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Chapter 22 Special Topics

Section 6, Rural Victims


Eighty percent of the United States is geographically designated as rural-remote. This section will examine the unique challenges to providing basic victim services in rural-remote regions and promising practices that seek to improve victims' rights and services.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this section, students will understand the following concepts:

  • The problems and issues relevant to providing basic services to victims in rural-remote regions of the United States.

  • Concerns of specific victim populations in rural-remote regions, including victims in Indian Country, victims of domestic violence, and campus crime victims, and potential solutions.

  • Promising practices developed to meet the needs of victims in rural-remote regions.

Statistical Overview

  • Approximately one-third of all Americans (31.2%) live in rural areas (U.S. Census Bureau 1997).

  • In the fourteen years from 1983 to 1997, violent crime in rural counties increased 53% (FBI 1998a).

  • During the first six months of 1998, preliminary statistics showed an 8% increase in murder offenses in towns with populations 10,000 to 24,999, and a 3% increase in rural counties (FBI 13 December 1998).

  • In 1997, violent crimes dropped 6.2% in cities with populations of over one million, while rural counties experienced a 3.1% increase:

    • Robberies increased by 10.7% in rural counties.

    • Forcible rape increased by 9.7% in cities with populations under 10,000 and by 7.4% in rural counties.

    • Motor vehicle theft increased by 4.6% in rural counties (FBI 1998b).

  • The rates of violent crime and personal theft per 1,000 persons age twelve and older in rural jurisdictions was 27.6 overall and 1.5 for rape/sexual assault, 2.6 for robbery, 4.9 for aggravated assault, 18.7 for simple assault, and 0.5 for personal theft (BJS 1999).

  • The first wave of the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth interviewed a nationally representative sample of 9,000 youth who were between the ages of twelve and sixteen at year-end 1996. The survey asked youth to report whether they had ever engaged in a variety of deviant and delinquent behaviors. Youth in rural jurisdictions reported the following:

    • 45% had consumed alcohol.

    • 11% had carried a handgun.

    • 29% had purposely destroyed property.

    • 17% had committed assault.

    • 6% had been arrested (Snyder and Sickmund 1999).


Although rural crime rates have traditionally been lower than urban crime rates, patterns of rural crime now indicate both the exporting of urban problems to rural areas and problems that are unique to rural areas (Edmunds and Wallace 1995). Victims of federal crime who reside in rural areas face serious problems. Many victims must travel long distances to a federal courthouse. Often, these victims face similar attitudual problems that other victims face--lack of understanding of the impact of distance and lack of support services. In addition, rural federal crime victims often can be skeptical about seeking assistance from the U.S. Attorney, feeling the federal official is really not "one of the locals."

Economic problems facing rural areas increasingly affect the nature and extent of crime. The impact on the resources available to communities to respond to crime and to assist victims is enormous. Often the only sentencing option for judges to select is incarceration because few community sentencing programs exist in rural areas.

In addition, aspects of the rural culture may affect crime victims' willingness to report violence and to participate in the criminal justice system. One study found that shoplifting and employee theft were rarely reported to the police. Rather, the cases were handled informally. One criminal justice official said, "I simply can't get people to tell me things. I hear about them two or three weeks later, and when I ask them why they didn't come to see me about it, they say, `Oh, I took care of it myself.' We simply can't get people to take advantage of the services of this office."

Unique Problems Faced by Rural-Remote Victims

In addition to the above mentioned problems facing rural-remote communities are unique issues faced by victims in remote tribal communities, victims of domestic violence living in rural areas, and victims on rural campuses.


Violence on tribal lands is one of the most pressing issues in modern society. A BJS report on crime and victimization among American Indians has found that the rate of violent victimization estimated from responses by American Indians is well above that of other U.S. racial or ethnic subgroups and is more than twice as high as the national average (Greenfeld and Smith 1999).

Feelings of alienation are common among members of various Indian Nations. Problems faced by victims of family violence and gang violence on tribal lands are further complicated by the geographical and jurisdictional issues inherent in tribal justice processes (for more information, see the "Tribal Justice" section of this Text). Confusing and often counterproductive jurisdictional boundaries exist among state, federal, and tribal laws, and the result can be chaos for the victim needing services.

For many rural family violence victims, simply traveling to the local police station to make a report takes on special significance because of the distance, lack of transportation, and time involved in making such a trip. Transportation issues are especially critical for elderly victims and children going to therapy sessions. Travel to criminal justice agencies is exacerbated for tribal crime victims who participate in the federal justice system. Many tribal crime victims have to travel hundreds of miles to participate in the criminal justice process. One crime victim from the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming had to travel over 500 miles to present a victim impact statement at the federal courthouse--and was told of the sentencing hearing the day before.


While far less research has been conducted about rural family violence than family violence in urban areas, in the publication Rural Crime and Rural Policing (Weisheit et al. 1994), the National Institute of Justice indicates the following characteristics and dimensions of rural versus urban family violence:

  • Recent studies indicate that children in rural communities are as likely, and possibly more likely, to be abused or neglected than children in cities.

  • Crimes such as homicide, rape, and assault are more likely to occur among acquaintances in rural areas than in urban areas.

  • While limited surveys of the level of rural domestic violence have been conducted, an Ohio study found that the least populated jurisdictions had the highest rates for domestic violence disputes.

  • Although rural families face the same drug, alcohol, poverty, and stress problems as do families who live in metropolitan areas, rural communities typically have fewer resources.

Many rural counties have very low populations. Currently, one out of three rural counties (850) has fewer than 10,000 residents. This presents a challenge to establishing even basic services for crime victims, such as counseling for child abuse victims and shelters for battered women. Many rural domestic violence victims face the additional problem of not only having to leave their home to find safety but their community as well. Often, the nearest shelter may be several communities and many miles away. Not only are these victims forced to leave whatever support network is available, but also their children must be taken out of school in order to reach safety.

The effects of geography also pose serious problems for rural family violence victims. Distance affects the response time and the speed with which law enforcement and emergency services respond to victims' calls for assistance. While urban areas judge emergency response time in minutes, access to medical treatment in rural areas generally takes longer. In addition, rural law enforcement waits longer for backup assistance, thus forcing difficult decisions by on-site personnel between responding to dangerous situations alone or delaying critical emergency responses.

Overall, the issues of rural family violence and rural justice have not received national attention in the development of policies and protocol for law enforcement or other areas of the criminal justice system. In light of the relative scarcity of resources in rural-remote areas, the need for collaboration within the criminal justice system and neighboring communities is critical. It is essential that victim assistance programs target the identification of other service organizations and criminal justice agencies that are available for and/or interested in coordinating and collaborative efforts. The unique needs of rural-remote victims must be viewed with an eye toward unique solutions that maximize current community and neighboring area resources.


In 1998, the National Criminal Justice Association, with support from the Office for Victims of Crime, sponsored a project to examine rights and services for people victimized on or around institutions of higher education. A multidisciplinary focus group discussed relevant issues, including the challenges of providing victim assistance, supportive services, and protective measures to victims on campuses in rural-remote regions of the United States, and recommended solutions:

The basic demographics of rural-remote campuses contribute to limited victim services, as well as less victim accessing of available services. Campuses tend to be smaller, and may not be as "connected to the community" as campuses in urban or suburban settings. Often, confidentiality concerns are escalated because "everyone knows everyone," and "rumor mills are rampant." Victims may be more likely to know their offenders, which can pose both confidentiality and protection concerns. Services for offenders (such as treatment, rehabilitation and supervision) are limited as well. In addition, the homogenous demographics of some rural-remote campuses can pose challenges to providing quality, supportive services to victims who do not match the general characteristics of the student population. Students of color may perceive greater jeopardy, both in their chances of being victimized, and in reporting crimes and receiving supportive services.

While 80 percent of the United States is rural-remote, there is less infrastructure available to support public safety and victim assistance initiatives in such jurisdictions. Traditionally, much funding for such services has been population-based (although this factor is changing).

In some rural jurisdictions, experimentation with alcohol and other drugs begins at earlier ages because "there is nothing to do." Guns may be more prevalent. There may be a "false sense of security" among people on campus because crime rates in rural-remote areas have historically tended to be lower than in urban or suburban jurisdictions (although this, too, is changing with the arrival of traditionally urban gang-and drug-related activities in remote-rural communities).

Victim-related issues at religious institutions of higher education can be complex. There are concerns that victims may be partially or fully blamed for their victimization, and that victims who are unable or unwilling to "forgive" the perpetrator may be alienated or ex-communicated.

Law enforcement services are much more limited in remote-rural jurisdictions:

  • There are fewer officers who are trained in investigations, laws and services relevant to crime victims. This may be a direct result of beliefs that "crime happens less often" in rural-remote regions, resulting in less focus on victim-sensitive training and victim assistance.

  • There is a lack of vertical units that specialize in specific crimes and victimization, i.e. domestic violence and sexual assault.

  • The availability of crime labs and forensic units is limited, resulting in more reliance on state agencies (which can cause significant delays in case processing).

  • Some rural-remote jurisdictions do not even have "911" emergency telephone systems.

In smaller communities with campuses, some positive elements were identified by focus group participants:

  • A victim may be more likely to know somebody in law enforcement, and can quickly call for assistance.

  • There may be greater informal social controls that contribute to fewer crimes committed, as well as a tendency of community members "to look out for each other."

  • Citizen involvement and awareness can be high.

Potential solutions suggested by focus group participants included:

  • Assessing the scope and level of victim services provided by the campus or the community; identifying gaps in services; and working collaboratively to fill such gaps.

  • Developing collaborative public safety initiatives and plans for response to crime between campus and community law enforcement, and campus and community leaders.

  • Establishing transportation services (utilizing trained volunteers, as necessary) to enhance victim access to supportive services, medical and mental health services, and participation in justice processes.

  • Expanding outreach efforts to recruit human and financial resources for victim assistance from the community.

  • Adoption of "honor codes" to guide students' behavior and values that are directly linked to mores of the local communities.

  • Sponsorship of activities that empower students to establish honor codes, contribute to crime prevention initiatives, and establish peer mentoring and supportive services for students who are victimized (Seymour 1998).

Federal Grant Programs that Address Rural Victimization

Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Enforcement Grants at the Office of Justice Programs improve and increase services available to rural women and children by encouraging community involvement in developing coordinated responses to domestic violence and child abuse. Grant recipients include:

  • The Maine Rural Health Family Violence Initiative coordinates services for battered women and abused children using health care providers as the first line of defense. The project fosters collaboration between service providers and law enforcement, provides on-site intervention, and is developing training programs that will be tested in four settings, including two Native American health clinics and the state's largest hospital.

  • The Greater Rural Assistance and Intervention Network (GRAIN) comprehensively responds to domestic violence and child victimization in seven rural counties in northwest Iowa. The project provides direct services, training for agencies involved in providing services to victims, develops protocols for law enforcement and prosecutors to promote victim safety and offender accountability, and sponsors prevention education for young people.

The STOP (Services Training Officers Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program awards funds to states and territories to restructure and strengthen the criminal justice system's response to violence against women. For example:

  • The Farm Worker Women Leadership Project in California developed a model for identifying farm worker women in California communities to receive training in sexual assault and domestic violence awareness, prevention strategies, and available resources. In turn, these women train others in their communities about these issues.

Four percent of the amount budgeted each year for the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program is awarded to Indian tribal governments. Examples include:

  • The Osage Nation in Oklahoma has developed written policies and procedures on domestic violence for law enforcement officers; the prosecutor and courts are establishing a more specific domestic violence code; the Osage Nation Counseling Center has hired a domestic violence/sexual assault counselor who is available during non-business hours; and thecounseling center and the tribal court are collaborating to set up a treatment group for offenders.

  • The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina established a new shelter, hired a criminal investigator, and provides battered women with court advocacy to help them navigate the tribal justice system.

  • The Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota launched a campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence. The tribe also made policy and legal changes to stiffen sanctions against offenders and improve services for battered women.

(The previous section has been excerpted from a report prepared by the Rural Task Force, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC, 1998.)


Chugachmiut CJA program. Disclosure of extensive child sexual abuse in reservation boarding schools and several multiple-victim child molestation cases on remote Indian reservations resulted in an amendment authorizing the Office for Victims of Crime to use Children's Justice Act (CJA) funds in Indian Country to improve the handling of child sexual abuse cases. The Chugachmiut CJA program is located in the Chugach region of Alaska, a region comprising seven Native Alaskan villages along the southern coastal area between Icy Bay and Prince William Sound to the southwest tip of the Kenai Peninsula. This program received a grant to implement systems for recognizing child abuse, intervening in child abuse cases, and protecting children in the villages. Many villages are accessible only by air or sea travel, and this isolation causes gaps in service delivery. The CJA grant allowed project staff to assist each village in establishing Child Protection Teams, offer training to village residents, increase community awareness and education, create a directory of service referrals, and develop a data collection and tracking system for reporting, referring, and responding to child sexual abuse. Chugachmiut is focusing on establishing written protocols and procedures to formalize a Child Protection Team established in each community (OVC 1997).

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservations Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (Montana). Through an interagency agreement with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime has funded the Tribal Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program in Indian Country. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation CASA Program is a model program, and has established groundbreaking precedence in utilizing volunteers to assist child victims in remote areas of Indian Country. The Program made a determination that having a volunteer program would improve and enhance the quality of the representation and assure that the tribal court could make decisions in the best interests of the child. The Tribal CASA Program has been successfully recruiting, training, and supervising volunteers. The program has been providing community education concerning the program and exploring possible financial resources to assist the program (such as the use of tribal court filing fees and fines to pay for CASA volunteer expenses).

    The program has also successfully worked with the Salish and Kootenai Community College to recruit and train students as CASA volunteers and to provide college credit for these students. The program has sought to promote cultural sensitivity by recruiting traditional cultural leaders as volunteers, utilizing these traditional leaders as trainers in the volunteer training. The program has also developed draft tribal code CASA provisions. The National CASA Association has unofficially designated the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation CASA Program as the Tribal Court CASA Mentor site (National CASA 1999).

National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry

The National Grange is the oldest nationwide agricultural and rural public interest organization in the United States, with over 300,000 Grange members affiliated with 3,600 local, county, and state Grange chapters. The National Grange sponsors numerous initiatives that promote victims' rights and public safety, including the following:


  1. We support increased protection for those who serve on juries. We oppose any publication or disclosure of jury deliberations, as they are confidential and should remain so.

  2. The National Grange supports legislation to assure that victims and witnesses of violent crimes (including but not limited to murder, attempted murder, sexual assault, and assault) must be notified in writing at least 60 days before any and all hearings in which the person who has been convicted of that crime seeks release or a change in release status from either a prison or mental institution.

  3. The National Grange encourages print and broadcast news media to be sensitive to the issues involving their coverage of crime and victimization, in order to better respect the privacy of crime victims.


Grange members, like all rural citizens, cherish being secure in their homes, free of crime and fear. However, crime is increasingly making its way into rural communities. Urban street gangs extend their influence into rural towns to recruit new members. Drug dealers use rural locations to manufacture toxic drugs to poison youth. Rural communities are inadequately prepared to recognize, prevent and address occurrences of domestic violence. The basic rights of violent crime victims in rural areas go unprotected. Rural law enforcement agencies, often under-funded and under-trained to deal with these threats and challenges, strain to provide basic public safety.


  • For three years, the National Grange Junior Program has sponsored a series of workshops entitled "Stop the Violence" for Junior Grange members and a separate training workshop for adult group leaders. These workshops are conducted in conjunction with the National Grange Annual Convention every year. Resource materials are made available for local adult leaders to utilize in their programs. They are designed to help children recognize, address and control their impulses toward violence and to use peaceful means to resolve differences. They help make children aware of portrayals of violence in popular media and the difference between fantasy and reality. The workshops also address situations where children may have been a victim of violent behavior by another person (either peer or adult) and attempt to help children restore their confidence and self esteem.

  • The National Grange operates one of the largest Community Service programs in the nation, designed to channel volunteer activities into worthwhile community projects in rural areas. In 1999, Grange members donated 1,434,719 hours of volunteer service to projects to improve their communities. An additional 125,863 hours were further donated by non-Grange members in support of the activities of local Granges.

    Many award winning Grange Community Service programs address victims' issues and violence preventive measures in local rural communities. Local programs that received national recognition for their commitment to improving rural communities in 1999 include:

    • Starting a teen suicide and violence prevention program in Watkins Glen, New York.

    • Sponsoring a Community Visions program in Midland County, Michigan, that identified the formation of gang and violence outreach partnerships as one of the top three priorities for volunteer commitment to improve the community.

    • Providing volunteer and financial support to establish a battered women's shelter in Michigan City, Indiana, including creating and donating more than 200 "necessity bags" filled with basic necessity articles for women and their families who are forced to quickly leave abusive situations.

    • Organizing a community drive to make more than 100 stuffed toys for donation to local and state police, fire, and EMT to help calm children who were the victims of traumatic circumstances, including domestic violence, in Beach Community, Virginia.

    • Organizing volunteer and financial support for the Rural Women's Crisis Center in Nampa Valley, Idaho.

For more information about the National Grange, its programs, polices, and membership services for rural Americans, please contact: The National Grange, 1616 H St., NW, Washington, DC 20006-4999 (888-4-GRANGE) (fax: 202-347-1091) www.nationalgrange.org lwatson@nationalgrange.org (e-mail).

Promising Practices

  • Family Resources Center, Wytheville, Virginia. Family Resources Center, a private nonprofit agency, provides victim assistance services to victims of child physical and sexualabuse, sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence in seven counties in rural southwest Virginia. The program is supported by both Victims of Crime Act, and more recently, Violence Against Women Act funding. In many areas of this part of the state, Family Resources provides the only services available for crime victims. For example, in Wythe County, where the Center is located, there are no victim-witness assistance services based in the criminal justice system.

    Transportation is the number one barrier to victims accessing services in this part of Virginia. The Center provides transportation for victims to criminal justice related appointments and to medical, psychological, or other critically needed treatment providers. However, due to the mountainous terrain throughout the seven counties served by the Center, such services often pose risks to both advocates and victims, especially during winter months.

    In addition to providing transportation to help reduce the barriers to assistance, the Family Resources Center operates a toll-free 800 number because over four-fifths of their service area is long distance.

    The Center also operates a satellite office to provide victim services to victims living in isolated jurisdictions without transportation. Services are providing in outlying counties once a week. With VAWA funding, the Center plans to open a second office in another isolated location with coverage three to four days per week.

  • Alternatives Incorporated of Madison County, Anderson, Indiana. Alternatives Incorporated of Madison County, Indiana, is a nonprofit organization that serves victims of adult and child sexual assault, domestic violence, elder abuse and neglect, and child abuse and neglect. While its primary service jurisdiction is Madison County, it also provides outreach and support to victims in three other counties-Hamilton, Hancock, and Henry counties. A total population of 130,000 is located in rural communities throughout the four-county area.

    The program receives support from local, state, and federal grants, including Victims of Crime Act and Violence Against Women Act funding, and in-kind donations. The program employs four full-time staff and ten part-time volunteers.

    Alternatives Incorporated has created a special domestic violence prevention program entitled HAVEN-Healthcare and Advocates Violence Elimination Network. The unique program is a collaboration between Alternatives Incorporated and rural hospitals. It is designed to identify domestic violence victims within communities and to produce an innovative response to domestic violence through the health care network.

  • Sheridan County, Wyoming Crime Victim Assistance Program. The Sheridan County Prosecuting Attorney and the Women's Center have combined resources to develop a comprehensive crime victim assistance program in Sheridan County, Wyoming. The town of Sheridan serves as the county center and has a population of 14,000. Including several other satellite towns, the total population of Sheridan County is almost 30,000--a geographic area that encompasses hundreds of miles, including mountain regions.

    The Sheridan County Crime Victim Assistance Program has been in existence in this rural setting for just over two years. Prior to the establishment of the Crime Victim AssistanceProgram, no services were available for crime victims in Sheridan County, other than those offered by the Women's Center for family violence, sexual assault, and child abuse victims. For the most part, these crisis services tapered off when the victim went to court. The Women's Center and the County Attorney felt that victims would be more consistently and thoroughly served with the unique combination of services provided by the Center's experienced staff, and the information and space made accessible by the County Attorney's office.

    The program has increased the range of victim services in the county. Advocacy services are now available to all victims of violent crime. Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or child sexual abuse have the added benefit of advocates trained to provide criminal justice system information, court escort, and other services. Victims of arson, burglary, homicide, or elder fraud have a place to turn to for further assistance and support. The program has also increased victim satisfaction with the prosecutor's office and has assisted the prosecutor's office in implementing programs to further protect victims' rights. Recent collaborative efforts have resulted in the development of comprehensive protocol for the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence and sexual assault cases (Wallace and Edmunds 1998).

  • Carroll County Victims Assistance Program, Carrollton, Ohio. The Victim Assistance Program in the Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney's Office in Carrollton County, Ohio, serves victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, felonious assaults, and other serious crimes. With over 50 percent of their caseload being domestic violence cases, the victim assistance program established special services for families experiencing domestic violence.

    With support from a private foundation, the prosecuting attorney's office started classes for children who live in domestic violence homes. The program is called KIDDS-Kids in Domestic Dispute Situations. The classes are held once a week for two age groups. They last one hour each and to date the program has served over thirty children. As the program director noted: "This may not seem like a lot, but we feel we have accomplished something with these kids who have lived in domestic situations." In addition, as an alternative to jail, the prosecuting attorney's office also started classes for men who abuse. They meet once a week in a group with a trained counselor.

  • Penn State Center for Research on Crime and Justice. The intricate causes of crime and its impact on rural and suburban communities are examined and analyzed at the Penn State Center for Research on Crime and Justice. Communities and crime are being examined in the context, for example, of different crime rates by victims' age, gender, and race as well as by neighborhood, including related factors such as the amount of housing, how often residents move in and out of town, the structure of area families, and economic issues. A particular focus is on how decisions are made in the criminal justice system by victims, police, prosecutors, judges, juries, and other groups, and how the results may affect a community. Additional information about this project is available electronically from http://www.psu.edu/ur/NEWS/news/crimeresearchcenter.html.

  • Rural Crime Watch. In California, the Rural Crime Watch program is a service of the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) to assist law enforcement agencies in sharinginformation about rural crimes. Extensive information is available in both paper and electronic formats on equipment thefts, commodity thefts, Rural Crime Task Force meetings, information and tips about thefts and scams, and information about rural crime prevention programs. The CFBF Web site http://www.cfbf.com also contains links that enhance intercounty information exchange as well as information about crime prevention and victim assistance.

  • Student interns cover bases in four-county rural Tennessee. Through a collaboration with several colleges in the rural, four-county Tenth Judicial District of Tennessee, the Victim/Witness Assistance Program at the District Attorney General's office maintains four offices by relying on student interns to deliver services to victims and witnesses. The student intern program offers academic credit to criminal justice and social service majors, providing them with exposure to the system from the perspective of prosecutors, victims, and witnesses. Applicants to the Intern Program participate in a training program at the District Attorney General's office to learn about the role that victims and witnesses play in the criminal justice system, and they attend General Sessions Court to learn about court procedures. Interns are assigned to attend preliminary hearings to provide victims and witnesses with up-to-date information on the status of their cases, and to help them obtain answers from the prosecutors to any questions that they may have. Victim/Witness Administrator, Office of the District Attorney General, 10th Judicial District, 130 Washington Avenue NE, Suite 1, P.O. Box 647, Athens, TN 37371-0647 (423-744-2830).

  • Support from the clergy. The Victim Witness Division of the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, based in Maui, HI, provides more immediate response to victims on rural Maui and the lesser populated islands of Molokai and Lanai by involving clergy-based volunteers trained in victimization. The clergy has been a natural support group in the rural Hawaiian areas, and their participation has improved cooperation and communication between criminal justice professionals, victim services, and rural victims. Victim Witness Assistance, Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, 200 South High Street, Wailuku, HI 96793 (808-243-7695).

  • Multidisciplinary teams and full service response. Malheur County, OR is a geographically large, culturally diverse, rural county with a small population (30,000) and a high rate of domestic violence--102 reported cases in the first six months of 1999. The Domestic Violence Unit was formed to develop immediate response capability, a consistent protocol for contacting victims and keeping them involved and informed while their cases are processed, and a collaborative relationship with community services that provides victims with ongoing support. Team members (a deputy district attorney, a crisis coordinator, and a police officer) are bi-lingual, trained domestic violence specialists.

    The district attorney is on call to law enforcement 24 hours a day. When a domestic violence incident occurs, he or she stays in close contact with the police officer dispatched to the scene of the crime in order to assess the situation and insure that information on the case is taken correctly. Arrests are made under a mandatory arrest law. Following the incident, the Unit Crisis Coordinator meets with the victim to enhance the safety of the family, to interview potential witnesses, and to determine the necessity of a restraining or anti-stalking order. Office of the District Attorney, Courthouse #6, 251 B Street West, Vale, Oregon 97918 (541-473-5127).

Rural Victims Self-Examination

1. What basic issues present barriers to rural crime victims in accessing crime victim services and assistance?


2. Name three specific victim populations and the special problems they face when they are members of a rural-remote community.


3. What problems are encountered by students who are victims of crime on campus at a rural-remote institution of higher learning?


4. List three community/agency solutions that may be implemented to assist rural-remote crime victims in accessing quality victim assistance.



Chapter 22.6: Rural Victims

Brief Description of Exercise/Activity: At past Academies, victim service providers from rural jurisdictions have offered important insights into the needs of victims in rural areas, and the difficulties that victim service and justice professionals have in meeting their needs.

Seek two or three student volunteers who work in rural and tribal jurisdictions at least one day prior to this class. Ask them to lead a mini-lecture and facilitate a group discussion that addresses the following issues:

1. Special needs that victims in rural areas might have.

2. How are victims' rights and services accessed?

3. Any difficulties in providing victims in rural areas with rights and services.

4. Potential solutions for overcoming these obstacles to rights and services.

Goals of Activity:

1. To identify the unique needs of victims in rural jurisdictions, and discuss challenges to providing such victims with appropriate rights and services.

2. To provide a forum for students who work with clients from rural jurisdictions to share their knowledge and practical experiences with other NVAA students (and to add their insights to future updates of this chapter!)


    __X__ Tear sheets and felt pens

    _____ VCR/monitor

    _____ Overhead projector and screen

    __X__ Masking tape

    _____ Index cards

    _____ Individual or group work sheets (please provide)

    __X__ Other (please describe): Envelope to mail responses to Morna Murray at VALOR.

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Chapter 22 Special Topics June 2001
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