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June 2014 Newsletter
 

Support Group For Visually-Impaired Victim Services Program on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

 

In October 2013 a weekly support group was started in response to a growing need expressed by clients in the organization’s Visually-Impaired Victims Services program.  Members of the visually-impaired crime victim support group offer emotional comfort and moral support to each other as well as sharing their personal experiences and practical tips for managing the trauma of criminal victimization. The group is facilitated by a trained victim advocate who provides participants with assistance in finding their own individual pathway from trauma to healing in all areas of their lives.

Reconnecting with other people is a vital part of building a new life after trauma. The opportunity to share emotions and thoughts openly in a support group of people facing similar challenges is a powerful tool for gaining hope and a new vision for the future. Through sharing experiences clients gain understanding about the effects of trauma and reduce feelings of isolation, distress and anxiety. They build coping skills, find resources, and gain the sense of empowerment that is vital to managing the changes people experience when they are recovering from trauma.

CTJH initially became aware of the needs of the visually-impaired crime victim population on Maryland’s Eastern Shore through a client who came to the organization seeking support three years ago.  This individual was employed at the widely-used Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (http://www.bism.org/) facility in Salisbury, Maryland. They contacted CTJH because they had been unable to find the victim support services they needed on the Eastern Shore. They knew other people who were also seeking services tailored to the needs of visually impaired individuals. As a result of this call, services from first response through the criminal justice process and beyond are now provided in a manner specifically designed to address the needs of this underserved group on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Blind Industries and Services of Maryland

Visually impaired victims of crime are often underserved. According to a Bureau of Justice statistics study from 2011, almost 8 million people of working age (18 to 64 years old) in the United States are visually disabled (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011; Brault, 2012; Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics, 2012). And persons who have a disability are three times more likely to be the victim of a serious violent crime than those who do not.


Crime victims with disabilities are universally recognized to be an underserved population (Victim's Assistance Legal Organization, 2011).  In spite of the high rate of victimization among the disabled, many victim service providers report that they seldom serve clients from this population  (Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice, 2008) . The reasons for this are many and complex, ranging from the discrimination and marginalization faced by disabled people overall, to the even more severe problems that come about as a result of a violent crime.  Depending on their individual circumstances they may face problems with mobility and travel, difficulty understanding that they have been criminally victimized rather than simply mistreated, and difficulty giving and receiving information on forms that are not designed for people who have a disability. Disabled crime victims can face challenges of conflicting survival priorities if the perpetrator is a caregiver. The visually impaired require extra care and support that they very often do not receive. This can create a situation of severe hardship and complex trauma when specialized services are not available. CTJH has a specific focus on helping those who are most frequently overlooked and revictimized, often as a result of previously-existing trauma and/or disability that has been exacerbated by a new episode of violent crime.

References

Brault, M. W. (2012). Americans With Disabilities: 2010. Washington DC: U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf
Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2011). Criminal Victimization in the United States 2011: Statistical Tables. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Fallot, R. D. (2011). Trauma-Informed Care: A Values-Based Context for Psychosocial Empowerment. Preventing Violence Against Women and Children: Workshop Summary (pp. 97-102). Washington D.C.: National Academies Press.
Lewin, K. (1947). Frontiers in group dynamics. Human Relations, 1(1), 5-41. doi:10.1177/001872674700100103
Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice. (2008). Promising Practices for Serving Crime Victims With Disabilities (Toolkit). Washington, DC: US Dept of Justice.
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics. (2012). 2012 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium. Durham, NH: U.S. Department of Education, National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
Victim's Assistance Legal Organization. (2011). Gaining Insight, Taking Action: Basic skills for serving victims. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from http://www.ovc.gov/publications/infores/pdftxt/GainingInsight.pdf

 

 
End June Newsletter
 
 
Spring 2014 Newsletter
 

Vera Price to be Posthumously Honored at 2014 Maryland State Board of Victim Services Governor’s Luncheon

Vera Janet Price, co-founder of CTJH, who was gently called home by her God in July of 2012, will be honored this year by receiving the Governor’s Victim Assistance Award for Outstanding Volunteer Contribution to Victim Services.

The Maryland State Board of Victim Services Governor’s Luncheon committee also unanimously voted that Vera be the inaugural recipient of the new Vincent Roper Memorial Award that will be given each year to someone posthumously who has dedicated their life to working with crime victims and their families.

Please join us at the Governor’s luncheon where her family will be presented with the award on Thursday, April 3rd from 11:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. at La Fontaine Bleue, 7514 Ritchie Hwy, Glen Burnie, MD 21061.

Tickets include a lunch buffet & must be purchased in advance for $28:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/governors-victim-assistance-awards-luncheon-tickets-10453293081?ref=elink.

For additional information please call Rev. Price at 301.219.3421 or check online at the Governor’s Office for Crime Control and Prevention.

2014 Governor's Award for Vera Janet Price

Rev. Price Preached a Revival at New Bethel Church
March 12-14, 2014

 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

When Rev. Price received Rev. Dr. Helen Lockwood’s invitation to preach a revival at her church he knew God had a call that He wanted to put on the life of the church. During the 3 days of the revival he delivered the special message God gave him for their church. He told the members and their leaders of God’s love for their church and His desire that they become more involved with the hurting people in their community. He told them he realized his message would be like hearing that there is a “pink elephant in the room”. Those who have already chosen to hear God’s call can see the “pink elephant in the room” but cannot prove to others that it is there.

Violence and trauma destroy lives. They force victims to change in order to find new hope and build new lives. With so much violence and loss in our society today, there are many hurting people coming to the church desperately in need of a path to healing. Rev. Price also added that with the large number of people being incarcerated there will be a huge number of offenders looking for support from the church when they have changed their life from living a life of crime. If their needs are not seen by the church these people will not be able to find healing and will leave from the church in a greater need and experiencing more pain than when they arrived.

Churches often fail at being there for those who are in need because they do not focus on the need for change. If they are going to keep up with their mission to help those in need they must be open to change. People naturally fear change. When the church prayed for God’s Word to speak to them at the revival He spoke to their hearts. Transformation takes place by a renewing of the mind and they heard His call to them to care about victims and offenders. Learning to love who God loves means learning how to be there for both the victim and the offenders. They can expect that this change will create a strong resistance and a deep need to seek support from leadership in the church to help them through it. They discovered how God wants them to listen and to support both victims and offenders in their search for new hope and healing. New Bethel Church and its leaders were very receptive to the message.

People, by nature, fear change and resist anything that pressures them to change. In his new documentary, Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson described how this natural fear was also around during the time of Jesus’ birth when people depended on the constant, familiar movement of the stars overhead to be their clock and calendar.

When society has so much victimization and God continues to call the church to be involved with the healing process it means that there are going to be changes that need to be made in order to keep up with best practices and how to best work with the needs that are there. During times of change, people experience a sense that a crisis is upon them. They need spiritual understanding to understand God’s purpose. The needs of traumatized victims of violence in the church and the offender seeking to live a life without crime can be like a “pink elephant in the room”. Only those who are open to hear God’s call can see the “pink elephant in the room” but cannot prove to others that it is there. There is this strong resistance to providing Christ-like leadership to the hurting people who cry for its true justice.

 

 
 

 

 

Development of 'best practices' by CTJH

reported in Roper Victim Assistance Academy Newsletter, October 2010.

Roper Victim Academy newsletter

 

 

 

CTJH director participated in a panel discussion of the film "Race to Execution" on the death penalty in America. The discussion was held at Prince Georges Community College, November 2010.

CTJH director participates in Prince Georges Community College panel discussion of the death penalty