and volunteers providing intervention, support and advocacy services for those victimized by crime, then we will use whatever creative resources we have available to make it happen whether or not a credential is available in connection with the training. As far as ongoing or continuing education, there is no mandate that this come from expensive seminars or conferences. Continuing education can also be obtained online and if internet resources are limited, then an exchange of experienced advocates within your state to provide staff inservice training is another option. You go to a neighboring program and provide training for your colleagues staff; your colleague comes and provides training for your staff. Document the training for all who attend and youve helped to meet the continuing education requirements of most of the credentialing programs available. OVC will also provide support for training programs in your community through its Training and Technical Assistance program: http:www.ovc.govassistwelcome.html The National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP) http:www.trynova.orgnacp is looking at the option of allowing advocates to read field-related materials, watch videos or DVDs or participate in on the job training as possible alternatives for continuing education as well. The most important thing offered by credentialing programs is their recognition of those in our profession and their encouragement of pre-service and continuing education; both crucial to quality services for those we serve.
 
2.  Denise
 We are resisting credentialing here in PA for some of the same reasons. Our state dv and sa coalitions have some minimum training requirements (each close to 40 if working directly wvictims) in order to qualify for the statutory absolute confidentiality and for those that offer comprehensive services to victims, they must add at least 30 more hours of training.
 
 
What is being done in rural areas bordered by Reservations to help law enforcement officials apprehend suspects, i.e., mult-jurisdictional problems. We have city, county, state, and BIA enforcement within 50 miles. Thanks
 
1.  Adkins
 Just like OVC's Rural Victim Assistance Project (for more information, visit: http:www.ovc.govpublicationsinforesrural_victim_assistancewelcome.html)rural law enforcement agencies are also receiving assistance to coordinate services and response to offenders in the most efficient and collaborative manner. The best offense is pre-planning and I would suggest that the jurisdictions within your 50 mile area meet and come up with a plan to effectively apprehend suspects. Cooperation between city, county, state and BIA enforcement offices and jurisdictions is going to provide the most efficient and effective means of apprehending offenders as well as to provide comprehensive victim services. The National Center for Rural Law Enforcement (http:www.ncrle.net) would be an excellent resource for your jurisdiction.
 
 
What assistance is available for the law enforcement officer (or other official) who has to make notification to the parent or spouse concerning the death (or very serious injury) of a loved one?
 
1.  Adkins
 There are advocates in victim assistance programs in prosecutors' offices as well as community-based programs many of whom are trained in death notification and are available to assist law enforcement in responding to a parent or spouse concerning the death or serious injury of a loved one. Many of these programs offer 24-hour in-person response through the use of a network of trained volunteers, particularly in rural areas with widespread jurisdictions. There are some programs also located within law enforcement agencies. I would encourage you to research victim assistance in your area through the internet or by calling your local prosector's office. By starting there, you should find your local victim assistance resources available to assist with notification like you've described. These advocates are not only often available to assist in the notification, but can follow up with the loved ones to assist with contacting other relatives, provide criminal justice information and case status, if applicable, as well as a variety of supportive services in the aftermath of such notification. There are also excellent resources offered by many of the national victim assistance organizations (NOVA, MADD, POMC) with recommended protocols for death notification.
 
 
Transportation is a huge issue in our rural areas. Please give me some ideas on how to provide transportation to crime victims. Often they do not have a reliable vehicle, the vehicle has been damaged or simply don't have funds for gas/repair.
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Transportation for crime victims is a real problem everywhere, but especially in rural areas, many without public transportation systems. The first issue is the actual means of transportation. If you live in an area that does have taxi andor bus service, you might meet with the company or companies whom provide the service and see what they are willing to do in the way of transportation for crime victims referred by your agency or through a network of victim assistance agencies in your jurisdiction(s). Perhaps they would consider a free ride or a reduced rate for crime victims being transported to appointments, court hearings, etc. Another approach that would be good publicity for a car dealership would be to ask car dealers in the area to donate a used van or vans to one or more of the victim assistance agencies in your jurisdiction(s) to be used strictly for transportation of crime victims. The van(s) could be marked CVA (Crime Victim Assistance, but using only the initials) Transport Compliments of John Doe Chevrolet to provide publicity for the dealership and a means of transportation for the crime victims. Gas and maintenance might be funded by other local community service organizations (Kiwanis, Rotary) churches, businesses, etc. Use of volunteers to drive the vans would be most economical for your program. Using retired persons or others with the time for volunteering and all of whom have good driving records. A local insurance company might be asked to provide discounted insurance or if the vehicles are donated to your county, perhaps the county might assume responsibility for the gas, maintenance and insurance for the vehicle(s) if used strictly for county business (transporting victimswitnesses). Check out OVCs HOPE grants (Helping Outreach Programs to Expand (http:www.ovc.govfundexpandingoutreachwelcome.html) as another possible resource.
 
 
Do you have any suggestions/resources for helping rural Domestic Violence survivors develop support systems and become economically self-supporting? Isolation is, of course, one of the big hurdles in assisting rural victims -- but oftentimes, so is a lack of economic resources and opportunities.
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Domestic violence survivors often cite isolation and economic dependence on their batterers as primary reasons for returning to the abusive relationship and these issues are compounded in rural areas. Of course, we never want to overlook victims compensation as an economic resource for domestic violence survivors; however, long term economic resources are going to be crucial in their transition from the abusive relationship to independent living. I am a firm believer in turning to community resources for assistance. Small businesses and their local merchants, civic organizations and community groups are often an excellent resource for training, jobs and self esteem building for domestic violence survivors. Example of a plan to use a network of local resources: Meet with your chambers of commerce to get a list of local businesses and merchants, civic and community groups, churches, etc. Invite them by community, to a meeting to develop a Transitions network to provide support and economic resources to DV survivors in need such as job preparation and training (local business mens and womens associations); clothing resources (consignment shops, Goodwill might provide clothing vouchers for DV survivors in exchange for donations earmarked for the Transitions program or for volunteer work at the location); job opportunities and training from local businesses; housing (local real estate companies, housing authority might give priority to DV survivors for housing); child care from local YMCA, daycare facilities in exchange for assistance with painting, play area upkeep, etc); local hair salons (e.g. Cut it Out program) and so on. Recognition of the community coming together for the Transitions project through local news media stories, thank you billboard signs (donated of course)and at luncheons or dinners held in their honor will go a long way in helping to sustain your community supported network program. This is just an idea to get you started; you will find many more just by looking at the resources within your own community. Finally, bringing the survivors together regularly for supportive meetings to share their ideas and experiences within the primary communities in your rural area will help sustain them in their ongoing Transitions. OVC also offers financial assistance in getting a program started such as the one described through its HOPE (Helping Outreach Programs to Expand) grant program.
 
 
I work for the NV Supreme Court, AOC and one of the issues I am working on, as rural courts coordiantor, is helping to ensure that batter counseling services, and victim services, for DV are available in rural communities. I am interested in obtaining any ideas/info./etc. that anyone can offer re: creating a circuit counseling program, or any other type of state wide program to ensure that batters can get the court ordered counseling they need, and that victims can better access services. I am especialy interested in models used to ensure payment of providers on a statewide level.
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Ive mentioned this URL several times this afternoon, but it is an excellent resource for those victim service providers and their allied professions attempting to coordinate services in rural communities across their jurisdictions: http:www.ovc.govpublicationsinforesrural_victim_assistancewelcome.html Although the focus of the Rural Victim Assistance project is Prosecutors Offices in rural communities, there are some excellent ideas applicable to victim services from other locations as well. Here is another resource that has had great success (and is one of four research centers participating in a nationwide evaluation of court-ordered treatment for batterers) with their domestic abuse counseling program: http:www.dacc.netaboutdefault.asp?bdyadvantage.asp
 
 
I have been a social worker in rural counties in Iowa for many years. I have observed the vast decline of service access. Most services provided in smaller counties are limited. They consist of outreach attempts from the larger cities and are inadequately funded and staffed. Can you comment on this? Thank you.
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Limited services in rural areas and the difficulty for crime victims in accessing those limited services is a common problem across the country. With the passage of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) in 1984, wee saw an influx of new programs and outreach services in the mid 1980s and in the early 90s with expansion of VOCA programs as large federal fines increased the crime victims fund. Underserved victim populations were included in those expansions of services and more victims received support and advocacy services than ever before. However, the cap placed on the crime victims fund by Congress, not to mention the recent threats of rescission to the fund, have forced many of these programs to become stagnant or even reduce services to maintain the minimum services necessary to meet statutory requirements. In my opinion, this trickle down effect from our primary source of funding for direct services to crime victims, along with dwindling local funds, results in the vast decline of service access and inadequately funded and staffed programs as you mentioned. This is why it is important for service providers to join forces and act when called to action to protect our crime victims fund or to ask our legislators to remove the cap and oppose rescission of the fund. In the meantime, read about some promising practices in rural areas by visiting OVCs Rural Victim Assistance project web site at this URL: http:www.ovc.govpublicationsinforesrural_victim_assistancewelcome.html
 
 
We are a rural DV program. We rely on our volunteers as an integril part of our program. How ever, our volunteer base is shrinking. With the limited funds we have for out reach. How can we best reach those who need our services
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Volunteers are the best way to reach those in need of services, but you are right; with a volunteer pool that is shrinking due to busy schedules and a general lack of time, we must look to other resources to provide outreach to those in need. Law enforcement is your best resource for carrying your outreach message since they will likely be the first responders to those cases of DV reported. Providing them with brochures, booklets or at the very least, business cards with access information will be crucial to getting the word out about your services. Due to the fact that many crimes, however, go unreported, many jurisdictions are looking to other local resources to carry their message. For example, some programs are using local hair salons to participate in programs like Cut It Out where DV resource information is made available in the many hair salons in a jurisdiction.(http:www.cutitout.org) Many victims of DV may go for a haircut on a regular basis at a salon that provides a safe location for them to receive victim assistance information. So using a resource like this may be another way of getting your outreach information to those victimized by DV. Advertising stickers, literature, cards, etc. placed in women's bathrooms in your jurisdiction will at least get the information out about the availability of your services. Creating incentive programs for volunteers (featuring a volunteer in a local community newspaper once a week with photo; rewarding them with recognition in inexpensive ways; honoring them at public events, etc.) may be a way of rejuvenating your volunteer resources to assist you in your response to DV victims needing assistance. For additional financial assistance, look to OVCs HOPE grants for money to help organize your community network (http:www.ovc.govfundexpandingoutreachwelcome.html)
 
 
Funds are available for the MST programs to our local departments for victims, yet no one is using them. I have developed a program using the skills of parenting thru crisi' which is essential in turning the victims around when they are jv. How can I get help, my community is just not interested in spite of the 80% success rate when you combine this type of therapy with cognitive and anger management.
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Im assuming you are referring to juveniles who are either acting out or have offended and who have victimization in their histories or have come from abusive situations. They are victims but have now come to the attention of the court through their behavior. If that is correct, you may find this link helpful from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):http:www.modelprograms.samhsa.govtemplate_cf.cfm?pagemodel&pkProgramID21. I would make this information available to your community leaders in juvenile court, child protective services, victim assistance, mental health, etc, which provides a summary of MST programs and the evidenced-based success rate of such intervention. The fact that funds are available to develop and implement such programs in your area is the icing on the cake; now you just need to convince them to eat the cake! I would suggest setting up a roundtable discussion on the topic at which time you can provide the above information, along with the funding opportunity available, to the group for possible development and implementation of a plan for your community.
 
 
We are having difficulties obtaining/providing medical examinations for sexually molested children, due in large part to a reluctance on the part of our medical providers. We are working toward training pediatric SANEs; however funding is tight and we still need doctors who are willing to sign off on the exams. Any suggestions or recommendations, short of what we're doing now -- which is hauling children 200 to 400 miles round trip for exams elsewhere?
 
1.  K. McLaughlin
 I could not tell which state you are located in. Please contact your State Chapter of Advocacy Centers. They might have advise specific to your communities. Go on line and look up the National Children's Alliance nca-online.org - to find out where the advocacy centers, state chapter, and regional centers are that could help you.
 
2.  JeannetteAdkins
 This is a problem common to the medical profession and not uncommon to the criminal justice system. Physicians may be reluctant to get involved with the examinations of sexually molested children because they know that it may require testimony at a later date. In addition, many physicians do not feel properly trained to conduct a forensic medical examination, especially involving a child. Perhaps sponsoring (with the help of corporate or local financial sponsorship) training on Interdisciplinary Medical Examinations of Sexually Abused Children might be helpful. Inviting your local pediatricians (very helpful with child exams obviously) and other physicians through the medical society for a round table discussion and training would be a good start to getting them more involved. If you are successful with your pediatric SANE training, having them participate will get more physicians involved once the SANE programs are explained in depth. Asking for a rotation of physicians to participate in exams as needed wouldn't tax any one physician too much as far as time and commitment. There are multidisciplinary trainings offered annually through the APRI (http:www.ndaa-apri.orgapriprogramsncpcancpca_home.html) and trainings like the one found at this link coming up in October are good resources for physicians who also need continuing education: http:www.uvm.educonferencesNECSAworkshop.html
 
 
I just returned from the NOVA conference in Orlando,FL and was extremely impressed with the workshops,speakers and you. I was sorry to hear NOVA is losing you as a Exec.Director. I am a very new General Crimes Victim advocate in a very small (pop.5000) rural area of my state. Any suggestions you might have as to how to better serve my clients would be greatly appreciated. My agency has always served DV,SA, and CSA but GC is new. I would like some additional ideas on how to get the word out to the community that there is now help for GC victims. Thank you
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Thank you for your kind comments about the conference and about my departure from NOVA; I appreciate your support. Welcome to the victim assistance field! I, too, worked in a small, rural community for nearly twenty-five years before coming to NOVA. In fact, I loved it so much, that Im returning to the prosecutors office again due to family illness. But the reason I tell you that is that you have a unique situation in a small rural communitygetting the word out is fairly easy and you can provide services on a more individualized basis. Our colleagues in the large urban or metropolitan areas dont always have that luxury. I am also a firm believer that victims of crimes other than what weve traditionally concentrated on in victim services, namely DV, SA and CSA, are in need of our support and advocacy services, too. So it is a good thing that you will be providing those services. The best way to get the word out is through local law enforcement. They are in a perfect position to provide a card, brochure or contact information to all victims of crime to whom they are responding to take a report or begin an investigation. Start here. Come up with a General Crime Victim Services booklet, brochure or simple contact card that provides your program name, address, email and web site (if any) as well as a phone number. Make sure law enforcement and other community service providers know that your agency is now providing service to all types of crime victims and that you will be the contact. Finally, I would coordinate services with other providers in your community to collaborate so that comprehensive services are available to all victims. (E.g. our domestic violence municipal court program provides 24-hour response to DV victims, but passes them on to us when circumstances make their case a felony and therefore under our jurisdiction. We provide 24-hour in-person response to all felony crime victims, but collaborate with Child Protective Services and our local shelter should their services be needed as well.) I wish you luck in your new position!
 
 
As you already know, resources to assist victims are very limited in rural areas. Do you have any suggestions on working within your own community to promote awareness of the resources that already exist and to work with others in the community on developing the services that are missing? Instead of it being one advocate's role to do everything, it could become a community effort.
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Youre singing my song, Nancy! Collaboration is the very best way to join forces and provide the most comprehensive services to those victimized by crime in your jurisdiction. Youre absolutely right; one advocate cant do everything, but one advocate can be the catalyst behind everyone coming together to do it all. As I mentioned in answer to many of the questions posed during this web forum, interagency cooperation and collaboration is the best offense to a growing problem in both rural and urban communities. Be the one that invites everyone to a brown bag lunch discussion to discuss what services are available and whos providing them; identify gaps in service and decide who is capable to provide the missing services. Work together to come up with the most comprehensive services possible, setting aside turf issues and joining resources for financial challenges. For example, years ago in my rural jurisdiction, child protective services and our victim assistance program were frustrated with the lack of response from law enforcement to child sexual abuse allegations. They wanted us to interview the alleged complaints and then call them if the complaints were founded. Then they would start the investigation from the beginning, resulting in the child being interviewed multiple times. So we brought all the law enforcement jurisdictions together, child protective services, childrens hospital staff, etc. in one room and we hashed out a plan for a coordinated response to child sexual abuse allegations in our small community. Deciding it would be ideal if we had one investigator who could handle all of the smaller jurisdiction complaints (tiny jurisdictions really, with no detectives) and serve as back up for the larger jurisdictions (who actually had only one investigator assigned to these types of cases), we joined financial resources from three different agencies: the prosecutors office, the sheriffs office (who had jurisdiction county-wide and was willing to swear this officer in for county-wide jurisdiction) and child protective services. We applied for a grant, which paid for a large portion of the investigators salary, with our collective financial contributions making up the required match and ultimately, the entire salary and benefits once the grant ended. This is just one example how a collaborative effort among community service providers worked to improve services for child sexual abuse victims.
 
 
Much of rural vistimazation is perpatrated by family. They rely on a small community that will turn their heads and isolation. How can we as APS workers step around these roadblocks to our investagations?
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 The best offense is getting the word out about services and educating the community that intra-familial abuse happens and that there is help, both for the abused and the abuser(s). Having a good network of interagency collaborative services is also part of the defense and is crucial to effective, comprehensive services. Visit both OVCs Rural Victim Assistance Programs to learn how prosecutors offices are being encouraged to encourage collaboration in victim services: http:www.ovc.govpublicationsinforesrural_victim_assistancewelcome.htmlThe National Rural Law Enforcement (http:www.ncrle.net) would be an excellent resource for your jurisdiction as well. Some of the ideas mentioned in the question on getting domestic violence services information out in a rural community would be helpful to you as well.
 
 
What are the biggest challenges facing domestic violence service providers in rural areas? The research suggests several reasons including cultural attitudes toward violence, lack of transportation, 'advertising' difficulties, and lack of funding. However, it has also been suggested that rural victim services are not funded to the same extent as urban DV programs and services because the need simply is not the same. Would you agree that there is little need for domestic violence services in rural areas OR are rural victim just too difficult to reach? Nicole White University of Missouri-St. Louis
 
1.  Nicole
 Is it common to have one (or few) domestic violence shelters with 'jurisdiction' over several counties? Are community/private organizations and churches active in and providing services to DV victims who are isolated from shelters and services?
 
2.  JeannetteAdkins
 There are major challenges facing domestic violence service providers in rural areas, primarily lack of resources, outreach difficulties and larger areas to cover in some jurisdictions. There can be even greater geographic isolation for DV victims, making access to services or even outreach information difficult. I do not agree that there is little need for DV services in rural areas; I just think we have to be more creative about how to provide outreach to these isolated victims and how to make services more accessible to them. Building community networks and partnerships with businesses and civic and community organizations is going to be crucial in any rural area. Hair salons, grocery stores, doctors offices, etc. are all going to be businesses to target to get the the word out. Visit www.cutitout.com for more information about how hair salons are being utilized to get the word out to DV victims. Civic organizations are a great resource for valuable and reliable volunteers to assist with outreach, transportation issues and intervention services. Funding issues are usually based upon documented need and although the numbers of DV victims reporting or served in rural areas may be smaller than in urban areas, the need is certainly no less.
 
3.  Denise
 42 of our 67 counties are rural and they would ALL say that the need for services is there, but reaching victims is difficult, as is providing services when the victim is 2 hours from the shelter, courthouse, etc. w no transportation or phone of her own. Many are getting the word out with placemats in restaurants that our coalition developed. They are inexpensive and are targeted toward victims and those who can help. Rural programs are always raising concerns about the distribution of monies.
 
 
Will the credentialling be handled on a national level or by each state? For those of us with years in the field, will there be a "grandfathering" option to the credentialling process? How can one in the field have input into what the process will be? How far along is the actual development of the process and what is the target date for implementing the process?
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Credentialing is being handled by those states that have created statewide programs (Ohio, California, South Carolina, Colorado, Pennsylvania are some examples) that are designed to meet the needs of advocates within those states. The National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP)offers different levels of credentialing (based upon experience)to anyone who wishes to apply and qualifies under the program's guidelines. (See www.trynova.orgnacp) NACP has already been implemented and comments from the field were invited during the development stages back in 2000-2003, when the program was launched in October of 2003. The national program, like many of the state programs is voluntary and offered a grandparenting phase during the first two years for experienced advocates. Although that phase expired in October of 2005, experienced advocates will still find application to the program will recognize their years of experience in the field. NACP accepts applications in October and May of each year so please read about the program at the link above.
 
2.  JeannetteAdkins
 Credentialing is being handled by those states that have created statewide programs (Ohio, California, South Carolina, Colorado, Pennsylvania are some examples) that are designed to meet the needs of advocates within those states. The National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP)offers different levels of credentialing (based upon experience)to anyone who wishes to apply and qualifies under the program's guidelines. (See www.trynova.orgnacp) NACP has already been implemented and comments from the field were invited during the development stages back in 2000-2003, when the program was launched in October of 2003. The national program, like many of the state programs is voluntary and offered a grandparenting phase during the first two years for experienced advocates. Although that phase expired in October of 2005, experienced advocates will still find application to the program will recognize their years of experience in the field. NACP accepts applications in October and May of each year so please read about the program at the link above.
 
 
I am a new attorney with the District Attorney's office in Taos, New Mexico. My office is looking for a grant to fund a domestic violence victim advocate. Do you know of any public or private funds that are available?
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Welcome to the DA's office and to victim assistance! There are funds available through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and every state has a VOCA administrator overseeing the program that distributes the funds. In New Mexico, your VOCA administrator is Larry Tackman. I would suggest starting there to learn about available funding in the state of New Mexico. Visit this URL for more information: http:www.state.nm.uscvrcvoca.html
 
 
I work with victims, most of whom have very limited incomes, who are literally hundreds of miles away from federal court. It is challenging to make certain that they make federal court when they are subpoenaed. I think it causes added stress to a victim when they also have to come up with funds to travel such a long distance. I am wondering, how do other victim witness personnel handle such challenging situations? I am always welcoming new ideas!
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 I provided the following answer to someone else regarding transportation and will share it with you here because it does offer some ideas to help with transportation issues. However, you might also think about budgeting travel reimbursement or transportation costs for victims into your VOCA grant or office budget or through a HOPE grant available through OVC mentioned below, so that you can provide transportation to those who need it. Here is the information provided to an earlier question:Transportation for crime victims is a real problem everywhere, but especially in rural areas, many without public transportation systems. The first issue is the actual means of transportation. If you live in an area that does have taxi andor bus service, you might meet with the company or companies whom provide the service and see what they are willing to do in the way of transportation for crime victims referred by your agency or through a network of victim assistance agencies in your jurisdiction(s). Perhaps they would consider a free ride or a reduced rate for crime victims being transported to appointments, court hearings, etc.Another approach that would be good publicity for a car dealership would be to ask car dealers in the area to donate a used van or vans to one or more of the victim assistance agencies in your jurisdiction(s) to be used strictly for transportation of crime victims. The van(s) could be marked CVA (Crime Victim Assistance, but using only the initials) Transport Compliments of John Doe Chevrolet to provide publicity for the dealership and a means of transportation for the crime victims. Gas and maintenance might be funded by other local community service organizations (Kiwanis, Rotary) churches, businesses, etc.Use of volunteers to drive the vans would be most economical for your program. Using retired persons or others with the time for volunteering and all of whom have good driving records. A local insurance company might be asked to provide discounted insurance or if the vehicles are donated to your county, perhaps the county might assume responsibility for the gas, maintenance and insurance for the vehicle(s) if used strictly for county business (transporting victimswitnesses). Check out OVCs HOPE grants (Helping Outreach Programs to Expand (http:www.ovc.govfundexpandingoutreachwelcome.html) as another possible resource.
 
 
I work with victims from Indian Country of who live in rural communities and many miles from the nearest U.S. Attorney's Office. I am wondering if any other victim witness personnel have come up with unique ways to reach out to victims in rural communities? I travel to the reservations when I can and it does make a difference but traveling takes a lot of time out of the work day. I am wondering how others deal with the distance and providing adequate services at the same time?
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Volunteers are the best way to reach those in need of services, but with a volunteer pool that is shrinking due to busy schedules and a general lack of time, we must look to other resources to provide outreach to those in need. Law enforcement is your best resource for carrying your outreach message since they will likely be the first responders. Providing them with brochures, booklets or at the very least, business cards with access information will be crucial to getting the word out about your services. Due to the fact that many crimes, however, go unreported, many jurisdictions are looking to other local resources to carry their message. For example, some programs are using local groceries, shops or hair salons to participate in programs like Cut It Out where resource information is made available in the many hair salons in a jurisdiction.(http:www.cutitout.org) Many victims of DV may go for a haircut on a regular basis at a salon that provides a safe location for them to receive victim assistance information. So using a resource like this may be another way of getting your outreach information to those victims of crime we serve. Advertising stickers, literature, cards, etc. placed in women's bathrooms in your jurisdiction will at least get the information out about the availability of your services. Creating incentive programs for volunteers (featuring a volunteer in a local community newspaper once a week with photo; rewarding them with recognition in inexpensive ways; honoring them at public events, etc.) may be a way of rejuvenating your volunteer resources to assist you in your response to victims needing assistance. For additional financial assistance, look to OVCs HOPE grants for money to help organize your community network (http:www.ovc.govfundexpandingoutreachwelcome.html) Also visit OVC's Rural Victim Assistance project information for promising practices at http:www.ovc.govpublicationsinforesrural_victim_assistancewelcome.html
 
 
Living in this rural state of VT often means that there are very few Law Enforcement officiers available between the hrs of 2 AM-6AM and they cover a large area meaning it could take 45 mins plus to respond. What are other states/rural areas doing to address the problem of responding to crisis given the limitation re: availabilty of Law Enforcement?
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Rural law enforcement agencies are receiving assistance to coordinate services and response to crime victims in the most efficient and collaborative manner. The best offense is pre-planning and I would suggest that the jurisdictions within your area meet and come up with a plan to effectively respond in a timely manner. Cooperation between city, county, state offices and jurisdictions is going to provide the most efficient and effective means to provide comprehensive victim services. The National Center for Rural Law Enforcement (http:www.ncrle.net) would be an excellent resource for your jurisdiction.
 
 
What are some of the largest barriers preventing victim service providers from providing adequate services to victims in rural areas? How are these barriers being overcome where you are?
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Money, distance and lack of community resources are the biggest barriers to victim services in my opinion. Seeking funding through VOCA, VAWA and other resources helps, but even this isnt the total answer. I believe that rural communities can do incredible things when they cooperate and join forces. Collaboration is a must in this day and age of dwindling funds and lack of resources to provide adequate services. If we work together, we have a greater chance of not only providing the basic services and filling the gaps in service, but also coming up with innovative promising practices to overcome the barriers. See OVCs Rural Victim Assistance web site for more information about some of these promising practices: http:www.ovc.govpublicationsinforesrural_victim_assistancewelcome.html
 
 
Are any programs providing transportation for victims to court and other essential appointments, and if so, how (ie private vehicle, program vehicle, arrangements with local taxi/bus service)? What about insurance issues if it is a private vehicle?
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Transportation for crime victims is a real problem everywhere, but especially in rural areas, many without public transportation systems. The first issue is the actual means of transportation. If you live in an area that does have taxi andor bus service, you might meet with the company or companies whom provide the service and see what they are willing to do in the way of transportation for crime victims referred by your agency or through a network of victim assistance agencies in your jurisdiction(s). Perhaps they would consider a free ride or a reduced rate for crime victims being transported to appointments, court hearings, etc. Another approach that would be good publicity for a car dealership would be to ask car dealers in the area to donate a used van or vans to one or more of the victim assistance agencies in your jurisdiction(s) to be used strictly for transportation of crime victims. The van(s) could be marked CVA (Crime Victim Assistance, but using only the initials) Transport Compliments of John Doe Chevrolet to provide publicity for the dealership and a means of transportation for the crime victims. Gas and maintenance might be funded by other local community service organizations (Kiwanis, Rotary) churches, businesses, etc. Use of volunteers to drive the vans would be most economical for your program. Using retired persons or others with the time for volunteering and all of whom have good driving records. A local insurance company might be asked to provide discounted insurance or if the vehicles are donated to your county, perhaps the county might assume responsibility for the gas, maintenance and insurance for the vehicle(s) if used strictly for county business (transporting victimswitnesses). Check out OVCs HOPE grants (Helping Outreach Programs to Expand (http:www.ovc.govfundexpandingoutreachwelcome.html) as another possible resource.
 
 
How can we as advocates get other organizations involved with Rural Victimization Assistance within our area.
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Collaboration is the very best way to join forces and provide the most comprehensive services to those victimized by crime in your jurisdiction. One advocate cant do everything, but one advocate can be the catalyst behind everyone coming together to do it all. As I mentioned in answer to many of the questions posed during this web forum, interagency cooperation and collaboration is the best offense to a growing problem in both rural and urban communities. Be the one that invites everyone to a brown bag lunch discussion to discuss what services are available and whos providing them; identify gaps in service and decide who is capable to provide the missing services. Work together to come up with the most comprehensive services possible, setting aside turf issues and joining resources for financial challenges.
 
 
With the loss of our rural dv funding do you have any suggestions on how we can keep our rural areas active in reaching out to their victims? Do you have any model programs for victim outreach in rural areas? Do you think there will be a shift anytime soon for expanding funding sources for transitional housing for victims?
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Someone asked a similar question earlier in the Web Forum, so I am going to share the answer I provided to that question. I am a firm believer in turning to community resources for assistance. Small businesses and their local merchants, civic organizations and community groups are often an excellent resource for training, jobs and self esteem building for domestic violence survivors. Example of a plan to use a network of local resources: Meet with your chambers of commerce to get a list of local businesses and merchants, civic and community groups, churches, etc. Invite them by community, to a meeting to develop a Transitions network to provide support and economic resources to DV survivors in need such as job preparation and training (local business mens and womens associations); clothing resources (consignment shops, Goodwill might provide clothing vouchers for DV survivors in exchange for donations earmarked for the Transitions program or for volunteer work at the location); job opportunities and training from local businesses; housing (local real estate companies, housing authority might give priority to DV survivors for housing); child care from local YMCA, daycare facilities in exchange for assistance with painting, play area upkeep, etc); local hair salons (e.g. Cut it Out program) and so on. Recognition of the community coming together for the Transitions project through local news media stories, thank you billboard signs (donated of course)and at luncheons or dinners held in their honor will go a long way in helping to sustain your community supported network program. This is just an idea to get you started; you will find many more just by looking at the resources within your own community. Finally, bringing the survivors together regularly for supportive meetings to share their ideas and experiences within the primary communities in your rural area will help sustain them in their ongoing Transitions. OVC also offers financial assistance in getting a program started such as the one described through its HOPE (Helping Outreach Programs to Expand) grant program.I hope that there will be a shift toward more transitional housing for DV victims as we know this is a primary reason that steers victims back to their abusive living situations. If we put more emphasis on transitional services (not just housing, but training, employment, financial management and child care), I believe we would see fewer returns to abusive relationships among the survivors we serve.
 
 
What can rural areas do to get more Rural Victimization Assistance for their area. Many times rual areas are looked over in some states.
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Lobby with your VOCA administrator in your state for a portion of VOCA (or VAWA or state victim assistance funds, etc.) to be directed toward previously underserved victim populations or rural victims of crime. Write the official who administers your VOCA or victim assistance funding explaining your unique issues in providing victim services in rural communities. Ask other rural victim service providers to sign off on the letter collectively. There is strength in unity, which is incidentally our current National Victims Rights Week theme for 2006. Visit OVCs Rural Victim Assistance Program web site for some of the promising practices in rural victim assistance and work to replicate some of those practices. (http:www.ovc.govpublicationsinforesrural_victim_assistancewelcome.html)
 
 
If your agency is located in a rural area, how would you suggest reaching out to nearby communities?
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Volunteers are the best way to reach those in need of services; however, with a volunteer pool that is shrinking due to busy schedules and a general lack of time, we must look to other resources to provide outreach to those in need. Law enforcement is your best resource for carrying your outreach message since they will likely be the first responders when crime is reported. Providing them with brochures, booklets or at the very least, business cards with access information will be crucial to getting the word out about your services. Due to the fact that many crimes, however, go unreported, many jurisdictions are looking to other local resources to carry their message. For example, some programs are using local hair salons to participate in programs like Cut It Out where DV resource information is made available in the many hair salons in a jurisdiction.(http:www.cutitout.org) Many victims of DV may go for a haircut on a regular basis at a salon that provides a safe location for them to receive victim assistance information. So using a resource like this may be another way of getting your outreach information to those victimized by DV. Advertising stickers, literature, cards, etc. placed in restrooms, coffee shops, grocery stores, etc. in your jurisdiction will at least get the information out about the availability of your services. Creating incentive programs for volunteers (featuring a volunteer in a local community newspaper once a week with photo; rewarding them with recognition in inexpensive ways; honoring them at public events, etc.) may be a way of rejuvenating your volunteer resources to assist you in your response to victims needing assistance. For additional financial assistance, look to OVCs HOPE grants for money to help organize your community network (http:www.ovc.govfundexpandingoutreachwelcome.html)
 
 
What do you find to be the best way to do outreach to rural areas? What do you see as the primary differences between supporting rural and urban victims?
 
1.  JeannetteAdkins
 Ill share an answer to a couple of other questions that I think best answers yours and will add that the primary differences between providing services to rural and urban victims are community resources, both financial and the number available. In rural communities, volunteers are the best way to reach those in need of services; however, with a volunteer pool that is shrinking due to busy schedules and a general lack of time, we must look to other resources to provide outreach to those in need. Law enforcement is your best resource for carrying your outreach message since they will likely be the first responders when crime is reported. Providing them with brochures, booklets or at the very least, business cards with access information will be crucial to getting the word out about your services. Due to the fact that many crimes, however, go unreported, many jurisdictions are looking to other local resources to carry their message. For example, some programs are using local hair salons to participate in programs like Cut It Out where DV resource information is made available in the many hair salons in a jurisdiction.(http:www.cutitout.org) Many victims of DV may go for a haircut on a regular basis at a salon that provides a safe location for them to receive victim assistance information. So using a resource like this may be another way of getting your outreach information to those victimized by DV. Advertising stickers, literature, cards, etc. placed in restrooms, coffee shops, grocery stores, etc. in your jurisdiction will at least get the information out about the availability of your services. Creating incentive programs for volunteers (featuring a volunteer in a local community newspaper once a week with photo; rewarding them with recognition in inexpensive ways; honoring them at public events, etc.) may be a way of rejuvenating your volunteer resources to assist you in your response to victims needing assistance. For additional financial assistance, look to OVCs HOPE grants for money to help organize your community network (http:www.ovc.govfundexpandingoutreachwelcome.html)
 
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