Collaborations on Faith-Based Initiatives
Elaine Witman, Rev. Theresa Mercer  -  2007/6/27
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
I am really interested in ideas for getting clergy involved in learning about issues of dv and best practices for dealing with both victims and perpetrators who seek out their assistance. How can we get them to acknowledge the importance of this issue and to work with secular service providers as required?
 
1.  StephanieManuel
 Our Chaplain and Program manager is in the process of mentoring volunteer Chaplains in Florida area.If we can be of any assistance please let me know.
 
2.  Carleen Vincent
 We currently have a Domestic Violence Symposium scheduled for July 14th in South Florida. Our audience consists of members of the clergy. It has been extraordinarily difficult to get the clergy to respond to our requests to attend the event. Our focus is on what the church can do to assist victims, and no one seems interested or willing to admit that DV is a problem within the church family as well. Any suggestions?
 
3.  Theresa Elaine
 We recommend that the best way to raise awareness and generate involvement among clergy on the importance of domestic violence issues is to pursue a series of strategies, all aimed at building trusting relationships between clergy and secular service providers. Those strategies are: 1) Locate one member of the clergy who gets it (who wants to be more informed about domestic violence and sees the role that spirituality can play in the healing from victimization). Develop a relationship with that one pastor and enlist hisher assistance in identifying other colleagues who can be approached; 2) Ask that clergy to convene a small group discussion for interested clergy around the DV issues. The discussion needs to include their thoughts and feelings around both the issues of DV as well as the possibilities of working with DV secular service providers; 3) Convene a series of dialogue sessions with the small group of interested clergy and the DV secular service providers to LISTEN to their respective concerns about DV and how they might work together. These dialogue sessions will offer both groups the opportunity to develop trust amongst themselves, better understanding of their respective challenges, and to collectively explore both differences and commonalities; 4) As the collaboration between these groups develops, the next steps would include possible training for clergy on DV and the roles they can play for both victims and perpetrators, as well as training by clergy for the secular providers about the spiritual issues involved.One excellent resource on the issue of DV and the Faith community which we found to be helpful is the FaithTrust Institute: www.faithtrustinstitute.org. Their resources include publications and newsletters, videos and DVDs, sermon starters, etc. Sidran Institute (www.sidran.org) offers a training curriculum for the faith community. Many other resources are available from national and local organizations.
 
 
Restorative Justice is now catching on throughout the world. Will it succeed better here if unconnected to religion, or can it avoid church-state separation criticism by being completely ecumenical?
 
1.  Jack Lawrence
 I very much approve your ideas, and I would like to agree with you. However, I have seen many noble social ideas inthis arena fall prey to politicization.Rehabilitation as an overarching goal of sentencing is an example; the complete abolition of parole in federal systems another. I hope that the same churches can continue to support and implement restorative justice if it ever has to be adapted in order to survive.
 
2.  Theresa Elaine
 Forgiveness and Healing is a mission of Faith. In order to avoid the potential church-state separation criticism, we recommend that Restorative Justice efforts become a component of a religious institutions 501 (c)(3) outreach efforts. As such, it would be a powerful role for the faith communities across the country. In this arena, the religious institutions are not proselytizing. Rather, they are working to restore relationships between the victims and the offenders. A recommended resource is a book entitled: The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr and published by Good Books.
 
 
We are about to start (Jan. 2008) a Faith-Based Reentry program from a prison to the Richmond, Va. community. The prison is near Richmond also. We have 15 beds alloted. We have a pre-release and post release phase. No state funds are being used.We are working with Prison Fellowship Ministries who is the teaching the course and providing the volunteers. Any suggestions or learnings about such an effort?
 
1.  Rev. T. Mercer
 I am sure you understand people re-offend more likely when there is no support team around them. I can not say enough about the importance of The Holistic approach used by faith-based non-profits that allow ex-offenders an opportunity to be in tune with their faith, provide mentors with a message of hope, along with job training, counseling, housing and health have been successful in helping offenders reintegrate.The Ten Point Coalition of Boston, MA gained national recognition for such a Faith-Based model.
 
2.  Louis B. Cei
 Thank you. I have printed your response and your resources look good.Is there any one thing that you could identify that is critical to success?
 
3.  StephanieManuel
 We Have had a Faith Component in Britt House for about four years and the male youth we serve are open to the faith activities we offer.
 
4.  Theresa Elaine
 We applaud your efforts to utilize the Prison Fellowship Ministries. From our experience, the Prison Fellowship Ministries is a strong and effective resource for addressing the myriad of needs of the reentry population. That includes the spiritual, physical, mental, emotional and economic needs of those reentering society. Strong and collaborative connections between the faith based organizations of Richmond and the diverse secular providers (government and nonprofit) who serve the reentry population must be paramount as your program is implemented. In supporting and serving these individuals, we recommend that attention be given to the treatment and healing from their own childhood and societal victimization. Recommended resources on this issue include the following:1)A publication of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to be found online at www.aecf.orgOrderPublications. In the back of this manual there is a section that lists some other great resources, both organizations and websites.2)A Justice That Heals, a one-hour documentary film about reentry and the faith community. A copy of the film can be obtained by contacting: Outreach Extensions, 770-964-5045, www.reentrymediaoutreach.org3)A publication of PublicPrivate Ventures called Call To ActionHow Programs in Three Cities Responded to the Prisoner Reentry Crisis by Paul VanDeCarr.Their website is www.ppv.org and the number is: 215-557-4400
 
 
For many years, we have worked to engage the faith community as a partner to support victims of child abuse and domestic violence. But 2 challenges remain which we have yet to overcome: how to maximize efforts with limited resources with such a broad community; and, how to overcome differences in beliefs about discipline versus abuse and male privilage. Have others found success in overcoming similiar challenges, and if so how?
 
1.  Elaine Witman
 This is an answer for Deborah. You pose an important question and one that I have seen come up in every faith. It is a shame that abuse occurs, but we are fortunate that it doesn't happen in our faith or our congregation. I can share a few thoughts with you. I suggest that you try to find just one faith leader of a particular faith who gets it. Target someone who may know from personal experience or someone who has been trained on these issues or someone who seems open to participating in a one-on-one private conversation with you. LISTEN to each other as you explore common concerns. For instance, I have had clergy say to me that they never see dv or child abuse, but they see drugs and alcohol all the time. Commiserate with them on how hard that must be to counsel addicts. Then gently try to sensitize them to the fact that so many victims turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to deaden the pain of previous trauma. Help them to see the inter-relatedness of these problems. Then you are opening up a space for common concerns. Another strategy that we have had success with is to convene, or to ask that one clergy person who gets it to convene a small group of clergy to participate in a dialogue session with a few therapists in private practice or on staff at agencies who work with survivors of dv or childhood trauma. The clergy learn so much from the stories told by therapists about what they hear from their clients. It is a real awareness building event and it breaks through alot of denial, espeecially if the therapists and clergy engage in some honest discussion. I have seen this result in clergy getting to know the a few therapists so that they can make referrals as needed. Lastly, you may want to seek out pastoral counselors and parish nurses (who work in hospitals, clinics, etc.)to reach out and educate clergy about these issues. They see the victims in their work and they may be the best people to relate to clergy and to be trusted to tell the truth. I hope that these ideas are of some help to you.
 
2.  Deborah
 I have a similar question to the second part of the original question. We have encountered situations in which communities workers find it difficult to get anyone from the faith community - either pastor/minister/etc. or the congregation - to participate in coalitions because of the not in my church syndrome (i.e., acknowledging problems when they are happening in some other parish but not in one's own). This is particularly true in small rural and frontier towns. any suggestions?
 
3.  Theresa Elaine
 The strategies for engaging the faith community as a partner, as outlined in the answer to Question #1, would apply here as well. The dialogue sessions we described become an excellent vehicle for overcoming differences on such sensitive issues as beliefs about discipline versus abuse and male privilege. It is important for us to underscore the importance, in any bridge building activity between faith and secular, to be sure to leave space for the opinions of clergy and to create a safe environment for the airing of differing and maybe controversial views. Our experience informs us that if clergy feel pressured or not heard, they will feel disrespected and you will have lost them. That being said, we wish to suggest another strategy for bringing about a common and informed understanding of the impact of abuse on children and how the line can so easily be crossed from discipline to abusive behavior. During one of our awareness and relationship building forums held in east Baltimore, we convened a panel of survivors of child abuse and domestic violence to share their stories with an audience that included both faith and secular service providers. The two groups heard the stories together and engaged in a cross dialogue as discussion and Q & A ensued. With regard to the challenge of limited resources, one of the primary benefits of meaningful collaboration between the faith and secular communities is that resources and expertise are pooled together. Allow us to give you a few examples of how that might work. 1) Pastoral counselors and parish nurses in given communities (as part of the work that they do), can be enlisted to serve as liaisons between victims and the agencies that offer needed services; 2) Churches can host support groups for victims. These groups can be facilitated by trained volunteers recruited from the congregations; and 3) Partnering with faith based organizations can open up additional funding opportunities.
 
 
I am the director of Prevention Services for the Catholic Schools in our diocese. Primarily we do classroom presentations of evidence based programs. We are looking for other funding sources, as our state grant and federal SDFS funds are dwindling. We are totally grant funded. We are ineligible to apply for most federal grants as we are not an LEA and do not appear to fall under the current 'fatih based initiatives.' Any suggestions on where to apply for funding would be appreciated.
 
1.  Theresa Elaine
 We have a couple of suggestions. Many states have Children's Trust Funds which issue grants for child abuse prevention. Partnering with a child abuse non-profit service provider in your area, such as the local chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America or Parents Anonymous, can open up some funding possibilities. Most funding sources think highly of proposals for support that are submitted collaboratively among several organizations. Another source may be your local United Way which often prioitizes family violence prevention. Lastly, we recommend that you conduct a search of local and national private foundations. The key words for areas or topics of interest are: child abuse, prevention, education, adolescent issues, and violence prevention.
 
 
Are there examples or models of how churches can support and assist persons who experience harm as a result of crime or other damaging experience? What are the theological supports, and orthopraxic implications for how we do church? Are there training materials/resources available for churches?
 
1.  Theresa Elaine
 Theologically, churches/faith-based organizations missions are to heal the broken hearted, and that includes victims. Orthopraxic implications show that the church has been the foundation of support for those hurting persons.Trauma is a newly recognized issue that must be addressed. In our work, we have found many churches are embracing the how to help victims affected by trauma. From 2003 - 2006, The Office for Victims of Crime funded the Collaborative Response to Crime Victims in Urban Areas project which involved five sites, each looking to develop models for linking faith-based organizations and victim assistance programs in high crime areas. Those 5 sites were: St. Paul, MN; Richmond, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore, MD; and Nashville, TN. We co-directed the Baltimore site Initiative. For information about how the faith communities in those 5 urban areas supported victims of crime, we suggest contacting the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center, the organization that managed the project for OVC. Their website is: www.mdcrimevictims.org Sidran Institute has developed a training curriculum for clergy: Risking Connection for Faith Communities. See www.sidran.org for more information.
 
2.  StephanieManuel
 Here in Florida we have in our community several churchs which have been involved in going door to door getting the word out to help our troubled youth.
 
 
Are you going to include Tribal Traditions in your disscussion of Healing. Tribal Traditions are a Spiritual offering to the people who come for Healing.
 
1.  Rev. T. Mercer
 Healing is for all. Healing comes in different forms. Amazing as it might be to some, each culture has unique folklores in which healing takes place. More and more we are sharing our cultural experiences, learning from each other and trying new ways to be healed. In addition, more people are owning their Tribal connections, therefore, the discussion on Tribal Healing is one of importance and should never be neglected. We have reached out to our Baltimore City Native American Indian Community that now is becoming more and more involved in the shaping our Baltimore City community. To know more about our Baltimore native American Center:REF: Helen Heckwolf, Director
 
 
I am a Forensic Interviewer in a CAC in Oklahoma City. As a trained interviewer we are supposed to be non bias in our interviews. My question is how do we remain un bais and still stay truth to our faith. How do we introduce Faith-Based initiatives in our protocol or is it not the place and time to do such? Thank you for your time
 
1.  Elaine Witman
  The spiritual development in children is often damaged when they have been victimized, especially where the perpetrator is known and the abuse is chronic. Self esteem is often so low that child victims feel responsible for the abuse and feel damaged, dirty or sinful. They often feel abandoned by God. Without endorsing any particular doctrine or beliefs, ministers and lay leaders can be encouraged to walk together through the process with survivors as they wrestle with the critical why questions; to listen openly without feeling the need to provide answers or solutions; and to find texts and rituals in the survivors preferred tradition that celebrate renewal, healing, and connection to faith and community. That being said, such listening and provision of comfort is best addressed by pastoral counselors or by clergy who have been trained and who understand the impact of childhood trauma. I would think that there is no place during a forensic interview for anything faith based. I would suggest is that you can ask the child's parent if they wish to talk with a faith person. If they do not have a relationship with one but they are interested, you can refer them to someone of their faith that your CAC has trained and whom you trust. It would be advisable for your CAC, and all victim serving agencies, to cultivate and educate a group of diverse faith leaders to whom you can refer.
 
2.  Carleen Vincent
 As a social science researcher, I am well aware of the professional responsibility which mandates that we not include our personal biases when interviewing. What exactly is a CAC? What is the purpose of your organization? If you are just gathering information, you cannot introduce your initiatives. Only if your purpose is to introduce the intiatives and provide some sort of prepost evaluation can you use them without violating ethics.
 
 
We are a Domestic Violence Task Force located in the St. of Washington. We would like the faith community to be our focus during DV Awareness month in October. We would like suggestions on how to approach the faith community with our services and resources we can provide.
 
1.  Theresa Elaine
 We suggest in approaching the faith community for the purpose of involvement in DV Awareness month, that material be distributed either electronically, by snail mail, or by fax to faith leaders in your community. The communication ought to be followed by a brief phone call asking faith leaders to address, or at least acknowledge the subject of DV from the pulpit and in the church's newsletter. Offer to provide them with sample sermon starters, sample newsletter articles, and speakers to present at congregational activities. Provide them with a hotline number. If there is an inter-faith group in your community, we suggest that you partner with them in this endeavor. Also, you may want to contact one of the national domestic violence networks which often can provide local groups with dv awareness packages which can include material for outreach to the faith community.
 
 
So glad to see you two discussing these initiatives. One component of your recent OVC-funded initiative dealt with sustaining a network of faith-based and secular providers beyond the funding period. I am curious as to issues and struggles that emerged in trying to establish such sustainability. How have things gone with the project?
 
1.  Elaine Witman
 Dana, Please forgive the delay in responding to your question. It is always good to hear from you. With regard to the sustainability of our OVC funded intiative, the East Baltimore Faith-based and Secular Service Provider Collabortive is alive and well. The Collaborative meets monthly, and Rev. Mercer and I are now members (rather than coordinators). I represent Sidran Institute and she represents the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center as well as the Institute for Faith Based Leadership and Philanthropy. A core group of both clergy and secular service providers (nonprofits and government agencies)remain very active. Among the core group, strong trusting relationships have developed that have resulted in direct communication and greater access to resources when a person in need comes to any one of the Collaborative members. For example, a pastor wants to access services for a family that has come to him in need and the pastor goes directly to the individual from a particular government agency with whom he has a relationship through the Collaborative. The result: the family receives services quicker and with less hassle. In addition to the informal connections and networking, the Collaborative has also designed a formal Strategic Plan that includes cross training among the members; joint provision of services; improved access to services; and collective solutions to problems and gaps in services. The Collaborative has a Co-Chair arrangement: one clergy leader and one secular leader. The primary struggle facing the Collaborative is that a paid staff person is needed to impement the activities of the Collaborative. All the members have their own jobs and do not have the time that is needed to devote to Collaborative tasks. We have officers and committee chairs, but they too are short on time. We need (as every Collaborative does) a full time paid Coordinator. We believe that, with such an individual, the goals of the Collaborative will be achieved over time, its membership will expand and become stronger, and its activities will be sustained. With that in mind, some of the Collaborative leadership will be presenting its vision and goals to a major Baltimore Foundation in August. That Foundation came to us expressing interest in offering support to the Collaborative. We are hopeful that we will continue to thrive.
 
 
Is there a best "method" to get the faith community to collaborate with state government?
 
1.  Elaine Witman
 Getting the faith community to collaborate with state government is even more challenging than with nonprofit victim services providers. The primary obstacle to such collaboration is the distrust that clergy have for the bureaucracy of government. Therefore, the challenge is to implement strategies designed to build trusting relationships between individual clergy and individual state government staff. I emphasize the word individual. Initially, it is more effective to reach out to individual clergy by engaging in one-on-one conversations to begin building trust and to listen to what they want out of state government for the people whom they serve. Doing a mass mailing to clergy asking them to distribute literature or to attend an event usually doesn't work until after the relationships have been developed. The second strategy is to convene small dialogue sessions between those clergy who have been approached and a group of victim services staff from a government agency. The sessions afford them the opportunity to LISTEN to their respecive concerns and to find some common ground for collaborating. You may even want to invite individual clergy to a government staff meeting or to go on tour of some of their service facilities. A third strategy is for government agencies to consider bringing some of their services out into the communities and actually have them co-hosted or sponsored by a church. I have one other recommendation. It is important that faith leaders be seen by state government staff as service providers. They DO provide spiritual and other services to people. In East Baltimore, one high level city government official said at one of our community forums that he was able to collaborate with clergy only after he realized and could openly acknowledge that they were service providers too. When clergy heard this person say this, they were eager to work with his agency.
 
 
I am an ordained Christian minister who frequently does trainings related to DV. Ministers and laypersons always ask questions related to theological underpinnings of DV/SA work and interpretation of sacred texts. I honor and value separation of church & state; many of the grant funds supporting my position are state or Federal. How do I best respond to questions about theology and sacred texts, keeping in mind separation of church & state?
 
1.  Elaine Witman
 I apologize if I misunderstood your question. I agree with you that this is a difficult situation to be in because although you are acting as a trainer, you are also a member of the clergy. It is challenging to wear those 2 hats at the same time. When my organization has sponsored trainings for faith leaders and our trainer is a member of the clergy, we give permission to the trainer to quote from a variety of texts (when appropriate) rather than to only quote from texts from your own personal faith tradition. That way, you are not espousing your faith or any ine faith. That way, the point is being made that victims have spiritual needs and that faith based texts give guidance to victims and people who serve victims. It might be safer, however, to ask your particular funding source that supports the trainings that you do about their rules and guidelines. I have one other resource for you. The Faith Trust Institute out of Seattle is a national resource for all faiths in the area of dv and sa. Their website might have some guidance for you. I hope that can be of help to you.
 
2.  Gwen
 I appreciate your response. What I was trying to get at was what are the governmental constraints on me as I train clergy and faith leaders about responding to dvsa? Many of the trainings I do are funded by DOJ-OVW dollars, and I am therefore aware of and sensitive to separation of church and state issues. Is it appropriate to respond to questions of theological foundations or scriptural interpretation? As an ordained minister, those are the sorts of questions that I frequently encounter. Thoughts?
 
3.  Elaine Witman
 Spirituality is often damaged in people who have been victimized, especially in situations like DV or sexual abuse, where the perpetrator is known and the abuse is chronic. Self esteem is often so low that victims feel responsible for the abuse and too damaged dirty or sinful to maintain a faith practice. They often feel abandoned by their faith and their God. Questions of world view and meaning come into sharp focus for individuals who have been profoundly wounded in relationships. Without endorsing any particular doctrine or beliefs, ministers and lay leaders can be encouraged to walk together through the process with survivors as they wrestle with the critical why questions; to listen openly without feeling the need to provide answers or solutions; and to find texts and rituals in the survivors preferred tradition that celebrate renewal, healing, and connection to faith and community. The concept of forgiveness is often a difficult one, and faith leaders should help victims work first on forgiving themselves.
 
 
What is the best way to get our area faith-based leaders started in a discussion of collaborating with rape crisis and dv centers?
 
1.  Elaine Witman
 We recommend that the best way to raise awareness and generate involvement among clergy on the importance of domestic violence and sexual assault issues is to pursue a series of strategies, all aimed at building trusting relationships between clergy and secular service providers. Those strategies are: 1) Locate one member of the clergy who gets it (who wants to be more informed about domestic violence and sexual assault and sees the role that spirituality can play in the healing from victimization). Develop a relationship with that one pastor and enlist hisher assistance in identifying other colleagues who can be approached; 2) Ask that clergy to convene a small group discussion for interested clergy around the DV issues. The discussion needs to include their thoughts and feelings around both the issues of DV and SA as well as the possibilities of working with DV and SA secular service providers; 3) Convene a series of dialogue sessions with the small group of interested clergy and the DV and SA secular service providers to LISTEN to their respective concerns about DV and SA and how they might work together. These dialogue sessions will offer both groups the opportunity to develop trust amongst themselves, better understanding of their respective challenges, and to collectively explore both differences and commonalities; 4) As the collaboration between these groups develops, the next steps would include possible training for clergy on DV and SA and the roles they can play for both victims and perpetrators, as well as training by clergy for the secular providers about the spiritual issues involved. One excellent resource on the issue of DV and the Faith community which we found to be helpful is the Faith Trust Institute: www.faithtrustinstitute.org. Their resources include publications and newsletters, videos and DVDs, sermon starters, etc. Sidran Institute (www.sidran.org) offers a training curriculum for the faith community. Many other resources are available from national and local organizations.
 
2.  Edgar Mohorko
 Meg:I've been working with the local Clergy for 22 years and we have effectively developed what is now 300 members strong, the Clergy Council. There has to be someone that can persuade and encourage Clergy to get involved; a Catalyst preferably another Clergy. Most of the Ministers have a sincere desire to get involved, but due to misconceptions about Clergy they hold back. So seek out the ones that are the Go getters and have them build the bridge.
 
 
How do you get churches of different denominations to work together on this issue?
 
1.  Theresa Elaine
 We call your attention to the response for Barbara F-T. Thank you.
 
2.  StephanieManuel
 On a weekly basis our team make phone calls, set appointments, and follow up with all faith in the community.
 
 
We are in the process of developing a faith based initiative,through te police depart and local churches. Is there a model in place, which you would suggest we look at which has worked well? If so do you have a contact name, email of the person.
 
1.  Rev. T. Mercer
 Yes, in 1997, Rev. Mercer developed such an initiative while Director of Chaplaincy for the Baltimore City Police Department under the under the direction of then, Commissioner Thomas Frazier. Afterwards, she was privileged to become a Visiting Fellow to the Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services (COPs) bringing with her the Baltimore experience, worked to initiate the Value-Based Initiative model in six cities: Fort Worth TX; Fort Wayne IN; Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Redlands, CA and St. Paul, MN. A part of their experiences can be seen on line under Value-Based Initiative: Please see: Law Enforcement, The Faith Community and the Value-Based Initiative If possible, I think you will enjoy talking with some of the principals who developed Initiatives in their cities. Each initiative is different, developed according to the needs of their particular cities.
 
 
I work for an organization called CASA. We match volunteers with children in the foster care system. We have partnered with our state child welfare group to recruit both CASA volunteers and foster families through the faith-based environment. Are there any nationwide initiatives or groups in other states that have implemented a model such as this?
 
1.  Elaine Witman
 I do not know of any nationwide intitiatives but I would think that if a national association of CASA organizations exists, they would be the ones to ask about a model partnership between CASA and the faith community. In my area, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, Jewish Family and Chilfren Services, and other such faith based social service agencies, have foster family programs and recruit from within their communities. One other idea might be to check with any large interfaith groups in your area to see if they know of a model within their network. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
 
 
Although the needs of the black and white churches may be inherently similar, the cultural differences may pose such difficulty that resistance is met regarding a collaborative effort. How might we go about ameliorating this situation?
 
1.  Rev. T. Mercer
 Culture diversity initiatives takes team work and are about relationships. I have always found it valuable to have someone from the culture that I am approaching to stand with me. This person understands the importance of the mission and believes in the mission that we bring together. It is amazing how people respond when they see unity amongst diversity. It important that the mission we bring is at least of interest to those we approach or interesting enough to be a door opener. As leaders, sometimes we want to be the one in charge but that might be offensive to those we are trying to build a relationship with; and so, it is first always good to get to know something about how the culture functions before hand and be sensative to that.
 
 
As a victim/witness coordinator for many years, I have run across many occasions when it would have been very helpful to have a community/faith based partnership in place to refer victims for assistance.Often,they have no one they feel comfortable confiding in, and do not want to see a formal counselor. I believe that if there were a less intimidating setting in which they could feel that their spiritual as well as legal concerns are being addressed, they might be more inclined to seek counsleing or other assistance. Are there any directories of such programs already in place? Or any written guidelines in setting up such a program?
 
1.  Elaine Witman
 In answer to your good question, I would like to offer several resources or approaches: 1) The San Diego Family Justice Center has become a national model for a one-stop victim assistance center that is a working collaborative between law enforcement, mental health, domestic violence counselors, legal assistance and much more. This Center houses clergy right on site so that faith counseling can be offered to victims who seek such assistance. The Center has been so effective that other cities across the country have, or are trying to repluicate the model. I would suggest that you check out their website (www.familyjusticecenter.org). 2) I have found that pastoral counselors and parish nurses are a great resource. They are often viewed as less intimidating than a formal counselor even though they are professional counselors. For victims who want some spiritual guidance as opposed to formal counseling (or just someone to talk to), pastoral counselors and parish nurses may be ideal. Sometimes it is difficult to find them in a given community. They can be employed by hospitals, churches, mental health centers, clinics, substance abuse centers, etc. You may want to check the websites for the national pastoral counseling association and the parish nurse association. Another great thing about these professionals is that they can form the bridge between the victim assistance world and the faith world. They are respected and fit in to both. They form the LINK that is often needed.3) Lastly, we found here in Baltimore, that by developing relationships with certain key clergy from different faiths and denominations we were able to say to a victim that we could refer them to a member of the clergy from their faith whom we trusted. We could say (and mean) that these particular clergy had been trained and understood the trauma of being a victim and that we had good relationships with those clergy. We gave our stamp of approval. We trusted them...so the victim could trust them.I hope these ideas answer your question.
 
 
Our department is developing a faith based initiative with local ministers. The program will be run out of the department. Is there a model of a similiar program we could look at abd is there a name and contact number of the program
 
1.  Rev. T. Mercer
 Yes, in 1997, Rev. Mercer developed such an initiative while Director of Chaplaincy for the Baltimore City Police Department under the under the direction of then, Commissioner Thomas Frazier. Afterwards, she was privileged to become a Visiting Fellow to the Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services (COPs) bringing with her the Baltimore experience, worked to initiate the Value-Based Initiative model in six cities: Fort Worth TX; Fort Wayne IN; Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Redlands, CA and St. Paul, MN. A part of their experiences can be seen on line under Value-Based Initiative: Please see: Law Enforcement, The Faith Community and the Value-Based Initiative If possible, I think you will enjoy talking with some of the principals who developed Initiatives in their cities. Each initiative is different, developed according to the needs of their particular cities.
 
 
As part of our Crime Prevention strategy, we want to fund old and new initiatives with a strong collaborative component. We are exploring ways to engage the faith base community, either as a partner with a non-profit agency or as the lead agency. Program ideas being considered include having churches serve as a "Drop In Center", Training clergy and laymen in "Effective parenting so they can train others and "Adopt a Family with a child involved in the juvenile justice system. How can we recruit churches to take on these types of intense programs and what types of incentives are needed?
 
1.  Elaine Witman
 The program ideas that you mentioned all seem great. Allow me to suggest a few more. 1) We encouraged some churches to host a facilitated peer support group for victims (and their families) at their church. It became a win/win situation. It gave the church something tangible that they could offer people in their community and it gave victims a safe place to recieve support and guidance. One church in Baltimore that serves an Hispanic speaking population was interested in offering a group for people who only spoke Spanish. They needed a Spanish speaking facilitaor which we were able to provide. The pastor told us that his Hispanic congregants would never seek help outside of their community. The church was probably the only place they trusted.2) There is a great program from South Carolina called HALOS. You can check their website. It is a program that matches child protection staff with particular churches in order to address resource needs of the abused children.3) One last idea is to encourage churches to hire either a parish nurse or a pastoral counselor. I know of one church here in Baltimore that employs a parish nurse who then is able to offer a number of programs for parents and children on behalf of the church.
 
2.  G L White-Perry
 It is important to discover what these organizations are already doing to serve the youth of their congregation and their community. These churches already have a track record and a base upon which to build. They can expand existing programs and services to meet a broader cross-section of children and parents from the community. However, I think the churches would need to be provided resource persons. These persons can help them work with their congregation to manage initial resistence they may face from members of the congregation. It also helps if these initiatives come from the state, regional, ,or national bodies of the church to get them to endorse what it is you are doing. They can also encourage the local congregations to work together to do some of these things.
 
 
I am doing research on the effects that religion has in deterring deviant and criminal behavior. I am curious to know if you experience individuals that turn to other avenues of healing, other than religious/faith based practices? If this at all occurs, how do you provide guidance? I thank you for your time.
 
1.  Elaine Witman
  It is important to remember that, while most victims do not become perpetrators of violence and crime, almost universally perpetrators of abuse and sexual violence were victimized or exposed to violence when they were young. Getting treatment for the emotional and spiritual wounds left by violence is as important as tending to the physical wounds. Supporting victims, especially young ones, in their emotional and spiritual healing is the best way to prevent them from future acting out in violent or self-destructive ways. Molesters often begin abusing others when they are still children themselves. Appropriate intervention and support for young offenders is also important. There are two excellent programs that address offender treatment: Stop It Now! www.stopitnow.com and Safer Society www.safersociety.org. The best scenario is when the counselor (therapist) and clergyperson can work together (with the clientcongregants permission) to support himher holistically. Each helper has a critically important role to play.
 
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