Victim Activism Recommendations
Recommendations for Victim Service Programs
Working directly with
crime victims, victim service programs are in
an excellent position
to educate them about the larger political and
social context of
crime and violence and to create opportunities for
activism. Victim service
Train staff to understand the benefits of community activism
victims and to be aware of opportunities for victims
and outside victim assistance organizations.
Engage crime victims in the leadership and guidance of the
organization through serving on boards and developing
services and programs.
Create speakers' bureaus which recruit and prepare victims
speak at conferences and with legislators, criminal justice
police, medical personnel, and others about the needs
of victims and the causes of violence.
Include battered women as presenters in domestic violence
ing programs for police, service providers and others.
Actively engage victims in paid and volunteer positions throughout
Prepare victim activists to work with the media.
Promote and disseminate information about the value of
victim activism through local and national associations
assistance programs. For example, the National Organization
Victim Assistance and the National Victim Center have
training and technical assistance to foster victim involvement.
Recommendations for Government
As new legislation
and criminal justice reforms have increased
the involvement of
victims in their own cases, the public sector
has gained the ability
to expand victims' involvement in their
with current financial constraints. Many of the
require little or no new resources;
instead, they focus
on shifting priorities for decision making or
program funding. Public-sector
agencies and organizations should:
Actively engage crime victims in the policy decisions that
them. Public hearings on legislation and public policies
victim services, victims' rights, and violence prevention
always include testimony from victims themselves.
Require victim involvement as part of professional curricula
all disciplines that work with victims (e.g., criminal
work, medicine, and law enforcement).
Incorporate community involvement as a funding guideline.
will encourage the creation of programs that engage crime
in service, advocacy and violence prevention roles. Requests
proposals should require victim participation on advisory
as designers of services and projects, and as paid or
Launch demonstration programs to develop the most effective
program models for victim involvement. One possible route
be AmeriCorps, where youth could work in their communities
engage crime victims in social action.
Create opportunities for battered women to become more openly
and actively involved in their communities. Services
battered women and increase their sense of self-determination-
including education, job training, and placement-would
them with the skills and confidence they need to reach
others. Public education programs that debunk the myth
battered women as helpless would increase society's acceptance
of women who do speak out.
Engage crime victims through community policing programs.
Designed to create partnerships between police and the
munities they serve, these efforts are ideal situations
to work with police to reduce crime and help others in
Encourage the involvement of all citizens, along with crime
victims, on issues of victim assistance and violence
through public education (public service announcements,
news and entertainment media). When victims initiate
community-based efforts, they often do so with the understanding
that the injustice they experienced affects all of society.
widespread recognition that crime affects everyone would
a more supportive atmosphere for victim involvement,
reduce some of the social barriers to community activism,
the common tendency to blame the victim.
Support research to document more clearly the benefits of
munity involvement for victims' recovery. This would
rationale and motivation necessary for victim assistance
to create opportunities for victim activism and establish
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