This fall was full of product releases, travel and trainings, as well as some exciting news. On September 13th the ESS Project received a three-year technical assistance grant from the US Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women to continue to provide training and technical assistance to OVW grantees serving survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking around the issues of safety, economic security and sustainability of employment. We are thrilled by OVW’s commitment to addressing survivor economic security and are eager to build on the work we have already done across the country.
ESS recently introduced its two new tools for advocates, the Victim Advocate’s Guide to Safety and Economic Security for Victims of Violence Against Women and the Economic and Employment Advocacy E-Course. The Victim Advocate’s Guide offers practical recommendations that all advocates can use to reduce economic barriers to safety and justice, restore independence and foster collaboration across systems. Informed by WOW’s expertise in strengthening workforce development for women, the new e-course provides community-based advocates and case managers with a blueprint to help survivors rebuild their lives through career and economic counseling designed to empower survivors with options. The course also contains a number of handouts and worksheets that can easily be used in client services. Both these tools served as the foundation for trainings held with key stakeholders throughout the fall.
In September, Sarah and Malore met with the grantees of the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Longmont Ending (Domestic) Violence Initiative in Colorado to explore the intersections of intimate partner and sexual violence and economic security to provide a new framework to better respond to survivors. Using this economic lens, they explored the various tools that the criminal justice system and community service providers already have to address the economic insecurity many survivors face as a result of economic abuse and the cost of violence, such as securing economic relief through protection orders or providing employment support services.
On September 19th, Sarah joined other advocates and leaders at the White House where President Obama and Vice President Biden announced their newest efforts to combat sexual assault on campus. The “It’s On Us” campaign seeks to prevent sexual violence on campuses by engaging bystanders and making the case that every member of the community has a role to play in creating safer campuses where intellectual growth is accessible to every student.
At the end of September Malore and project consultant Robin Thompson participated in the Nebraska State Patrol’s annual conference where they led two workshops detailing how law enforcement can work independently and in collaboration with other justice and community sectors to address the economic dynamics of abuse and pursue economic justice. They shared best practices to integrating economic considerations into the existing activities of dispatchers, first responders and investigators with a goal of increasing survivor safety and offender accountability.
Building on previous work in Oregon, Sarah and Malore returned to Portland in October to meet with direct service program directors at the Crime Victim Services Division’s Directors’ Day meeting. They were joined by the Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team and the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Taskforce who shared ways their work has changed to address economic security since the team’s last visit in early 2013. The Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence also shared the work of its member organizations towards promoting economic independence. Both the Victim Advocates Guide and the new curriculum were then introduced and shared as free tools to support advocates and case managers’ capacity to support the criminal justice systems and enhance economic support services. The meeting also served as a launching point for ongoing technical assistance to incorporate economic security into the criminal justice system response and community support services across the state over the next three years.
Interested in learning more about ESS project trainings and resources? Contact Sarah Gonzalez Bocinski, Director, Economic Security for Survivors Project at firstname.lastname@example.org.