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Promising Practices and Demonstration Projects

To meet OVC's mission of enhancing the Nation's capacity to assist victims, OVC funds the development of national training, technical assistance, and demonstration programs that promote best practices in meeting victims' needs. One area in which these efforts are focused is in meeting the needs of underserved victim populations, including victims with disabilities, victims in Indian Country, and victims in rural areas. Another assistance effort—helping victims of telemarketing fraud—includes an international component. Finally, OVC continues to promote overall strategies that are critical to the growth of victim services, such as the use of technology in creating a coordinated response to victims, and the availability of specialized services such as those for sexual assault victims.

Promising Practices in Serving Crime Victims With Disabilities

SafePlace, a domestic violence and sexual assault services center in Texas that created its Disability Services Program in 1996, has been awarded funding to help 10 victim assistance organizations across the country develop promising practices and models for serving victims with disabilities. SafePlace has competitively selected the subgrantees that will develop or enhance their ability to provide comprehensive, accessible services, and it will provide funding, training, and technical assistance to the 10 program sites. The sites are Worcester, Massachusetts; San Diego, California; Ulster County, New York; Doylestown, Pennsylvania; Tallahassee, Florida; Lafourche Parish, Louisiana; Atlanta, Georgia; Northhampton, Massachusetts; Carbondale, Illinois; and Tucson, Arizona. For more details, visit the SafePlace Web site.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Mobile Unit

OVC provides strong leadership in promoting the development of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs and Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs), which profoundly improve the quality of care provided to sexual assault victims. OVC has funded the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services (FRIS) to address the viability of a mobile SANE unit that would provide medical forensic service to sexual assault victims and to develop a project implementation plan. In FY 2002, FRIS received a planning grant to determine the feasibility of establishing a mobile SANE unit in a rural setting. In FY 2003, FRIS received a supplemental award to implement the project and conduct the following activities: develop a strategic plan, formalize memorandums of understanding with participating hospitals, select the project's administrative body, and develop and deliver a series of training sessions for sexual assault advocates and SANEs participating in the project. For more details, visit the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services Web site.

FBI International Telemarketing Fraud Victim Assistance: The Canadian Eagle Initiative

With OVC support, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has assigned special agents to work directly with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian prosecutors in Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto to advance interdiction efforts against fraudulent, Canada-based telemarketers who target victims in the United States. It is estimated that 80 percent of victims of Canada-based telemarketing fraud are U.S. citizens. The most vulnerable victims are the elderly, who may lose savings accumulated over a lifetime and accumulate debt from which they will never recover. Perpetrators of these fraudulent schemes are known to circulate the names and personal information of "known" victims. These victims, who have already displayed a willingness to send money, are at a heightened risk for repeated victimization.

Since its inception in 1998, the initiative has been very successful. The FBI has uncovered a number of telemarketing and other fraudulent schemes and, in many cases, investigators have been able to return the money victims lost. The FBI also notifies victims about their rights and provides them with information about how to avoid fraudulent schemes. Through the Canadian Eagle Initiative, the FBI strives to provide appropriate services to victims of telemarketing fraud, to reduce the number of persons revictimized, and to minimize the emotional and financial trauma experienced by these individuals. For more information, contact OVC's Federal Assistance Division and American Indian/Alaska Natives at 202-307-5983.

Federal Symposium: Fourth National Symposium on Victims of Federal Crime

Since 1997, OVC has supported a federal symposium to develop strategies that more effectively leverage resources across agencies to better serve victims of federal crime. The goals of the fourth National Symposium on Victims of Federal Crime, which is scheduled for the week of March 7, 2005, are to improve participants' effectiveness in assisting federal victims and, consequently, to enhance victim satisfaction with and participation in the criminal justice system. The symposium is the most important training conference for victim assistance personnel working with victims of federal crime. It will bring together more than 1,000 individuals from diverse sectors of the federal and military criminal justice systems, as well as nongovernmental victim service providers, to explore promising practices, coordinate and network with other victim service providers, and learn about resources to help victims. Participants will learn from national experts about the latest promising practices being developed to help federal victims access and use services and resources. Some of the topics that will be covered include fundamental victim services, basic resources, victim sensitivity, communication skills, victim notification system, and the Attorney General Guidelines. Other key discussions will address the unique needs of particular victim populations, interagency collaboration, program development, legislation, promising practices for cutting-edge issues, new technology, mentoring, and leadership. Conference participants include victim advocates, mental health practitioners, law enforcement officers, criminal investigators, prosecutors, correctional officers, members of the clergy, physicians, and persons assisting federal and military victims, victims of trafficking in persons, and victims in Indian Country. For more information, contact OVC's Federal Assistance Division and American Indian/Alaska Natives at 202-307-5983.

District-Specific Training Program

The District-Specific Training Program is an ongoing effort designed to help U.S. Attorneys comply with federal victims' legislation and improve the response of federal criminal justice personnel to the rights and needs of victims of federal crime. The program provides skills-building training for tribal and federal criminal justice personnel and others who assist crime victims in Indian Country. For more details, visit the Executive Office for United States Attorneys online.

Treasury Offset Program

The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) will support both the efforts of U.S. Attorneys to collect money owed to the Federal Government and victims as the result of court-ordered criminal monetary impositions and the addition of criminal debts to the program. The Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) has proposed that the Treasury Clerk's offices would hold disbursements received into TOP for 6 months. Claims filed during this period would be paid from undisbursed TOP funds. Successful claims filed after the 6-month period would be paid with the funds provided by OVC. Currently, three districts are ready to include criminal debts in TOP. These districts will serve as pilot test districts. If successful, some 34 districts will be added during the next fiscal year. For more information, visit EOUSA online.


Identifying promising practices in victims' rights and services is an important priority. As a result, OVC is committed to evaluating victim assistance efforts to determine the appropriateness of replicating these practices in other jurisdictions and disciplines, and it continues to address the needs of underserved victim populations by identifying and cultivating new programs that serve them. OVC continues to fund promising practices and demonstration projects that meet the needs of victims of child sexual abuse, homicide, elder abuse, gang violence, drunk driving, and terrorism. In addition, OVC has supported several cutting-edge initiatives intended to improve victim access to services, educate victims and allied professionals about victims' rights, and enhance the quality of services.

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