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Suggested Events To Promote New Directions

Sponsoring a New Directions
Community Forum

Timing of the release of New Directions Task Force findings and recommendations is a critical element that should be explored by organizers of the Task Force so that the findings are well received by both the public and the media. Task Force members may wish to consider releasing their findings and recommendations to coincide with the schedule of one or more victim-related weeks held throughout the year. For example, the release of New Directions Task Force findings and recommendations can be released during National Crime Victims' Rights Week in April or during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. A Commemorative Calendar with other possible victim/crime-related days, weeks, and months can be found at the end of this section.

Historically, community forums have been used to bring together a variety of individuals who share a common interest, issue, or concern. For instance, a community forum using New Directions as its planning guide is one way a community can improve communications among its citizens and city, county, State, Tribal, and military leaders about individual and community crime and victimization. The success of a community forum depends upon collaborative sponsorship that reflects the interests of all key stakeholders in justice. A cross-agency planning committee also will ensure that the workload is shared to implement the New Directions Community Forum. Consider teaming with other allied victim service professionals, business leaders, nonprofit advocacy groups, and other interested community partners to host the forum.

The following planning steps address logistical issues that should be considered when planning a New Directions Community Forum.

Step One: Incorporating New Directions into the Community Forum

  • Review the New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century Report, Implementation Guide, and its companion New Directions videotape to determine an appropriate community agenda and central theme for discussion/presentation during the forum.

  • Once a central theme has been identified, consideration should be given to the replication and distribution of appropriate resources found in this Implementation Guide to increase public awareness of the forum's chosen issue or concern. For example, if the forum is being held to review local law enforcement's response to crime victims, it would be appropriate to copy and distribute the law enforcement pocket cards found in the Camera-Ready Resources section or the law enforcement-specific recommendations found in the Master List of New Directions Recommendations section to all forum attendees.

Step Two: Determining the Format

All formats should allow for questions from the audience either during or at the conclusion of the presentation.

A sample New Directions Community Forum might include:

  • Moderated Panel Presentations:
    A panel discussion by community officials, victim service program providers, and crime victims about the community's concerns relevant to crime and victimization, and how New Directions' five global challenges might be incorporated into existing programs and services to improve the community's overall response to crime victims. (A listing of the five global challenges can be found in the Global Strategies for Implementation section of this Guide, along with suggested strategies for action.)

  • New Directions Task Force Panel:
    A panel discussion by members of community or statewide New Directions Task Forces to release findings for community implementation of New Directions recommendations.

  • New Directions Videotape Review:
    A screening of the 18-minute companion videotape to the New Directions publication, incorporating "stop" and "start" points during the viewing to allow for panel and audience discussion of key points, and how its contents can be applied to enhance the community's awareness of victim-related issues. (Suggested key questions for the videotape discussion can be found in the New Directions Videotape discussion guide.)

Note: When selecting a moderator for any of the suggested New Directions Community Forum formats, consideration should be given to selecting someone who is both knowledgeable about victim rights and services, and is comfortable speaking in front of large audiences. Suggested moderators could include: a crime victim, justice system officials, elected officials, or a chairperson of a victim-related task force or advisory group.

Step Three: Who Should Be Invited?

Community Forum attendees might include:

  • Crime victims and victim service professionals.

  • Elected local officials.

  • Representatives of local print and broadcast media.

  • Representatives of the criminal justice continuum, i.e., law enforcement, prosecutorial, judicial, corrections, and court administrative representatives.

  • Citizen action civic groups.

  • Educators and academia.

  • Medical and mental health practitioners.

  • Religious and spiritual leaders.

  • Representatives from the business community.

  • Representatives of philanthropic groups.

New Directions Community Forum organizers also may wish to consider additional methods to increase participation among community members who may wish to attend. These additional methods may include:

  • Providing onsite, live participation via the Internet.

  • Partnering with a local radio talk show to air the forum and allow for viewer listening call-in response.

  • Asking a local cable access channel to air the forum live and allow for viewer call-in response.

  • Linking multiple sites together utilizing compressed video or other satellite technologies.

Step Four: Selecting a Location to Hold the Community Forum

An appropriate location to convene the Community Forum might include a:

  • School or hospital auditorium.

  • Municipal or county courthouse.

  • Local church or synagogue.

  • Public library.

  • Courtroom.

  • Civic auditorium.

Step Five: Selecting a Date for the Community Forum

Consideration should be given to holding the Community Forum in conjunction with a national public safety and victim awareness commemorative event to increase media attention and garner public support. Sponsors can join local advocacy organizations in a celebration of a victim/criminal justice-related commemorative event. For example, consider co-hosting the forum with local victim assistance programs during National Crime Victims' Rights Week or local domestic violence programs and shelters during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Commemorative weeks and months for 2000 include:

Samples of Some National Crime-Related Commemorative Events

National Child Abuse Prevention Month
National Sexual Assault Awareness Month
National Crime Victims' Rights Week

National Law Day
National Correctional Officers Week
National SAFE KIDS Week
National Police Week
National Missing Children's Day

National Night Out

Crime Prevention Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
American's Safe Schools Week
Annual Week Without Violence
National Red Ribbon Week

Ninth Annual Speak Out

National Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness Month

Step Six: Concluding the New Directions Community Forum

When organizing the New Directions Community Forum, consideration should be given to the forum's conclusion, including:

  • Who will make closing remarks indicating the conclusion of the forum? (Suggested speakers might include the moderator, a criminal justice official, or elected official.)

  • Will there be a process to continue the study of ongoing concerns or issues, and/or the implementation of solutions made by panel members or members of the general audience to address specific issues or concerns discussed during the forum? Which person or agency will be assigned this responsibility?

  • How can the sponsors challenge the participants to take individual and collective action to improve victims' rights and services?

  • How will followup information be shared with the group in the future?

  • Who will thank panel and audience members for their participation?

New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century
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