Thursday, April 9, 2015

Crime Victims' Rights Month: Commemorating 50 Years of Victim Services

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

Every April, the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) stands with our partners across the state in observance of California Crime Victims’ Rights Month, a time set aside for our state to show support for victims of violent crime, their families, and survivors. This year is even more significant as CalVCP commemorates its 50th year of serving victims of violent crime in California. And through our fifty years, we have been proud to have such great partners throughout the state to aid in providing services, protecting victims’ rights, and making a difference in the lives of thousands of victims of crime. Since 1965, CalVCP has provided over $2.3 billion in services, and we will continue to work with our partners to provide these services for our great state and the people who need them. It is fitting that this year’s theme is “Engaging Communities, Empowering Victims,” as it certainly reflects California’s commitment to increasing community awareness of crime victim issues and examining prevention and safety.

As a community, we must come together to ensure that victims and survivors of violent crime know they are not alone and that their community stands with them. People who have been impacted by violent crime should know that there is help available. We can all work together to ensure that those who commit a crime face justice. As a community, we will ensure that victims and survivors receive the care they need. We must educate those around us about the immediate and long-term impacts of crime and how we can better prevent these crimes from occurring in the first place. By engaging entire communities, we can better extend victim service resources to where they need to be and serve those who need them.

So much is taken away from victims by the crime committed against them, especially their sense of control. We can stand together and help support them so they no longer live in fear or feel powerless. By offering a safe place to turn to, proper legal action, and victim services, we can empower victims to thrive.

Through the month of April, CalVCP will again host a number of events and provide information on activities and events around the state. I invite you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about what you can do to participate in Crime Victims’ Rights Month, or check out our CVRM page on the CalVCP website.

I ask everyone to not only raise awareness this month, but to spark action in your communities. Take the time to understand victims’ rights and educate yourself about the services available to all victims. We are looking forward to engaging all of you this month, and I challenge everyone to keep this conversation moving forward year-round. As a community, we can spread the conversation about victim rights and work to end violence.


Julie Nauman is the Executive Officer for the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB). VCGCB provides compensation for victims of violent crime and helps to resolve claims against the State.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why Family Justice Centers?

By Cherri N. Allison, Esq.

Imagine that you are a domestic violence victim and the mother of two small children under the age of ten. You have been in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship for 12 years. You are a stay at home mom and your husband controls all of the family finances. You have just found out you are pregnant and are afraid to tell your spouse because the last time you did the violence escalated. You literally have nowhere to turn. The police have been to your home several times and you have been in the hospital emergency room more than once. Before the Alameda County Family Justice Center opened in 2005 you literally had to navigate dozens of agencies in a county that spans 821 square miles. You must maneuver a medical system; navigate criminal and civil legal systems, and a court system that is incomprehensible at best. At the same time you are experiencing extreme emotional and financial stress and the possibility of homelessness. There must be a better way!

Simply locating different organizations in one space is not necessarily innovative nor does it inspire systems change or movement building. However, when the people who lead those organizations and maintain those systems begin to reach across barriers, real or imagined, such as the language of disciplines, stereotypes and implicit bias, client service delivery changes. Letting go of the need to be right, demystifying program and systems content are at the core of the Family Justice Center model. We must make thinking outside the boundaries the norm and operate from a client centered, strength based perspective to implement systems change work that has positive implications for clients.

Monday, March 9, 2015

NO MORE Week

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

It is a sad reality, but sexual assault and domestic violence occur every day to the people around us — our neighbors, our colleagues, and our friends. It seems that more and more of the headlines we see in the news are centered around these crimes. It has plagued the NFL, haunted celebrities, and ignited national attention and debate.

Today marks the beginning of #NOMOREWeek. A time when we all stand together and call for the end of domestic violence and sexual assault. It is a national effort to engage every community, individual, and organization to say NO MORE and to educate the public on how they can get involved and be part of the solution.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Activities Work to Break the Cycle of Violence

By Lindsay Sweetnam, Program Director, La Casa de las Madres

Over 38 years ago, in 1976, a dynamic coalition of Bay Area women gathered to found La Casa de las Madres, California’s first and the nation’s second shelter dedicated to women and children escaping domestic violence.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), when our Teen Program ramps up its year-round efforts and implements special programming to educate Bay Area youth about dating violence and the services available to those affected by it. Through activities at high schools and various community locations, public service announcements over the airwaves, social media, and more, La Casa is raising its voice: to empower youth to recognize abuse, to demand healthy relationships for themselves and their peers, and to reach out for help if it is needed.


Monday, February 2, 2015

It’s Time to Talk

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

For many, February is known as a month for romance and strengthening our relationships. Unfortunately, not all relationships are healthy and for some, including many young people, can be abusive.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, or “teenDVmonth” is a national effort to raise awareness about teen dating violence and abuse. All throughout February, nonprofits, individuals, and organizations come together, sparking a conversation about this unfortunate form of abuse.

As President Barack Obama declared in a presidential proclamation about teenDVmonth, “In a 12-month period, one in 10 high school students nationwide reported they were physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend. Still more experienced verbal or emotional abuse like shaming, bullying or threats.”


Friday, January 23, 2015

Break Free and 3Strands Global, Inc. Join Forces to Combat Human Trafficking

Two Organizations with One Vision

By Ashlie M. Bryant, Global Executive Vice President, Development and Outreach, 3Strands Global, Inc.

3Strands Global recently merged to unite and mobilize a global community of individuals and organizations to combat human trafficking. Together as one organization, 3Strands Global, Inc. and Break Free will provide jobs, raise funds, build awareness and provide education and resources to fight human trafficking. We are in this fight together because we believe human trafficking and modern day slavery are NOT OK, and everyone can make a difference.

The timing was right for both organizations to come together and rally around this cause. There is a shared common vision to end human trafficking and build a worldwide community of supporters in order to do so.The expanded community of individuals and partners is rapidly growing and working together as a united front toward the common vision to end human trafficking. Our mission is to combat human trafficking through sustainable employment, education and engagement initiatives. Each initiative takes on a unique approach to combatting human trafficking, and the combination of all three initiatives is a powerful approach and enables change.

Friday, January 9, 2015

In the Fight Against Human Trafficking, Why Truckers?

By Lyn Thompson, Co-Founder, Truckers Against Trafficking

When working on a strategy to fight human trafficking, one of the first steps should be to determine which groups of people have the greatest opportunity to spot human trafficking as it is happening. In other words, who could serve as the primary surveillance?

When it comes to this crime, those front-line people include such groups as medical personnel, who treat victims in medical clinics, and service personnel in local neighborhoods (such as postal workers, and cable, electrical, and water providers), who come by homes on a regular basis and would notice if something unusual was going on. Restaurant and hotel personnel could also see trafficking taking place in their establishments, as could members of the transportation industry, including airport employees. Traffickers are continually transporting victims to sell them in a variety of places.

Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) began in 2009 as an initiative of Chapter 61 Ministries to work with the trucking industry, which is seven million strong. Truckers are trained to be extremely observant.