There are still some things COVID-19 has not changed or been able to cancel: the cooler weather brought on by the change of the season and welcoming the deliciousness of pumpkin spice are two that immediately rise to the top for me as I embrace the fall.
We all know the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, but it also presented us with an opportunity to encourage innovation and reimagine what supports to victims could look like; ensuring every Texan has access to justice and the supports they may need to not only survive the pandemic but come out thriving, in light of facing the unimaginable.
As frontline support you have maintained a connection to survivors, assisted them in coping with the impacts and stress brought on by their victimization that has been compounded by living through a pandemic, and served as a connector to other support services in your community.
I appreciate your commitment to the victims in your communities and hope you feel supported by TVSA. You are all in our hearts and minds as we continue to create connection, education and recognition opportunities for you. Take care of yourselves and each other.
By Brooke King, M.A.
Membership Committee Chair
We currently have regional coordinators on our board for regions B (Julie Jesperson), C (Jennifer Sterling), D (Stacey Manigold), E (John Dominguez), and F (Angela Luna). If you are interested in filling the open coordinator position in Region A (panhandle region) please reach out to myself and Natacha.We hope you have enjoyed and taken advantage of the TVSA meetings that occurred over the past few months in your regions and hope they provided you the opportunity to stay connected and share resources within your regions. As the Membership Chair and Board President, I urge you to contact your regional coordinator with any ideas you have; support you, or your agency need; if you have thoughts for a needed virtual regional training; or want to provide support to a virtual social. We are always looking for opportunities to spread the word about the benefits of joining TVSA and keeping you connected to each other!
Region A (Panhandle - Amarillo/Lubbock/Wichita Falls): Coordinator: Vacant. Please contact us at email@example.com if you are interested in serving as Region A Coordinator! Region C (Northeast - Dallas/Fort Worth/Tyler): Coordinator: Jennifer Sterling, University of Texas at Arlington Police Department Victim Services; Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org; (817) 272-9254. Region C had a great end of September Lunch & Learn Mixer with TVSA board member Lacy Hensley of One Safe Place in Fort Worth, to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We talked about the serious implications of strangulation and local ordinances that are going into place surrounding it, followed by current program updates and events in other attendees’ agencies. We held another Zoom mixer event on November 13th. Region C member and past TVSA board president Derrelynn Perryman spoke about her service as a crime victim advocate on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice.
Region B (Central-Austin/Waco/San Antonio): Coordinator: Julie Jesperson, Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Victim Services Division; email@example.com; Office: (512) 406-5920; Cell: 512-970-5162. Region B held its first ever virtual meeting via Zoom in September. Meeting hosts Julie Jesperson and Mike Jones, Region B TVSA board members, discussed outreach to counties in Region B that are underrepresented or unrepresented in our membership and what current members would like to see from future virtual meetings. We also talked briefly about the revised TVSA Code of Ethics. We held our next meeting on November 16th and TDCJ-Victim Services Division Deputy Director Mary McCaffity spoke on changes to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 56.
Region D (Southeast - Beaumont/Houston/College Station): Coordinator: Stacey Manigold, BCFS Health and Human Services, firstname.lastname@example.org; 832-948-3841: For Region D I plan to continue my outreach to local advocacy agencies that are working with victims of crime. I have been reaching out to the Texas Forensic Nurse Examiners and sexual assault nurse examiners and law enforcement at Precinct 4 and 3 for the constables’ offices. I have also been working on reaching out to lapsed members to invite them back to TVSA. Our next virtual meeting is November 17, 2020 from 12 p.m.- 1 p.m. We hope to see you there!
Region E (West - El Paso/Midland/San Angelo): Coordinator, John Dominguez, El Paso County Attorney’s Office Victim Services. JohDominguez@epcounty.com; (915) 303-6069: Region E held its first virtual meeting on September 25th. I had the opportunity to meet with some great people who share the passion, diligence, and hard work to ensure education and safety to people who have been victimized. Some great topics were discussed in our meeting, such as how other areas in this region in our vast area stay connected, especially during this difficult time (COVD-19). I have to say, technology has allowed us to have the capabilities to stay connected with other people in our workplace and other agencies and being able to network and collaborate together. As we move forward, with our regional meetings TVSA is providing the support and leadership needed to spearhead our goals and succeed in our region. Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 4th, from noon to 1:00 p.m. mountain time. Please join us!
Region F: (South-Corpus Christi/Laredo/McAllen): Coordinator: Angela Luna, Victims' Assistance Coordinator, Nueces County Juvenile Justice. Angela.Luna@nuecesco.com; direct line (361)561-6019, Office (361)855-7303: People are always searching. We search for acceptance, understanding, a place to belong, a community, a family. Membership in TVSA is exactly that – FAMILY. When you join TVSA, you are introduced to a community of advocates, victim service providers, and like-minded, inspired individuals that genuinely want to help victims of crime. When you join TVSA, you build a collective identity of what is good and what is just. When you join TVSA, you are family. Region F held its first virtual meeting on September 4th, and our next one is scheduled for 10:00-11:00 a.m. on September 18th. I am looking forward to meeting more advocates in South Texas’ Region F at this next meeting!
To join TVSA, or to renew your membership, please go to http://www.txvsa.org/page-837452
Texas Victim Friendly Initiative (TVFI)
By Torie Camp, TVFI Program Specialist
The Texas Victim Friendly Initiative, the Texas Victim Services Association’s newest project, is a quality improvement program targeted at helping law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices and non-profit advocacy organizations become more trauma-informed.
The initiative has its roots in the premise that an organization that works with victims should do no harm to victims. With that premise, TVSA asked a simple question: What if every organization that works with victims was a welcoming and ‘friendly’ place for victims? With that question, TVFI was born.
The cornerstone of the TVFI process is the TVFI Self-Assessment. Designed to measure an organization’s environment, policies and practices related to victim care and interactions, the self-assessment reflects best practices of trauma-informed care, Texas Crime Victims’ Rights and Office for Victims of Crime model standards.
The Self-Assessment addresses the following key areas:
- Leadership and Governance
- Physical Environment
- Cross-Sector Collaboration
- Victim Interventions and Interactions
- Training and Staff Development
- Program Evaluation
- Crime Victims’ Rights
Once the Self-Assessment is completed, organizations are supported through a 12-month period of coaching and technical assistance in the areas identified by the organization as highest priority. At the end of the 12 months, organizations have the opportunity for TVSA certification as a Victim Friendly Agency.
“The Texas Victim Friendly Initiative fulfills an important component of TVSA’s mission: recognition of the outstanding work of victim service providers in Texas,” said, Natacha Peláez-Wagner, TVSA Director. “To be sure, any agency that is certified as a Victim Friendly Agency has outstanding victim service providers.”
While other certification and licensing programs exist, TVFI’s focus on trauma-informed care sets it apart. This focus provides solutions to some of the challenges faced by victim serving organizations: victims will make contact once, but then stop engaging with the agency; victims do not tell us everything, are not always completely honest; staff is unfamiliar with signs and symptoms of trauma; organizations are missing opportunities to provide trauma-informed care and improve case outcomes.
“The Texas Victim Friendly Initiative is meant to inspire and support organizations to improve their interactions and response to victims,” said Brooke King, TVSA Board President. “Not only is that good for victims, but when victims’ needs are recognized and respected, victims are more likely to seek and participate in services, including the criminal justice system.”
TVSA is now seeking applications for the first group of organizations to participate in the Texas Victim Friendly Initiative pilot year. We are looking for law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices and non-profit advocacy organizations who are interested in improving their environment, policies, and practices around trauma-informed care.
- Participation in the TVFI Self-Assessment process.
- Individualized coaching, technical assistance, and resources on improving victim-centered and trauma-informed care.
- Opportunity for certification as a Victim Friendly Agency by TVSA.
The pilot will be conducted with six organizations: two from law enforcement, two from prosecution, and two from the non-profit sector. To apply to participate in the pilot please click here: http://www.txvsa.org/event-4044974. Deadline to apply is December 7. For additional information about the project please contact email@example.com.
TVSA and CVR Research Survey Results
By Cortney A Franklin, PhD
Thank you to the 130+ of who took part in the TVSA/Center for Victim Research survey this summer. We learned so much from you that will help us focus our efforts to meet your needs in the future.
You told us about the types of products you would like to see, factors that influence your trust in research, and resources you would find helpful. We asked about the format you prefer for research information, and the highest rated formats were one-to-two page brief reports on research, and research webinars.
We asked you how you and your organization use your own data. Here’s what you said:
We also asked about resources – in addition to funding – that would help you partner with a researcher. You told us:
The good news is that there are already some excellent resources available – FREE – from the Center for Victim Research. You can find:
The information gleaned from our survey with CVR will inform our future TVSA victimology research symposiums, and some of our upcoming conference programming as well, to better serve you, our victim services professionals across the state.
For a full summary of the survey results, please click here: http://www.txvsa.org/page-1681880/9349374