Denver Victim Services 2000 Community Advocate Program 2- September 2001 by Mythri


									U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Office for Victims of Crime

                                                                                                        SEPTEMBER 2001

Denver Victim Services 2000 Community
Advocate Program
   ictim Services 2000 (VS2000) is           victim services. Input was gathered from    members of underserved and unserved
V  a multiyear demonstration project
sponsored and funded by the Office
                                             agency and client satisfaction surveys
                                             and from focus groups that included vic-
                                                                                         communities, and they provide crisis
                                                                                         intervention for crime victims in
for Victims of Crime (OVC). The              tims who are traditionally underserved or   these communities and serve as
goal of the VS2000 grant program is          unserved by victim services. The victims    trusted links to agencies providing
to improve the range, quality, and           were asked what services they needed        victim services. As community
accessibility of services for all types      and how those services should be deliv-     members, CAs effectively connect
of crime victims, whether in rural           ered. Victims stated overwhelmingly that    victims with needed services. In
or urban locations. OVC has two ac-          they wanted services located in their       their unique position, CAs can es-
tive demonstration sites: the State          own communities. At the same time,          tablish trust within a community
of Vermont and the greater Denver,           victims in underserved communities ex-      and build bridges between under-
Colorado, area. This fact sheet fo-          pressed a high degree of mistrust for       served or unserved victims and vic-
cuses on Denver’s Community                  both systems-based and community-           tim service providers.
Advocate Program and is one publi-           based (nonprofit) service agencies and
cation in a series on the Denver             were, for the most part, unaware of
VS2000 demonstration project.                services—even those targeted to them.       At Work in the
In 1997, OVC funded Denver as the
                                             This input provided the impetus for         Community
                                             creating the Community Advocate
urban VS2000 demonstration site. The                                                       n Denver, victims often learn
project was guided by the VS2000 vi-
sion: to create a model network of re-
                                                                                         I about CAs through word of mouth.
                                                                                         CAs also publicize their services
sources in the community that provides       What Is a                                   at community meetings and other
innovative, seamless, and integrated vic-                                                gatherings at which they can dis-
tim services. The grant directed that em-
                                             Community Advocate?                         tribute business cards and fliers.
phasis be placed on how to effectively          ommunity advocates (CAs) are             Because CAs participate in commu-
reach underserved and unserved popula-
tions, including victims from diverse cul-
                                             C  part of an outreach initiative of
                                             the Denver VS2000 demonstration
                                                                                         nity activities and meetings, they
                                                                                         become known and trusted by com-
tures and victims with disabilities.         project (referred to hereafter as           munity members. As a result, vic-
                                             VS2000). These individuals are              tims feel safe and comfortable
The Denver VS2000 project began with
                                             known, respected, and involved              asking CAs for help.
a needs assessment to highlight gaps in
When contacted by a victim, the CA           Crimes against people include a range         also was presented at numerous commu-
provides crisis intervention as well as      of violent and nonviolent criminal            nity meetings.
ongoing followup and case management         activity—murder, domestic violence,
                                                                                           Successful applications—
to ensure that victims’ needs are fully      sexual assault, child abuse, robbery, elder
met. CAs help crime victims overcome         abuse, and hate and identity crimes.          s Identified communities in which
barriers to service, such as language dif-   Personal crimes can result in physical,         ideas were generated by the
ferences and mistrust of the system.         mental, psychological, and financial vic-       community and not by one person
Laptop computers give CAs in the field       timization. Crimes against property (real,      or agency.
access to the Denver VS2000 online           personal, and public, among others) also
case management system and online re-        can victimize individuals and entire          s Reflected diverse representation
source directory, which help CAs pro-        communities. Victims of property crime          from the community.
vide better ongoing case management          suffer financial losses and emotional dis-    s Targeted an underserved or unserved
services to victims.                         tress in addition to losing a sense of          population.
                                             security and comfort within their com-
                                             munities. Increases in property crime         s Identified a gap in services for vic-
CAs and Victim                               can compromise a community’s ability            tims of violent crime.
Service Providers                            to function and meet members’ needs.          s Presented a plan for improving
                                             Ultimately, damage from property crime          services.
    s part of the VS2000 network of
A   service providers, CAs have a
ready forum for networking, collab-
                                             can destroy a community as frustrated
                                             members abandon it.                           s Clearly defined other gaps in services.

orating, making and receiving refer-                                                       s Created relevant goals and objec-
rals, and consulting with other              Developing the CA                               tives for addressing the gap(s).
victim service providers. Their
knowledge about service gaps and
issues for underserved and unserved            n establishing the CA Program,
                                                                                           Technical Assistance
victims can inform the development
of a model victim service network.
                                             I VS2000 staff decided to use a grant
                                             application process that would en-            T  he application process was ex-
                                                                                              plained by VS2000 staff to inter-
Denver CAs provide quarterly cross-          sure that funded projects were com-           ested community groups at workshops
training sessions to educate other           munity driven. Development was                in various Denver locations, partic-
victim service providers about their         based on the premise that all neigh-          ularly in areas with large under-
program and about the cultural is-           borhoods and communities have                 served or unserved populations. In
sues central to working with victims         strengths and assets to build on and          addition to background information
in their communities. They also re-          that the community would be more              on the VS2000 project and the CA
cruit and work to maintain commu-            likely to buy in with a community-            Program, workshops offered instruc-
nity representation on Denver                led planning team. The goal was to            tion and technical assistance on—
VS2000 teams.                                place funding for the CA Program
                                                                                           s Application completion.
                                             in competent community hands.
                                                                                           s Development of goals and objectives
Crimes Addressed                             VS2000 staff sent notices of funding
                                                                                             for the CA Program.
                                             availability to more than 800 neighbor-
by CAs                                       hood groups, homeowners associations,         s Budget development.
   ictimization can be caused by             religious organizations, business-owner
V  violent and nonviolent crimes
against people and property. Effec-
                                             groups, and community leaders. VS2000
                                             staff, community leaders, and agency
                                                                                           s Awardee’s fiscal responsibilities to
                                                                                             the VS2000 project.
tive CAs must be aware of all types          representatives hosted a series of local
                                             community television shows to advertise
of crime that can victimize members
of the community and be prepared             the availability of funding. Public service
                                                                                           Pilot Project
to address every victim’s needs and          announcements were sent to radio sta-         Selections
concerns, through direct services            tions, and press releases were sent to
                                                                                              S2000 staff chose three
and referrals.                               neighborhood and city papers. Infor-
                                             mation about the funding opportunity
                                                                                           V  communities to pilot the CA
                                                                                           Program: the predominantly Latino

community in northwest Denver,
several neighborhoods in northeast
                                             For More                                   The Office for Victims of Crime is a
Denver with a mostly African-                Information                                component of the Office of Justice
                                                                                        Programs, which also includes the
American population, and the local              or more information or technical
Muslim community, which is geo-
graphically dispersed throughout
                                             F  assistance regarding the Commu-
                                             nity Advocate Program, contact
                                                                                        Bureau of Justice Assistance, Bureau of
                                                                                        Justice Statistics, the National Institute of
                                                                                        Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice
Denver.                                                                                 and Delinquency Prevention.
                                             Marti Kovener
                                             Project Director
Neighborhood                                 Victim Services 2000
Planning Groups                              303 West Colfax Avenue, Suite 1300
                                                                                                                           FS 000272
                                             Denver, CO 80204
   he organizations chosen to receive
T  CA Program grants had all formed
strong neighborhood planning groups
                                             Fax: 720–913–9090
                                             Web site:
(NPGs) to develop goals and objectives
for the project. NPGs identified the         Office for Victims of Crime
most compelling victim service needs in      U.S. Department of Justice
their communities and formulated plans       810 Seventh Street NW., Eighth Floor
for addressing those needs. An NPG is        Washington, DC 20531
constantly involved in the CA grant be-      202–307–5983
cause it recruits, hires, and supervises     Fax: 202–514–6383
each CA. CAs also serve on the NPG.          Web site:
NPG members assist CAs in their work         For copies of this fact sheet, other OVC
with victims by meeting regularly to dis-    publications, or information on addi-
cuss issues and barriers, participating in   tional victim-related resources, please
strategic planning, and providing guid-      contact:
ance. NPG members also attend
VS2000 steering committee meetings           Office for Victims of Crime Resource
and help with community projects,              Center (OVCRC)
cross-training, and outreach efforts.        Box 6000
                                             Rockville, MD 20849–6000
                                             1–800–627–6872 or 301–519–5500
Conclusion                                   Web site:
   comprehensive OVC bulletin
A  that addresses all aspects of the
CA Program is in development.
Topics of discussion will include—

s Gaps in service to underserved and
  unserved populations.

s Development and supervision of a
  community outreach program.

s Lessons learned from implementing,
  supervising, and evaluating the

s Technology that facilitates provision
  of service to underserved and un-
  served populations and provides an
  online case management system.


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