Victims feel violated, powerless, scared, and hopeless after an incident. Unfortunately, they are also often unaware of their rights. Criminal justice players can help victims have better outcomes by upholding victims’ rights and ensure victims are educated about and exercise these rights.
This session’s instructor is Rhea DuMont, the Community Justice Manager for the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, where she is responsible for the staff in addressing gaps and barriers surrounding victim rights and delivering services that promote victim and survivor safety and healing.
Topics covered during this webinar include:
- Facts and figures illustrating the pervasiveness of crime victimization, the demographics most impacted by victimization, and the challenges victims face.
- Differentiating victim versus survivor in terms of their definition and the general picture that each term conveys.
- The different victim rights statutes across the states, their varying scope, and how it ensures responsiveness to the needs and preferences of victims.
- The survivors’ experience as they navigate the justice system that is not designed to provide justice for survivors, not survivor-centered, not trauma-informed, and not focused on increasing survivor safety.
- The Multnomah County Victim And Survivor Services
- Its inception, the parties and stakeholders that they serve, their mission, and their core values that shape the work that they do to upholding victims’ rights within their jurisdiction.
- How they uphold victims’ rights through notification, training, advocacy, financial assistance, consultation restitution, and system improvement.
- Why the right notification is considered the fundamental right that leads to all other victim’s rights.
- Their efforts to ensure that the right to notification is afforded to victims, the information that they provide, and statistics showing the work they’ve done in this area.
- How advocacy makes up the biggest chunk of their job and a rundown of the supportive services they provide survivors navigating the complex justice system.
- Numbers related to the aid that they provide victims with that paint a picture of the areas where victims need the most assistance in, how they were able to fill these gaps, and how survivors received and appreciated the help.
- Their work in ensuring appropriate restitution is awarded to victims to aid with physical, financial, psychological, and emotional recovery.
- The client assistance fund made available to ease financial burdens survivors face due to their victimization and involvement in the criminal justice system.
- Foundational elements of belief, trust, honesty, transparency, and confidentiality that must be present when working with survivors to set them up for success.
- The survivors’ need for system education, honesty, transparency, validation, and empathy to truly uphold their rights.
- Tips when communicating and dealing with survivors that emphasize the importance of:
- Listening to understand and offering information and suggestions instead of giving advice.
- Understanding how your role impacts the victim’s disposition, decisions, and outcomes.
- Admitting when you do not know instead of sharing wrong information that can jeopardize victims’ safety and decrease trust in the justice system.
- Practicing consciousness when it comes to potential conflict of interest within your role.
- Referring and connecting them with resources that can provide complete and correct information based on their needs.
Questions raised by the webinar attendees are about:
- Getting agencies to take a more responsive, survivor-centered, and trauma-informed approach.
- References of statistics mentioned in the webinar.
- Recruiting for and the classification of the Multnomah County Victim And Survivor Services’ staff members.
- The mindset required for probation officers to be able to show more empathy for the victims.
- Survivors within the Multnomah County Victim And Survivor Services team.
- Opt-in option and requesting for victim’s rights.
- Templates that may be used for notification letters.
- Adapting the Multnomah County Victim And Survivor Services’ model in other criminal justice system agencies.
- Funding sources for the Multnomah County Victim And Survivor Services.
- Using restorative practices such as victim impact classes and victim-offender conferencing.
Other Webinars with These Speakers
- March 30: Effectively Building a Community Advisory Board for Individuals Who Have Experienced Violence
- Feb 10: Victim Centered Support in Probation (this webinar)
Resources and Handouts
- Handout: Victim and Survivor Services Year in Review (2021)
- Resource: Victim Rights Laws by State (Lewis and Clark’s National Crime Victim Law Institute)
- Resource: Oregon Dept Of Justice Crime Victim and Survivor Services Post-Conviction Community Justice Toolkit
- “Reinforces that we are doing a great job across the states. We have lots of programs in place and it’s nice to hear how others are doing.” — Kristi
- “A good overview to understand if our State is in line with other states in regards to victim services. I really like the idea of culturally specific advocates. — Sharon
- “The link to victim rights laws for the state of Washington. I have been a crime victim advocate for nearly 10 years and this is something we were never apprised of.” — Teresa
- “The presenter was very well versed on her subject matter. Cheers!” — KIM
- “I loved everything about this webinar.” — Laura
- “Excellent to hear from a practitioner that knows her stuff! Thank you!” — Lorie
- “Understanding terminology of victim vs survivor and how we should be referring to those who didn’t ask to be in the system. Probation can likely do more to support survivors of crime and link them to the right information at the right time.” — Ann
- “Knowing my rights in my state. I do not perform direct service for my agency, thus I am not always in on all the training. This training I found very interesting and eye-opening. Thank you much.” — Lillian
- “It is all of our jobs to ensure that victims are represented fairly.” — Brenda
NACP and D-SAACP Advocates can earn 1 CEU by attending this webinar through the National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP)® and the DoD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP). Founded in 1975, the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) is the oldest national victim assistance organization of its type in the United States and is the recognized leader in victim advocacy, education and credentialing. To learn more about NOVA, visit trynova.org.