August 25, 2016
The Victims of Crime Act, passed in 1984, created the Victims of Crime Act Fund, or VOCA Fund, to be a protected and dedicated source of funding for crime victim programs. The VOCA Fund does not depend on taxpayer dollars – it is derived from fines and penalties on offenders at the federal level. VOCA dollars are distributed to the states to support two important types of programs: crime victim compensation programs, which pay many of the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by victims as a result of crime, and victim assistance programs, which provide victims with support and guidance in the aftermath of crime. The Idaho Council on Domestic Violence & Victim Assistance oversees the VOCA victim assistance funds.
In December 2014, Congress through the leadership of Senator Crapo raised the cap on the VOCA fund, significantly increasing the amount of funds Idaho receives from $2,654,000 in 2014 to $10,282,000 in 2015. As a result, the Idaho Council was able to significantly increase the grants awarded to many of Idaho’s domestic and sexual violence programs and other victim service providers from $3,332,995 in 2014 to $5,090,744 in 2015 to $7,493,677 in 2016.
Senator Crapo is holding a news conference about the impact of the increase of the VOCA cap on community and tribal domestic and sexual violence programs as well as efforts to end sexual assault on college campuses this week at Idaho State University and Boise State University.
Sarah O’Banion, Executive Director of the Family Services Alliance and Audrey Jim, Executive Director, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Victims of Crime Assistance Program, spoke at Senator Crapo’s news conference on Tuesday, August 23rd on the impact of the increase funds on the ability to provide services to survivors. On Friday, August 26th at 10:30, Bea Black, Executive Director, Women & Children’s Alliance and myself will speak to Senator Crapo’s leadership on the re-authorization of VAWA and the increase of the VOCA funds.
Finally, we want to express our deep gratitude for the many years George Gutierrez served as the Director of Idaho’s Crime Victim Compensation. George recently accepted a position with the Idaho Medicaid Division. Kristi Abel, who has worked with Idaho’s Crime Victim Compensation for many years has been appointed the new director. We are excited to continue our strong partnership with Idaho Crime Victim Compensation under Kristi’s leadership.
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) at the U.S. Department of Justice, released the Final Rule on the Victims of Crime Act Victim Assistance Program (“Final Rule”) which updates and clarifies allowable and mandatory activities.
The Final Rule increases flexibility for the types of services that States can fund and allows States to maintain significant discretion over funding decisions. OVC anticipates the majority of VOCA funding will be for victim services for certain types of crime (intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. OVC highlights the benefits of newly allowable services in addressing needs of underserved and unserved victims.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence prepared a summary of the VOCA rules. Highlights of the Final Rule include:
Unfortunately, the 25% matching requirement is maintained, though the waiver process is outlined.
Tribal and community-based advocates are well versed in safety planning with individuals who are impacted by domestic violence. Safety planning with individuals who are impacted by sexual assault may be viewed as more challenging. Currently, 11 of Idaho’s 23 member programs are receiving dedicated funding from the Idaho State Police to focus on providing direct services to individuals impacted by sexual assault. These programs are offering a variety of innovative strategies to promote survivor’s emotional and physical well-being, including trauma-informed yoga classes, book clubs focused on healing readings, and individual crisis intervention and advocacy. This focus on individuals impacted by sexual assault has led to some dynamic conversations regarding safety planning and we would like to share some of those ideas and conversations.
Many Idaho advocates have shared that the individuals they are working with need assistance with regaining control and taking an active role in deciding what steps to take next in their healing. Practical information regarding emotional responses is incredibly helpful. Healing from sexual assault is often described as an emotional roller-coaster, where survivors feel stable and confident one moment and feel worried, anxious and hypervigilant the next. Individuals who are sexually assaulted can benefit from understanding that these emotional responses are normal and developing coping mechanisms while they are not in crisis that they can call upon when they are overwhelmed. A list of coping mechanisms such as: listening to music, calling a friend, contact the sexual assault hotline, exercise, and deep breathing allow the survivor to access their coping mechanisms when they are overwhelmed and unable to recall the things they typically do to feel grounded. Some individuals who have experienced sexual assault utilize apps on their phone such as Pacifica, or other meditation apps, to assist with meditation and breathing.Steps for safety planning with sexual assault survivors include:
For additional information about safety planning or working with individuals impacted by sexual assault, contact Jennifer at the Idaho Coalition. We are happy to offer addition technical assistance or schedule a training for your staff.
The Sexual Assault handbook has been revised and sent to the printer.
Handbooks will be sent out to each program member after the printed handbooks are delivered.
Spanish versions are being translated and will also be available in the near future.
Conflict is part of life – and a normal part of any healthy relationship. Resolving conflicts respectfully and positively can bring us closer together – and when handled poorly, can bring up powerful reactions like feeling threatened, traumatized or dis-empowered. Many people struggle with responding to conflict. Clients, colleagues, ourselves, and our loved ones. When conflict arises, it can trigger other experiences that heighten our emotions, without us even really realizing it. When this happens, often we respond with urges to fight or run away, or feel frozen, unable to respond. How many of us have been told we’re over-reacting during a conflict?! Perhaps we were simply dealing with our body’s urge to fight or flee – or we were feeling shut down (freeze). These responses just happen. But they don’t have to control how we move forward with the conflict. Compassion is key! Compassion for ourselves and our clients can open the door to healing encounters and mutually satisfying solutions.
5 Tips for Conflict Resolution
Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict – alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence. — Dorothy Thomas
This event is free and open to the public. For accommodations please contact the Boise State University Gender Equity Center at (208) 426-4259.
SAVE THE DATES:
Regional Movement Building Conversations
Statewide Movement Building Conversations Idaho Community & Tribal Domestic Violence Programs November 2nd & 3rd, 2016
We are excited to announce that Lynn Rosenthal, Former White House Advisor on Violence Against Women and most recently with the National Domestic Violence Hotline will facilitate our conversation and share her perspective on the essential role of community and tribal domestic and sexual violence programs to create social change.
Get Outside and Take a Fresh Air Break
Just like taking a deep breath, taking a fresh air break creates spaciousness and allows you to think more strategically and innovatively. And it helps recharge your mind, body, and spirit!
Today’s Challenge –
Take at least one short break outside. Allow yourself to just be still for a moment and take an expansive view of the landscape. Find the horizon. Notice what you can see in your peripheral vision. Find one thing that you haven’t noticed before. Take several slow and low breaths. Soak it in. Practice this big awareness here so you can intentionally bring this same practice back into your strategic thinking at work. Doing so will help you begin to see new possibilities
Psst. DO NOT check your smart phone during this short break!
Deepen Your Practice
Create a longer opportunity to enjoy the fresh air today. Can you catch up with a co-worker or friend over lunch outside? How about having that meeting while walking?
Visit the online store to view current Idaho Coalition materials available for order.
For store questions, please contact Lacey Sinn or call 208-384-0419 ext. 314.
The Idaho Coalition staff can support your program in a multitude of ways. We are here to build your capacity so individuals who are impacted by violence can survive and move towards thriving.