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  line Chapter 5: Information Exchange

Objective: To facilitate the exchange of information in the crime victims field at the local, state, national, and international levels.

Information is power, and providing up-to-date information and materials to help empower victims and victim service providers is a crucial goal of OVC. To accomplish this goal, OVC offers training and technical assistance, conference support, publications, and other vital information resources through three channels—the OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center, the OVC Resource Center, and the OVC Web site.

OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center

Cover of the OVC Training Resource Guide.
The OVC Training Resource Guide, an annual publication, describes available training developed by OVC discretionary grantees.
OVC’s Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) was created in 1998 to serve as a centralized access point for OVC’s training and technical assistance resources and to funnel needed resources to local, state, tribal, and federal agencies to strengthen their capacity to serve victims. TTAC provides these services through a variety of means designed to make access to OVC resources more user-friendly, efficient, and cost-effective. TTAC focuses on training agencies and organizations on various topics; providing technical assistance in areas such as program development, management, evaluation, and policy and procedure development; operating a speaker’s bureau to identify speakers for conferences, focus groups, and other meetings; and maintaining a consultant pool of experts to support OVC’s initiatives across the country.

TTAC received 191 requests for assistance in its second contract year, May 1999 to April 2000, which represents a 7-percent increase from the first year. Of those requests, 112 were from the field, including private victim services organizations, local and state agencies, departments of corrections, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Federal agencies, and American Indian organizations. Topic areas for the requests included training and presentations on restorative justice, traumatic grief, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, sexual assault, clergy and victims, cultural competence, juvenile justice, elderly victims, and victims with disabilities. Subjects for technical assistance requests included coordination of services, technology, strategic planning, and financial management. Figures 8 and 9 show the number of requests broken out by type of service, organization, and state between May 1999 and April 2000.

Figure 8. Number of TTAC Requests by Type of Service and Organization
(May 1999–April 2000)

Requests by Type of Service

Document Development
Document Peer Review
Meeting Support
Meeting Coordination




Technical Assistance


Speaker's Bureau


Requests by Organization

Department of Corrections
USAO/Federal Criminal Justice




Figure 9. OVC Technical Assistance Requests by State (May 1999—April 2000)

Number of
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
West Virginia
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
*Many of the District of Columbia training and technical assistance requests originated from OVC to support promising practices in the field.

The following are specific tools that TTAC developed to make its training and technical assistance resources more accessible to the public.

  • OVC Training Resource Guide. In an effort to enhance customer service, TTAC created the OVC Training Resource Guide to inform the public about the trainings developed by OVC discretionary grantees. The guide lists all of the OVC discretionary grant curricula available through TTAC and a training calendar with scheduled trainings offered to the public throughout the year. In its first year, TTAC hosted four trainings in Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, and Virginia.

  • Consultant Database. TTAC maintains a pool of expert consultants, deployed onsite to help strengthen services to victims, train on victim issues, and assist service providers with other victim-related activities. To better facilitate access to TTAC’s consultant pool, an automated Consultant Database of more than 250 consultants is available online via OVC’s Web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/assist/welcome.html. Through the database, users can easily locate a consultant for conferences and trainings. Users may search by name, location, and area of expertise.

  • Professional Development Institute. Feedback from the field indicated an interest in training on management issues in victim services. In response, OVC developed the Professional Development Institute, first presented at the National Organization for Victim Assistance conference in Los Angeles, California, in August 1999. The institute is a 16 1/2-hour training presented by experts in human resource and victim services management through five modules—Leadership, Strategic Planning, Human Resources, Evaluation, and Implementation. Participant evaluations from the first institute were exceptionally positive. Through TTAC, OVC is planning to host two institute trainings in 2001.

Other support provided by TTAC in FYs 1999 and 2000 included coordinating focus groups to identify new and emerging victim issues, providing speakers for key conferences and meetings, arranging meetings for Victim Assistance in Indian Country grantees and Victims of Crime Act administrators, and planning OVC’s Third National Symposium on Victims of Federal Crime.

OVC Resource Center

The OVC Resource Center (OVCRC) is a clearinghouse for victim-related information. As a component of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), OVCRC has direct access to the most comprehensive criminal justice library in the world. OVCRC produces, collects, maintains, and disseminates information and resources for victim service providers and allied professionals. When you ask OVCRC for help, knowledgeable information specialists will tailor a response based on your needs using regional and national victimization statistics, research findings, and a network of victim advocates and organizations. OVCRC staff attend local, state, and national conferences and display literature at the OVCRC exhibit table. In addition, OVCRC provides publications and resource materials for training workshops, seminars, and conferences upon request. During 1999 and 2000, OVCRC fielded more than 18,000 requests for information and materials and distributed more than 600,000 documents. The largest number of requests (42 percent) were from local and state lawmakers.

"I wish to express particular gratitude and admiration for the OVC TTAC organization and the absolutely essential mission it is fulfilling. You are a splendid example of how our Federal Government is serving the needs of our citizens at the local level."

-Chaplain K.J. Lewis, Crisis Response Team Coordinator, Midlands Crisis Chaplaincy, Lugoff, South Carolina

OVC Publications

Over the past few years, OVC has greatly increased its capacity to develop publications and products to support victim service providers and allied professionals. These products are disseminated through OVCRC. OVC publications include research findings, statistics, and literature on emerging victim issues; studies of promising practices and demonstration programs with national impact; guides for policy development; and technical assistance and skill-building tools. Other specialized products include customized information packages, fact sheets, and videos. A list of the 74 products OVC published in FYs 1999 and 2000 can be found in appendix E. A few of OVC’s recent publications are listed below.

  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Programs: Improving the Community Response to Sexual Assault Victims. This bulletin updates the field 3 years after OVC released the SANE Development and Operation Guide for starting and administering a SANE program. SANE programs are designed to improve the traditional model for sexual assault medical evidentiary exams. The OVC bulletin offers valuable insight into the difference a SANE program makes to victims and their communities and updated information from SANE programs already in operation. Promising practices presented in this bulletin will help programs and communities address emerging issues, including how a SANE program can find funding after its initial development and what is involved in establishing SANE standards of practice, training, and certification.

  • Understanding DNA Evidence: A Guide for Victim Service Providers. This bulletin discusses the important role forensic DNA evidence plays in solving criminal cases, particularly brutal sexual assaults and homicides. The importance of DNA evidence has grown considerably in recent years as improved technology renders more accurate results and DNA evidence is used more frequently to convict or exonerate defendants. As a result, victim service providers need to know the significance of DNA evidence in victims’ cases. They must be trained to identify DNA evidence and to counsel victims on how valuable it is in apprehending and convicting offenders. The bulletin includes three case studies that reflect the power of a DNA match and reveal the complexities involved in the criminal justice system.

  • Video Series on Children Exposed to Violence. As part of the Children Exposed to Violence Initiative (see chapter 1), OVC funded the development of a five-part video series to focus on the criminal justice system’s role in responding to child victims and witnesses. The series begins with Through My Eyes and continues under the Responding to Child Victims and Witnesses Video Series label. The four videos in the latter group target law enforcement professionals, prosecutors, and court personnel and examine how they can work together to minimize the effect of violence on children. The video series uses the voices and artwork of children to open viewers’ eyes to the magnitude of this problem and the resources that are available to address it.

  • Internet Crimes Against Children. Advanced technology and the Internet have created new opportunities for perpetrators to commit sexual crimes against millions of children who go online daily. The nature of Internet crime poses a complex challenge for law enforcement personnel and victim service providers as they try to protect children and meet their needs, investigate geographically dispersed crimes, gather evidence, and apprehend offenders. This bulletin explores these challenges, the crimes involved, the child victims and their needs, and how best to respond to them and their families.

"With the breadth of the criminal justice field and the various issues that arise, publications and videos provided by OVC, and NCJRS as a whole, make a valuable contribution to practitioners, teachers, and others as we strive to expand our working knowledge to improve professionally and/or to become more informed."

-Mike Pearlman, Adjunct Professor, George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College, Fairfax, Virginia

Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center (OVCRC)
P.O. Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849–6000
TTY 1–877–712–9279
Clearinghouse staff are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. eastern time.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)

Cover of the OVC Products and Services Brochure (January 2001).
The OVC Products and Services Brochure (updated August 2004) describes the OVC resources that help you deliver comprehensive, quality services to victims of crime.

OVC Promotional Materials

OVC recently developed a new videotape, exhibit, and brochure to promote a better understanding of what OVC does and to showcase ways in which OVC can assist the field. They highlight OVC’s three major public access points, OVCRC, TTAC, and the OVC Web site, and describe the general programmatic work done at OVC on behalf of victims. Each item contains the same message— No More Victims. Know More. Ask OVC. The materials will be used for conferences, trainings, briefings, and other opportunities to educate the public about OVC.

OVC Online Resources

The OVC Web site is another way that OVC provides information and leadership to the field. Located at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc, the site provides a wealth of information about OVC, grants and funding, help for victims, training and technical assistance, publications, and resources for international victims. Approximately 60 of OVC’s publications are available online, and new information is continuously uploaded. The OVC Web site also provides links to victim-related publications released by other Office of Justice Programs components. The OVC Web site is accessed by crime victims, victim advocates, VOCA administrators and subrecipients, discretionary grantees, educators, policymakers, and the public. During FY 2000, OVC initiated and completed an effort to make its Web site compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act so people with disabilities can access the information.

"The OVC Web site continues to grow and provide more and more useful material for the public's use in serving the needs of crime victims. Thank you so much for all the continued effort in this project and much needed public access forum."

-Janie Thurman, Victim/Witness Coordinator, U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York, Syracuse, New York

E-Training for Victim Advocates

OVC is committed to using the latest technology to provide information and training resources to the victims field. While OVC recognizes that the Internet offers a unique opportunity in which to carry out this task, there are many questions concerning how best to harness the Web for these purposes and what role, if any, OVC should play. To further this discussion, OVC hosted a special session at the NOVA conference in Miami in August 2000. The discussion made it clear that victim advocates typically want and need more training than they receive and that many different kinds and levels of training might lend themselves to an online environment. The next phases of this project include developing a handbook to help OVC grantees create their own Web-ready training materials and adapting existing “victims and the media” curricula into online training for OVC’s Web site.

"Our editorial team has scoured the Web for the very best government and civic resources and found your site to be top-notch."

-Stephanie Benes, GovSpot.com

VOCA Subgrantee Listserv

OVC recently launched a computerized listserv e-mail system to allow VOCA subgrantees to communicate with one another. The system builds on OVC’s successful listserv for VOCA compensation and assistance administrators. The subgrantee listserv is used to announce new and future projects, programs, available funds, and creative approaches to helping victims of crime, and provides a bulletin board where colleagues can ask questions and request advice. OVC staff update e-mail addresses and periodically purge old requests for feedback. Grantees in reservation-based victim programs funded through VAIC and the Children’s Justice Act also have a listserv to improve communication with OVC and among tribal programs.


Office for Victims of Crime
Report to the Nation 2001:
Fiscal Years 1999 and 2000
December 2001
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