“Looking Back, Moving Forward”

July 28, 2008

A National Meeting of Crime Victims and Survivors


Those Who Serve Them

WHEN: Friday, November 7th through Sunday, November 9th

WHERE: Dana Point Marina Inn

Dana Point (Orange County), CA

800.255.6843 (Conference Key: “Old Buffalo”)


COST: $50 registration fee (includes Saturday night dinner, snacks and light refreshments)

Hotel: $84 plus tax per night

Click here for Conference Agenda and Registration

For more information, email Sharon English (askse@cox.net)

Old Buffs

May 26, 2008


NOVEMBER 7-9, 2008






Bipartisan Party Platforms

April 28, 2008

For at least the past three Presidential elections, both political parties have included provisions supporting rights and services for crime victim in their party platforms. This year, a working group of national victim advocates have drafted language for a proposed bipartisan crime victims’ plank for use in both party platforms. The language is intended to address the broad key issues of adequate funding, enforcement of rights and national leadership. This is not meant to be a laundry list of individual legislative proposals and does not preclude additional consideration of planks that address specific victim-related issues, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, etc.

Click here for:Bipartisan Crime Victims Platform

UCR Data, Kids Count Data, Watch MN Resources on Court Watch, OVC Web Forum on Victims and the Media and Easier Access to “Repaying Debts”

February 3, 2008

Dear Friends:

Well, I’m on pins and needles with the NFC Playoffs starring my beloved Packers only six hours away! So I’ve been inspired to load you up with LOTS of great resources this week. Also, I’ll be
on the road without internet access next weekend, so your next MMM will come from me on January 28. Five Missives for you this week.

The FBI just released preliminary figures indicate that, as a whole, law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation reported a decrease of 1.8 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention in the first half of 2007 when compared with figures reported for the first six months of 2006. These are GREAT data to use for 2008 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. You can download the Uniform Crime Reports data at: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/prelim2007/index.html.

The latest statistics and data from the annual Kids Count project have just been released. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT online database has a whole new look and feel. Now featuring child well-being measures for the 50 largest U.S. cities, this powerful tool contains more than 100 indicators, including the most recent data available on education, employment and income, poverty, health, and youth risk factors for the United States as a whole, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is an excellent resource for MMMers: http://www.aecf.org/MajorInitiatives/KIDSCOUNT.aspx.

I’ve recently been introduced to a great organization, WATCH Minnesota, which in 2007 won a Mary Byron Foundation “Celebrating Solutions” award. They offer excellent resources and technical assistance to help folks establish court watch programs, including a wonderful “how to” manual. In the early days of our field, court watch programs were an important staple, and should be today! Check out their website and resources at: http://www.watchmn.org/.

I’ll be hosting an OVC Web Forum on Wednesday, January 30, from 2 pm tp 3 pm EST with my great Colorado colleague, journalism professor Greg Luft. We’ll be discussing “Cultivating Relationships Between Victim Service Providers and the Media.” It ought to be an interesting and lively chat, so please join us and help spread the word. More info is available from the Office for Victims of Crime at: http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum/index.asp.

Loyal MMMer Stephanie Frogge let me know that some folks were having difficulty accessing the CSG document on restitution, “Repaying Debts.” She provided a more direct link for you all: http://www.reentrypolicy.org/special_projects/financial_obligations. Thanks, Steph!


Taking Restitution Seriously

January 19, 2008

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with victim advocates in Hawaii on measures to improve the enforcement of victim restitution laws. Last year, Hawaii completely revamped its restitution statutes to make restitution a priority of the justice system, and of those who serve and assist victims of crime. In doing so, I’ve had the chance to work with them on creating processes that make it as simple as possible for victims to understand and implement their right to restitution. I also had the opportunity to develop a “philosophy statement” on victim restitution (see below). I’d love to hear from you about your thoughts!

For too long in America, the right of crime victims and survivors to restitution has been viewed and treated as a “suggestion,” rather than an actual law. When convicted offenders realize that little or nothing will be done to make them pay their restitution obligations, there is no incentive for them to comply with either the state’s law or the actual restitution order from the court.

Victim restitution is perhaps the only core victims’ right that addresses the wide range of what are often devastating effects of crime – the physical, emotional, psychological, social and financial impact of crime. The consistent, collaborative and comprehensive enforcement of restitution laws has benefits for victims, for persons convicted of crimes, and for our society as a whole:

  • Every time convicted offenders make a restitution payment, they are reminded of the simple fact that somebody was hurt by the crime they committed.
  • When we seek strategies for effective offender case management, restitution provides an important foundation that holds offenders at least financially accountable for the harm they have caused their victims.
  • When a convicted offender’s “ability to pay” is considered, the ability of the innocent victim to pay must also be raised and considered.
  • Every time victims receive a restitution payment, it greatly increases their sense of justice; their overall satisfaction with the criminal justice system and those who represent it; and their feelings that the justice system really cares about them, and about the losses they have endured as the result of a criminal action.
  • When society as a whole recognizes that convicted offenders are being held financially responsible for their criminal actions, and that victims are being compensated for the harm they endure, it enhances their faith in a justice system that addresses not only criminal justice, but victim justice and community justice as well.

–Anne Seymour

Important VOCA Survey, NCVRW Resource Guide and NCVRW Action Kit Now Available Online, and VAWA Briefing Book

January 14, 2008

Dear Friends:

GBPackersAs you can guess, I had a FANTASTIC weekend with my beloved Green Bay Packers headed to the NFC Playoffs next week, at Lambeau in the “frozen tundra!” We went from two years of “faith-based football” to an amazing “dream team,” and I couldn’t be prouder! FOUR MISSIVES THIS WEEK, and DO please take time to complete the VOCA survey!:

The OVC National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Resource Guide is now available online at www.ovc.gov. In addition, APPRISS (provider of the VINE and SAVIN services) has produced a NCVRW Action Kit with an emphasis on automated victim notification. You can download this Kit at www.appriss.com.

IMPORTANT VOCA ACTION ALERT: The FY08 appropriations omnibus bill passed by Congress and signed by the President REDUCED VOCA spending to $590 million. This will mean an estimated 11 percent cut in VOCA Assistance grants to the states (we are hosting a VOCA Briefing on the Hill on February 8th to address this concern!). The National Center for Victims of Crime and its partners are gathering information to share with policymakers about the real world effect of this drastic cut. Please help us by taking a few minutes today to complete our survey. While we request that each agency or organization only complete the survey one time, additional comments by other staff are welcome. Send your additional comments to NCVC’s Public Policy Department at: ncvc_public_policy_dept@ncvc.org with the subject line “VOCA.” The survey, which should only take 5 to 10 minutes to complete, is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=M3ycwV_2b1ZMk4QeAymdpYhg_3d_3d. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF SURVEYS WE RECEIVE – YOUR INPUT AND THAT OF ALL FOLKS WHO RECEIVE VOCA FUNDING ARE TRULY APPRECIATED!

Your national policy leaders are currently updating the VAWA Appropriations Briefing Book, and MMM will keep you posted when this is available. You may want to check out the most recent version to get up to speed on key funding issues related to VAWA: http://www.nnedv.org/docs/Policy/BriefingBook08.pdf.



Teen Action Campaign and New Website on Drug Abuse

January 5, 2008

Dear Friends:

Hope you are all settling into a productive 2008! I wanted to offer my recommendation to ya’ll on a great speaker/presenter for victim conferences. Mildred Muhammad is the ex-wife of the man known as the “D.C. Sniper,” who is now working to help other survivors of domestic violence. She has a very compelling story to tell about her experiences as a survivor of domestic violence; having her children kidnapped; and being the main target of her ex-husband as he committed countless murders and assaults in the DC Metropolitan Area. You can visit her website at http://www.afterthetrauma.org/; and for information about speaking engagements, you can contact Mildred directly via email at: afterthetrauma@yahoo.com. TWO MISSIVES for you this week.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund is co-sponsoring the Teen Action Campaign, See It and Stop It, an unprecedented multi-media public education campaign by and for teens. It offers posters, radio and television public service announcements, an online toolkit, and valuable information on how to recognize the warning signs of dating violence, how to stop it, and how to make a difference in your school and community. See It and Stop It was developed by teens in Massachusetts, with support from the Family Violence Prevention Fund and The Advertising Council. You can download a great Toolkit and more information about the Campaign at: http://www.seeitandstopit.org/pages/.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has launched a website to serve researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. The NIDA Networking Project site facilitates information sharing and research collaboration among those concerned with drug abuse through access to locations, people, expertise, and resources from NIDA’s research networks. You can access this great new website at: http://nnp.drugabuse.gov/.