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Building Victim Assistance Networks With Faith Communities: Lessons Learned by the Vermont Victim Services 2000 Project
About This E-PublicationAcknowledgmentsMessage From the DirectorAbout the AuthorsRelated Links
The Need for Collaboration
Victim Needs From a Faith-Based Perspective
Elements of Collaboration
Lessons Learned
Issues Unique to Faith-Based Victim Assistance
Supplementary Materials
Other Initiatives
  Faith Community Professional Education Initiative
  Sudden Death Trauma Program
  Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Services
  Good Samaritans
  Collaborative Response
to Crime Victims
  Helping And Lending Outreach Support
  Peaceful Communities Committee of VEC
Trauma-Specific Resources
Bibliography and Related Resources
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Faith Based Victim Assistance Organizations

Supplementary Materials

Other Initiatives

Faith Community Professional Education Initiative

Denver Victim Services 2000 and Denver Seminary teamed up to develop and pilot a core curriculum for clergy on victimization issues, "Victim Care: Issues for Clergy and Faith-Based Counselors." The curriculum is designed for use either as a formal academic course or an intensive continuing education course and is being disseminated to theology schools across the country for use in their existing curricula. A Web-based format for distance learning that incorporates video lecture, PowerPoint, and written text has also been produced. The curriculum is currently being adapted for a broad range of faiths. For more information, contact Steve Siegel at the Denver, Colorado, District Attorney's Office at 720-913-9022.

Sudden Death Trauma Program

Franne Whitney Nelson, an educational thanatologist and sudden death trauma specialist, has trained the Vermont State Police on death notification and dealing with sudden, unexpected death. This 4-day training includes information about homicide response (trauma that is complicated by the willful injury to the victim), crisis intervention, and bereavement support. She has offered a 2-day version of the training to Vermont's victim advocates, mental health providers, Department of Corrections personnel, clergy members, and first responders. Ms. Nelson has written two handbooks: A Grief Handbook for Victim Advocates: Guiding a Family Step-by-Step Through the Aftermath of Violent Death and A Grief Guide for Crime Victims, both available through the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services. For more information, contact Death Education Consulting, P.O. Box 571, Montpelier, VT 05601, 802-223-7872, [email protected].

Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Services

U.S. Community Chaplaincy developed the "Community Crisis Intervention: Volunteer Responder Basic Training Curriculum" through its Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Services to Crime Victims project. The curriculum will be used to train volunteer law enforcement chaplains to provide nonsectarian support and services, such as death notification, to victims in the aftermath of violent crime. Because of the specialized knowledge required, trainings using this curriculum will be conducted through the OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC). For more information, contact David Vincent at U.S. Community Chaplaincy at 916-834-6765.

Good Samaritans Volunteer Crime Victims Assistance Program

The Mobile County District Attorney's Office developed a training curriculum, "Good Samaritans Program Handbook and Basic Volunteer Training Guide," for communities interested in replicating its Good Samaritans Volunteer Crime Victims Assistance Program. Once released, the curriculum will be used to train faith-based and secular volunteers, law enforcement personnel, and emergency dispatchers to work together to expand services to crime victims. For more information, contact the Mobile County, Alabama, District Attorney's Office at 251-574-8400.

Collaborative Response to Crime Victims in Urban Areas

The Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center established networks of faith-based and secular victim assistance programs to enhance victim services in five urban sites through the Collaborative Response to Crime Victims in Urban Areas project. Each community developed a directory of services, such as shelter, individual and group counseling, legal and personal advocacy, hotline, and recruitment and training of faith-based volunteers. A "Lessons Learned" document is planned for release following the end of the project on October 31, 2006. For more information, contact the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center at 1-877-842-8461.

Helping And Lending Outreach Support

Helping And Lending Outreach Support (HALOS), in Charleston, South Carolina, connects faith-based and civic organizations, businesses, and individuals with the needs of abused and neglected children through the Charleston County Department of Social Services (DSS). These businesses, faith-based and civic organizations, and caring individuals affiliated with a variety of denominations act as HALOS partners who "adopt" local DSS caseworkers to provide services and support to child abuse and neglect victims served by DSS, beyond what DSS is financially and logistically able to provide. HALOS and its partners address some of the tangible and ongoing needs of victims, assisting DSS caseworkers with overcoming the constraints they encounter when aiding abused and neglected children. OVC funded HALOS to institutionalize, evaluate, and expand their program in Charleston. The next phase of the project's development is to replicate the model program used in several communities throughout the country. For more information, contact HALOS, Inc., Director, Kim Clifton, at 843-953-3715.

Peaceful Communities Committee of VEC

This committee is planning three initiatives as a result of its collaboration with the VS 2000 Faith Community Initiative:

Workshops on victim assistance. Staff of the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services and faith leaders will copresent the workshops, which will be offered at the annual meetings or conferences of each denomination. Because these conferences are attended by active lay members of congregations as well as faith leaders, some workshops will focus on teaching laypeople how to assist crime victims with specific needs (e.g., filling out paperwork, providing transportation). Special workshops on teen dating violence and on the role of the church in fostering healthy relationships among its youthful members also will be offered.

A speakers' bureau. The bureau will include members of the Vermont Victim/Survivor of Crime Council and its speakers will be available to address congregations on victims' issues. Its purposes are to encourage survivors to reach out to larger communities and to educate congregations about opportunities for assisting their members. For more information, contact the Peaceful Communities Committee of VEC, P.O. Box 728, Richmond, VT 05477, 802-434-7307, [email protected].

The Spiritual Dimension in Victim Services. This program has conducted a series of inservice training initiatives for clergy. These have included city and statewide training events (the most recent was for clergy and hospital chaplains in high-crime urban areas); a survey of 96 religious denominations concerning the extent of their involvement in victim assistance and their interest in receiving training; and workshops at national and regional denominational events. A product of these training initiatives is the OVC publication Victims of Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Elder Abuse, Rape, Robbery, Assault, and Violent Death: A Manual for Clergy and Congregations, Special Edition for Military Chaplains.

For More Information

For more information about faith-based victim service initiatives, including restorative justice initiatives in Vermont, please contact:

Peaceful Communities Committee of the Vermont Ecumenical Council
Attn: Betsy Wackernagel, Secretary
P.O. Box 728
Richmond, VT 05477

Will Roberts, Training Specialist
Sharon Davis, Victim Service and Restorative Justice Consultant
Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services
58 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05676-1599

For more information about the Vermont Victim Services 2000 Project, please contact:

Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services
58 South Main Street, Suite 1
Waterbury, VT 05676-1599
Fax: 802-241-1253

For assistance in identifying resources and training available to faith-based and other community organizations, please contact:

Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Suite 4413
Washington, DC 20530
Fax: 202-616-9627
[email protected]

For copies of other OVC publications or information on additional victim-related resources, please contact the OVC Resource Center.

Submit questions to OVC.

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