Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $350,000)
The primary aim of OVC's FY 2017 Vision 21 Integrated Services for Victims Program: Increasing Access to Mental Health Services for Victims of Crime (Vision 21 ISV Program) is to bridge the divide between crime victims, victim services providers, and mental health services providers so that communities are able to create a seamless network of services to assist crime victims to recover, heal, and thrive. The Vision 21 ISV Program includes five purpose areas. This project is funded under Purpose Area Purpose Area 2A: Increasing Access to Victim Services for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Who Have a Serious Mental Illness (SMI). Awards funded under this program purpose area are intended to: (a) aid domestic violence and sexual assault services providers with properly identifying victims who have an SMI, referring them to mental health services treatment, and adapt their operational policies and procedures to ensure that victims with SMI have full and equal access to the services offered by their programs; and (b) assist mental health services providers with revising their intake/assessment procedures to include screening for domestic violence or sexual assault victimization, and referring clients to specialized domestic violence or sexual assault resources.
The Center for Women and Families (CFWF) is a nonprofit organization that has provided domestic violence shelter services and rape crisis center for a nine county area that encompasses Louisville, KY and Southern Indiana for more than 40 years. CFWF also: operates a 24 hour crisis hotline; an on-site sexual assault advocacy program at local hospitals; an alternative community-based facility where victims of sexual assault may undergo a forensic exam; administers a transitional housing program; offers specialized counseling and advocacy services for children who have witnessed domestic violence; conducts community education and outreach campaigns on issues like teen dating violence and bystander intervention; and works collaboratively with other key community stakeholders on violence prevention efforts. For this project, CFWF has partnered with Our Lady of Peace (OLP), a private, nonprofit hospital that offers comprehensive mental health services to individuals who have a serious mental illness including inpatient and outpatient behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services.
Together, CFWF and OLP will use the funding from this project to: (1) complete a community needs assessment and strategic plan to address systemic and other barriers that prevent victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who have a serious mental illness from accessing the services and support they need; (2) develop and implement a bi-directional screening and referral protocol to ensure that both CFWF and OLP staff are able to identify victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who have a serious mental illness and refer them to appropriate services; (3) hire a 1.0 FTE Therapist/ Project Manager to oversee the development and implementation of the project, coordinate with OLP and CFWF's advocates on cross-referrals for services, provide individual counseling to CFWF shelter residents who have a serious mental illness, and work with OLP on developing a screening and referral protocol among other duties; (4) hire a 1.0 FTE Advocate to assist CFWF clients who have a serious mental illness by providing intake assessment and case management services, as well as medical and legal advocacy services; and (5) increase access to substance and alcohol abuse treatment for victims.