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April 21-27, 2013. 2013 NCVRW Resource Guide. New Challenges. New Solutions.

2013 NCVRW Theme Video


PHIL CLARK: Toni was my oldest daughter. We had a knock on our door on Sunday morning. And there was a Denver detective and a victim's advocate. And they said, "She was killed last night by her boyfriend." It was actually domestic violence. And we had missed the warning signs. When something like this happens to you, the shock hits you, and you get dropped into this whole dark world. You have no idea which direction to go. So I started putting a book together, writing down, okay, this is a question we got to ask the DA. And then the answers I would write in the book, too.

STEVEN SIEGEL: It's no longer okay to say, "This is our criminal justice system and we'll let you in the door and tell you what you need to know." The field has got to be ready to change.

PHIL CLARK: We started talking about, well, we should put together a self-advocate book. Some of the basic things you're going to need to know with just about any kind of crime. Case number, who's the detectives, who are your DAs, the contact information.

STEVEN SIEGEL: And so the innovations started flying. And it quickly came to, well, if a book, why not a website? Why not an app? That's how people communicate nowadays.

SCOTT BERKOWITZ: Technology has always been sort of part of our DNA. There were lots of great local programs, but nothing tied them together. So RAINN came in and started the national hotline, which is routed directly out to local crisis centers. Since we started the National Sexual Assault Hotline in 1994, more than 1.8 million people have gotten help. The Online Hotline has been growing like crazy. We're up about 47 percent over last year. The demographics of this crime are incredibly young. Almost half the victims are under 18. We've got to keep pace and reach them in the way that they're communicating. Many sexual assault victims are dealing with PTSD. And so we created a mobile app that allows them to create a self-care plan. We have breathing exercises, visualization exercises. And it all resides on their phone.

JAMES LYNCH: People are starved for information. You have to know who's getting service and who isn't. And what kind of services are they getting? What kind of training do the staff have, and so on? All these things that, right now, we don't know that much about. Our crime statistics need to catch up.

CATHERINE CHEN: We've got a great start at building a really systematic response to trafficking victims in the United States, but there are these key gaps that have consistently been a challenge. And so much of that is about making sure that a victim service provider who's maybe not addressing trafficking right now has the capacity to also identify a trafficking victim. There isn't necessarily a comprehensive array of data out there that says, you know, here's all of the people that we haven't identified yet.

JAMES LYNCH: The world has changed in a way that our old descriptions are no longer relevant. And the victims' area is certainly one of those. The Victimization Survey has been probably the biggest source of information on victims that we've had in our repertoire. We're trying to mount a survey of victim-serving agencies. The practitioners' side is eager to get this kind of information. You can begin to look at the effect of programs, not just projects, but programs, if you have good data on the magnitude of the problem.

MICHAEL HANCOCK: In 2002, I received probably the most unspeakable phone call. My sister had been shot. It was a murder-suicide. She had been experiencing domestic violence. From that moment forward, I realized we've got to find a better way to help victims of domestic violence in Denver.

MARGARET ABRAMS: Come on in. Have a seat. Service providers take it for granted that we know what services are out there. We hear repeatedly from victims that they have a very hard time figuring out where to go for help and how to find resources and what's safe.

STEVEN SIEGEL: We have to say, "We're open for business here." And we can wrap services around you in a way that is defined by what you tell us you need.

MICHAEL HANCOCK: The goal is to erase that momentary challenge of "Where do I go?" Uncertainty about where I enter the system.

MITCHELL MORRISSEY: What we're trying to do is provide a wrap-around service. If they need childcare, if they need shelter, if they have a pet that's locked up back at home, they can go to one place and find all of the agencies that they need to contact.

MARGARET ABRAMS: When service providers start talking to each other and having working relationships with each other, it really helps increase the quality of services that victims get.

STEVEN SIEGEL: And that's where we are today, is building the public and private partnerships that are necessary to really be a game-changer for crime victims.

CATHERINE CHEN: We need innovation, and we need new ideas. The Partnership for Freedom is about trying to build kind of a consistent level of expertise across the country, looking for ways that we can actually take those innovative solutions and bring them to scale, and making sure that there's a way that service providers and law enforcement are talking to each other, that there's information flowing back and forth.

STEVEN SIEGEL: We have to have a new energy that says we are going to do these things together. We're going to deliver a greater service to a broader group of people. The demographics of our country are changing. The technology of how we deliver service has got to grow with the changes in our society. That's the challenge to all of us.


The Resource Guide is published by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

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