An Oral History of the Crime Victim Assistance Field
Video and Audio Archive
Anne & David Delaplane
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Hook: Good morning. Welcome to the OVC Oral History Project. Could you introduce yourselves and spell your names, please.
Anne: Sure. I'm Anne Delaplane, A-N-N-E, D-E-L-A-P-L-A-N-E.
David: And I'm David Delaplane.
Hook: We're going to start at the beginning. Why or how did you get involved in the crime victims' movement, what was the context of that?
David: Well, Anne's interest in the crime victim field and her work with the California Youth Authority is what really got us involved initially.
Anne: And I think that probably from my perspective early experiences that we have. I can remember in... in the '40s working in Parks and Recreation programs and then in the '50s in an orphanage and I really had not thought about going into the Correctional field. In 1957, which is a long time ago, a very elderly person invited me to go to a Bible Study at what was then the Whitier School for Boys in California and I thought to myself she's so old, nobody's gonna pay any attention to her, but I was wrong. I was wrong. They had, she had been doing that for 30 years and had tremendous respect of the young people that were there. And I can remember years later when I got into the... to the victims' field saying, "Wouldn't it be fabulous if we had these church volunteers working with crime victims as well as with offenders." And then later on, of course, in the... in the '60s, I began working at a County Probation Department in... in California and then joined the Youth Authority in the '70s.
So, by then I was working for the State of California with the Department of Youth Authority, first as a parole agent and then later as a consultant for the Prevention and Community Corrections Branch of the Department. Two areas probably piqued my interest, in regard to the young people with whom I was working. One was the building of a relationship with a positive volunteer. Again, goes back to working with crime victims but, (coughs) excuse me, at that time, it was working with young people and then the other was the correlation between child abuse and subsequent delinquency. Probably a person that influenced me in the very beginning, very much towards... to go... to move towards the religious community was Travis Hershey's research in the early days when he talked about a young person's propensity toward delinquency in connection with the school, the family, the workplace and the church and that was the first time I heard of anybody thinking about the religious community as something. So I think that Dr. Hershey found that relationship very, very significant. (coughs) Excuse me. Another visionary for me was probably James Rowland who was... who was in the mid-70s the Chief Probation Officer in Fresno, California and he invited me to be on a planning committee with a person, John Dussich, who had been to a victim conference before in the State of Florida and then with Tadini Bacigalupi, who was one of the old timers in the victim movement, very concerned with children and, we had that first victim conference here in California that really was the beginning of the NOVA organization.
Hook: And when was that?
Anne: That was I think in '75, '76. I'm not sure.
David: And at that point, we were invited to be on the Board of that.
Anne: The Board of Directors for the early... (interruption)
David: Of NOVA at that time.
David: Coming out of that conference. And as a minister and Anne's husband, I became first involved because of her interest in the victims' field. I was pastor in a church just prior to that and doing some inter-church work. And then when she called our... my attention and she had already seen this to the President's Task Force, in 1982, on Victims of Crime, there were some recommendations in there for the ministry. And as I looked at that, I realized that there, because I had worked ecumenically with various faiths that I could probably get involved in that as well. She also conducted, through the Youth Authority, the program called the Religious Community and Victims of Violence, a transfer of knowledge workshop, they called them, and brought together a lot of clergy and a lot of ministers. And I attended that and met and dialogued with other ministers in that regard and, therefore, was able to get involved in... in the movement through that.
A bit earlier than that, though, I had shown some interest because again Anne's interest in child abuse prevention and those concerns and when the California Consortium of Child Abuse Councils realized that I as a minister was interested in involving the churches in this kind of thing, they asked me specifically to gain some training through their auspices and to then work throughout California and we did... I did trainings in all through California, in almost every county, trying to involve churches and ministers and work with their religious community. This was in the early '80s, '82, '83, '84 on up to oh, '87. In 1987 then, Anne and I together formed this organization called the Spiritual Dimension in Victim Services, a non-profit organization, to educate and involve the religious community in services to victims of crime.
Hook: Tell me a little bit about the field of rights, victims' rights and services when you first really became involved in it and from... from your point of view and in the context of your lives and your work. (Break in tape)
Anne: Well, I think that we were just... we were just talking about how at the very beginning of the victims' movement everybody, child abuse councils, you know, people that were following various forms of abuse were together. I remember John Stein, was in elder abuse before NOVA ever got started. I mean that was really what his field was before that and it took a long time, it seems to me, for the elder abuse people to become part of what was going on with the rest of the victim movement. But there were child abuse and domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers, as well as the victim assistance programs within law enforcement, District Attorneys and probation departments who worked well together. Then, when the funding sources changed, these people ended up having to change. And one of the positive things that's going on right now is that Victims' Services 2000, which we saw in Denver, Colorado where we live, really started bringing people back together so that the, a one stop for crime victims and it makes it easier for the crime victim to get services and to not have to know about all of the various agencies. Because if you're a victim of crime, and it happens to you and it's never happened to you before, you just don't know.
David: When I first got into in the '80s, the conditions that I discovered were, within the churches and the congregations, there was a whole lot of them being unaware of the issue of what happened to crime victims, to abused children, to domestic violence victims and rape victims and elder abuse victims, and they really didn't recognize it too much even though they were in a prime position to see a lot of it. They just seemed to be overlooking it and then there seemed to be a lot of denial. Well, it's not in my shop and it might be somewhere else and... so there was a total unaware. But once in a while, when an issue did surface, there was a strong tendency to kind of cover it up, to kind of deal with it within the denomination or within the church, not let anybody know because that would reflect on the image of the congregation, "we're good people, we don't have these kind of things happening" and so there was a lot of, I call it circling the wagons mentality, that would happen in those cases. And then I discovered later that now there's considerably more openness for a couple of reasons. One is because of the victim assistance movement moving ahead as well as they are and the other because of all of the publicity.
And now the recent situation in the Roman Catholic Church, and they're not the only ones, they're just the ones that are getting all the publicity because they're so large has actually shown the meat of the problem.
Anne: And I think we need to be very clear to say that even in the smaller denominations, it's happening. It's just not happening to the extent the media coverage is not there and it's... it's across the board in religious organizations.
David: And also I want to say during that time, there were already some very positive programs. The Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence of Marie Fortune's up in Seattle already existed. They were doing wonderful things. Doing videos, doing trainings, making a lot of awareness that was happening back in the early days. And probably one of the earliest faith-based programs, and I understand that Bob has also been involved in this oral history, was Bob Denton, Dr. Bob Denton, who, in Akron, Ohio, who through his domestic, or Victim Assistance Program, which came out of his father's old rescue mission in 1920 and he started a victim assistance program for a domestic violence shelter for battered women. So that was going on way back then and, of course, Bob's been in the victim movement ever since.
Anne: And another, you know, going back clear to the '60s, is one of the places we did a training in Tennessee was the Madison Avenue Church of Christ and we found when we went there, we met with Nick Boone, who was the Director of the program. In the '60s, they began cottages for what would... we would call foster children and people from the church volunteered to be trained and they now... they... they started their first one in 1960 and then in the '80s as they recognized the need for battered women shelters, they built transition house... first of all, a battered women's program and then... now, transition apartments. So here is a religious organization that has through their own rather large, congregation trained themselves in the... in the various ways, worked very closely with the existing domestic violence shelters and with the existing social service people and so they've been doing it a long time. We just didn't know about it in the early days.
Hook: That brings me actually to one point that I wanted, something you've been mentioning, did you have a ready core of volunteers within your... within your churches and with the organizations who were willing to focus on crime victims?
David: Not in those days. No. I don't think so.
Anne: No. In... in fact... in fact, at the beginning even the service providers, the people of those very early on programs said, "Ah, forget about the church. The church, they're the problem. They're not, you know, they're not really the, they're not gonna... they're not gonna be helpful." So at the beginning it was hard to get service providers as well as clergy people interested. And that was probably one of the biggest problems that we had in pulling trainings together is... is to work with local agencies, you had to persuade them as well. Quite frankly, it was sometimes easier to persuade the people in the field, child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, victim assistance programs, it was easier to persuade those people of the need. Nowadays I think that people in the field recognize the spiritual component and it's very important toward the healing of a... of a crime victim. But it wasn't that way at the beginning.
David: Yeah, those instances that I mentioned early on were exceptions, really. I mean Marie Fortune and Bob Denton, some of these were pretty rare to find. One of the people, though, that was very much involved from the beginning and this is his large, heavy book, this way or that way? (laugh) Was Dr Richard Hammer in Springfield... in Springfield, Missouri and he wrote this book, Pastor, Church and Law. He's an attorney and a CPA who was very concerned with the legal issues around, the mishandling by churches of child abuse, neglect and domestic violence and this has gone through several editions. It's a great guidebook for pastors and clergy, even today, on the legal aspects of how to handle, you know, crime victims. So all of that was going on in, you know, in the early days but not a lot. There was a lot of denial and a lot of circling the wagons, as I said.
Hook: What would you say has been the greatest challenge that you've faced in affecting change in this field, victims' assistance?
Anne: Probably at the beginning it... it was the fact that people were not... did not see the religious community as a potential resource, for crime victims in their healing. Not... and we saw them as potential volunteers, like I talked about the elderly lady that was a volunteer in a correctional institution. How wonderful it would have been if we from the very beginning of this movement had been able to get people in churches concerned about and... and trained and able to deal with as volunteers, the crime victims. And it's happening now but it surely wasn't happening and I think that was our greatest challenge at the time. Don't you?
David: And I think... .yeah. And I think one thing that points out the greatest challenge going back to one of my own personal experiences as a young pastor, it was the idea of certain forms of doctrine and theology, almost supporting the victim issues. And... and myself, I'm ashamed to admit it, as a very young pastor before I had a clue about this and this is what we discovered a lot, I remember counseling a woman who obviously was a domestic violence victim and I said, you know, to her, "You just simply need to be a better wife, you need to, you can't leave him because the Bible says you got to stay in the relationship and... and, if you do get counseling, do it together." All these unwise things that I did so once I got in this movement, I knew exactly where these people were coming from and that was... that was really a great... a great challenge.
Another was that they all said, "Oh, we're too busy. We've got too much going on. We've got a lot of other things, you know, this is another whole arena. We're not too interested in taking training on this." In fact, I remember one pastor said, you know, I only scratch where it itches and I don't itch here."
Anne: I'm sure it itches now. (laughter) Yeah. I think so.
David: Yes. Now... now he's experienced that very much.
Anne: Yeah. Probably one of the early on difficulties that we also had was recruiting people to come. It was a whole new field. It was a whole new way of looking at things. Clergy could not have not known that there were people in their congregation who were troubled and... and certainly they... it was just a very difficult thing at the very beginning because it was a new concept. The victim movement itself was fairly new and so to talk about crime victims, I remember a training that we did down south where somebody literally said to us, "How dare the Delaplanes come in here and talk about crime victims when there are offenders sitting on death row today," you know. And so we, it really... the word "crime victim" was not even in many people's vocabulary at the very beginning and that was an education process with, especially with the religious community who had many volunteers working in Correctional agencies.
David: And the one thing that brought it to their attention, more than anything else, was all of a sudden when the lawsuits started to rise and the money became of value. I... I hate to say that they got really attuned to this as soon as it was starting to cost them because of failure to deal with it. Then all of a sudden they did become concerned with the domestic violence or the rape, victim or the child abuse victim. But, you know, that was one of the issues.
Anne: But it was... it was a long time in coming. It was not something, you know, if we started in the mid-80s, that was not something that people were, they were still trying to quietly pay off people or move them in, the minister or the priest or the Rabbi, they're moving them to some other location across the country where the abuse would continue, where the moral discrepancies would continue and there... there was really, I think, a hiding of it in the very beginning which I don't think happens now even... (interruption)
David: Except we're reading a lot of it in today's newspapers, that... it's really broken loose and a lot of our people in the field are now... (interruption)
Hook: But often referring to things.
David: ...very busy but that happened back then. Another was clergy were concerned about repercussions within their congregations. You know, you take a woman that's having problems with an abusive, controlling husband and she's supposed to be the pillar of the church and he is and all of a sudden open that up and to try to deal with that. There's polarization in the congregation. The pastor often serves at the will of the congregation. He doesn't want to make waves or rustle, stir up things in the congregation. So that was a big area of challenge and resistance, and another was finding a vehicle to actually get to these ministers. If I come from a certain faith persuasion to somebody of another faith persuasion and said, "Look we want to kind of help you with crime victim issues," that doesn't mean anything. And so what we discovered is that we had to use the vehicle of a neutral secular party like the Department of Justice or a government and... and public, private agencies to say, "We represent these people," and that gets in, of course, to the whole next issue.
Hook: Yes. Which is, let's go there now. What... what were some of your tactics and strategies that you employed to advance your position?
David: We learned as we went along. And as we went along, of course, the first thing that we always knew was that you approached these people with great respect of their faith stance, even if it isn't your own and you don't get into any discussions about the difference between what you believe and what they believe. You try to affirm them. You try to see what's positive in what a clergy are doing in any particular situation and then building from that, even if you notice they're making mistakes, you do in a cautious way. You begin to approach that as you work along. It's kind of the old Sound of Music approach "a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down" and we try to do a lot of that first and we have a lot of medicine to dispense, but we try to do it in a positive way. That was one of the things we did.
Anne: And that was one of our learnings. We did a denominational survey, at one time for OVC, for Office for Victims of Crime, which... and it was very interesting because our... our grant said we will look at a hundred denominations. I assumed there were a hundred denominations and did I ever find that, you know, there are far, far more than a hundred denominations. So we ended up then, using research to find out where were the largest denominations and how could we deal with them. And... and I think that, (throat clear) excuse me, the denominational survey really helped us to see the wide variation and probably our success was that we stuck to the content. If we're going to talk about child abuse, we're going to talk to you about the dynamics, the characteristics, we're going to tell you a few stories about child abuse and how it's happened in congregations and in families and... and we're really going to really stick to the content of the victims' services side of it.
We're not going to talk about theology unless it somehow and... and we had many discussions about this with people within the congregation, but David's ecumenical background was really helpful and then that survey, which really further educated us as to... to the wide differences in people's theological beliefs, enabled us then as we went into a place, oftentimes cold into a city, to try to get a balanced group of people from the very Evangelical to the more liberal social action people and we ended up, I think, with very good mixtures of... of Imams, Rabbis, Priests, Pastors. That helps a lot.
Hook: I want to talk a little bit about your traveling and how you moved in and out of communities. How did that work?
David: Well, first of all and I think the biggest thing was a lot of advance work. We would go in, we would simply sometimes start cold. And we would sometimes even go to the Yellow Pages and look for churches and temples and synagogues. And then we would call a few key people and this is where that entry through a neutral party like the Department of Justice, like NOVA, like National Victim Center, like any of the agencies or consortiums of elder abuse and all of that saying we represented those folks and we were considering, we had some funding to do some trainings, pretty soon you would get some takers. And those takers often came from people who had stories. There's almost invariably somebody that's had some story. You had an experience in one city, around one of those stories where a top denominational leader...
Anne: Oh that was very interesting. We were going to one of... one of the smaller denominations actually and... and we received great welcome and the guy wanted, the... the man wanted to tape everything that we were doing and he wanted to spread it to every single person in his denomination. He wanted to have videotapes, as much as he could of everything that we had to talk about. And it turned out that he was a batterer and we really actually found that out from his wife, not necessarily from him, but he had been through... he had been through some training, he knew where he was at this point in time and he knew that he had a responsibility because of what his former actions had been to spread that news to other people within his denomination. And that helped a lot I think and I think the other... the other tactic that we were able to use is we... we always found who were the service providers in the city.
As we went into a city, we met originally with the service providers and we brought them together, and that goes back to the very beginning of NOVA and the early on when everybody was together. By this time people had child abuse councils here and they were all getting their funding from different sources and now we were bringing them back together -- sometimes for the first time that they really had good interaction with each other. And those were the people often times within those organizations would be people of faith who would say, "Call so and so, call so and so" and that would be our initial person and then we... .we tried to get pretty large planning committees together because we needed a variety of denominational people to round out and make it a good ecumenical, uh...
David: People of their peers helping to plan.
Anne: Yeah, yeah, um-hum.
Hook: Did you publish, uh, do you have training materials, books or things like that?
David: Yeah. We use this a lot in our... our training's and it went through at least five editions and I don't know, Scott Beard, who's running our program now has another edition or not. But this covers all aspects of victimization in... in sections and it deals with how churches and congregations and pastors should respond to this document. And then we put out a special edition when we did training for military chaplains under one grant, through OVC. One of the issues too, I think that we... when you're trying to be neutral approaching these clergy initially telling them or coming from a neutral agency, you do sometimes hit hot button issues that actually deal with their theology, with their Biblical perspectives and that means that some churches actually believe in beating their children, they believe in the wife staying there at any cost, they believe in when somebody's a survivor of a... of a, victim of homicide, forgive them right away and... and get into that and they talk about that right away. Well, those are major mistakes and we just have to confront those sometimes when we deal with that and, of course, all that's in our training materials.
Anne: I, you know, I always remember Betty Jane Spencer. I mean her... her pastor literally two weeks after her children were brutally murdered and tortured before her eyes, two weeks later said, "it's time for you to forgive them." And it was just... and it was a... .it was just a horrible thing and we talked with Betty Jane over the years, you know, because one of the big things in many denominations is forgiveness and... and we had many, many conversations and much, much dialogue around issues like that with, especially more conservative congregations. But that was... that was the fault of not knowing, not knowing how to act, not knowing the dynamics, not knowing the crisis intervention techniques, not knowing how to work with people within your congregation and to refer. The biggest thing that we had to say in every training that we ever did was refer, refer, refer. And some ministers, past priests, they're lone rangers and they say, "I can do it myself. I don't need to refer to anybody" and that was one of the, you know... and I think that our being from the religious community was very much, of a help to people, being able to expose their... their vulnerability to say we really don't know and we do need to learn more.
David: One of our phrases we often use in that referral thing came from the famous Utah jazz player, Carl Malone. He said, "If you don't have the ball, don't shoot' and... (interruption)
Anne: We use that every training.
David: ...so often we found people not referring and they just didn't know what they were doing and trying to deal with it anyway.
Anne: Yeah. (Change tape)
David: Just to add to that forgiveness or to conclude that one story about Betty Jane Spencer, it must have been about 7 years later after she had gotten that very poor advice from her pastor that I was in the elevator at a NOVA conference in Charleston, South Carolina and she came into the elevator and said, "David, you know, I have come into the place where I think somehow I have got to release this burden off of myself and I know deep within myself for my sake I need to know how to forgive, but I can't." And even at the point, she was still in that place and she said, "What do I do?"
And I said, "Well, if you want to pray about it, tell God you can't and see what kind of answer you get." The following conference she said, "I did that and I finally released it." But that was years down the road. And I think that's the thing that the clergy need to understand.
Hook: Should we go ahead and talk about failures?
David and Ann (Laughing)
David: We can talk about failures.
Ann: Yeah, we know about failures.
David: Yeah, we both agree there were many and I think we discovered as we went along, that we should be using...in our trainings we tried to do it all at first, we a lot of our failures were more in process than in content, but we tried to do all of it ourselves and as we went along we found that great success came from using the service providers in the various aspects of victimization nas the presenters and then we would come in and deal with the religious issue. And another one of failures, I think it is something that victim movement moves on, particularly with the religious community and others was to do train the trainer stuff and we were asked to do that when we did the big one on military chaplains in various locations in the country. We developed the train the trainer manual because as you do that then you can exponentially involve other people.
Ann: And I think we also discovered that some clergy really were knowledgeable about certain forms of, for instance homicide. I remember we talked to a preacher who said that he was doing a funeral for a gang member who was in his inner city congregation and the young people came in with their colors on and he stood up in front of them and said, "Look it. I have a mother that's grieving the loss of her 16 year-old son and your all sitting here with your colors and we're not even going to continue this funeral until you take your colors off." And then there was dead silence and one by one they started taking their colors off. And you (referring to David) heard a story in Los Angeles...
David: It's crazy, this guy does about 25 about 30, 40 funerals a year due to gang violence. One service he was having one of the gang members of the opposite gang actually came in walked up to the casket and put four or five bullets into the casket during the service. So these people -- we discovered there were a lot of folks we were dealing with, particularly when we doing the high crime urban areas, knew a lot about victimization. And we accessed them more toward the end in the early days, we assumed that since we had heard that churches didn't know much about that, many people did. And then we tried to access those resources.
Ann: And probably another one of our main failures was that we really didn't get the numbers. Now we really put ourselves down for that, but at the time we have to remember it was very very difficult people didn't want to deal with it. Even the service providers didn't want to deal with it, but I wish in retrospect that we would have had more co operation in the religious community in getting people there. At the beginning there were some denominations were they would send a deacon or they would send a sister, but they would never send a priest.
David: They do now.
Ann: They do now, but they didn't then. So in retrospect, I think, at the very beginning I think the numbers was hard for me, not being able to reach the numbers in this large nation.
David: One that I consider a failure, which really, the training we did was fine but it was in the city that had a large presence of one particular denomination and that denomination had sent, this was around child abuse prevention, had sent a representative from every one of their regions to this conference, but what they had done was set this up so that after our training, the leadership of this denomination would go off into another room in this hotel and spend an hour discussing how they would deal with the information that we got, it happened that they got from our training, and it happened that one of our colleagues was in that denomination, he was a medical doctor who had worked with child abuse concerns and he went in that, it was only for those folks. And when they were in there, they decided that although we had talked about the mandate to report, they would just take it to their higher authority and they would deal with it themselves. So although we presented it, we still found the same circling the wagons kind of approach.
Ann: The other thing that happened though-- we had a display that we used for a long time, and even, I remember particularly in that city people came up to this and said, "The District Attorney won't deal with my problem." But we had, we had, referral people that we could send them to that were of their own faith, who understood the problem and were able to get them headed in the right direction. So that was a wonderful kind of thing. The other area that we probably had the most difficulty with, I think, was ritualistic abuse. And because the word satanic was in it, it seemed to become a religious issue, and concentrated our efforts, we did not want to get into that field and do a lot of training in that area, but we did have a small support group, and we did, to this day its what, 10, 15 years later, we're still in touch and keeping phone contact and letter writing contact with this small group of survivors, but I think that area was...
David: And success couldn't come very well on that because it got so sensationalized, and there was so much about it that it was just difficult to be objective.
Hook: What about accomplishments? What do you perceive as the one greatest accomplishment?
David: Overall, for me its the Victims of Crime Act of course, which then birthed and spawned all these different agencies and activities and many many other things. And I think that that probably is one of the greatest accomplishments of the whole victim rights movement, when that occured.
Ann: And the Constitutional Amendments, the Federal and the States' Amendments are just extraordinarily important. But I think for me there are people like Anne Seymour who really have been cheerleaders, and I think we've had a lot of cheerleaders along the way. People were not able to, you know didn't burn out to soon. And its amazing to me that this woman, over all these years, and others like her. Janice Lord is another, Janice Harris Lord, is another person. To me, they're heroes of this whole victims' movement. And Marlene and John Stein, and Marlene Young. All of these people are people who are keeping the light, the candle alive. And I think that that's probably the greatest part of what's going on in the victims' movement.
David: I think we're going to have to pick up the book again, Ann.
Hook: How about within your organization?
David: Yeah, within our organization.
Ann: Oh, for me personally and for David too I'm sure, its this whole President's Task Force on Victims of Crime (holds up book) and I'm going to read it to you. I'm just going to take a minute on this tape to read it, because we say the recommendations for ministry. We use this in every training we did, and for clergy it was a wonderful eye opener. So whoever put this together all those people in that first Task Force gave me the vision to take it to the religious community and let me read it to you.
"In hearing after hearing across the country, victims identified the religious community as a vital and largely untapped source of support for crime victims. The government may compensate for economic loss, the state may punish, doctors may physically heal, but the lasting scars to spirit and faith are not so easily treated. Many victims question the faith that they once relied upon, or they have no faith upon which to rely, and frequently ministers and their congregations can be a source of solace that no other sector of society can provide. And it is in the unique role of the ministry that this Task Force offered the following recommendations." And there were two: "The ministry should recognize and address the needs of crime victims. The ministry should develop both seminary and in service training on the criminal justice system, the needs of victims, and ways to restore victims spiritual and material health."
David: That was our...
Ann: And it goes on to comment about. And I think one of the things that is most important is in this book it says, "We were left alone to bury our daughter. More than 2000 people attended her funeral. But after the services people, everybody seemed to disappear. People didn't know what to say so they stayed away. And even the religious stayed away. And to this day they visit the killer and his family weekly, but for the victim's family, there doesn't seem to be any time." And that goes back to what we've made as a theme throughout this whole presentation. The balance between the victim and the offender getting services from people in the religious community.
David: That was our original promo piece and it turned out to be the greatest success for us.
Hook: What's needed today to continue growth and professionalism in our field?
Ann: Partnerships, partnerships, partnerships. I just think we're very excited to see some of the building blocks that we really established way back then, being built upon by many many people. Especially those in the victim services' field who recognize and they've been told by crime victims that they need that spiritual healing. So they recognize the importance of it and they're working toward making that happen.
David: And I might review in talking about what's needed. What has happened, through all of our work, thousands of clergy have been made more aware of the needs of crime victims. And during certain trainings and one example, a woman named Reverend Kibby Ruth who attended one of the very early on sessions and that transfer knowledge workshop now has founded a whole organization called Kyros in San Mateo which deals with clergy across the moral boundaries and victimized people. Now she's just totally overwhelmed with what's stirred up now in the church. Those kind of things happened. And also the Covenant to Care thing...
Ann: The leveraging, the leveraging, building upon, building upon, building upon. I remember in the '80s the Health and Human Services, the Department of Health and Human Services gave a grant to some people that we didn't even know, had never met in Corpus Christi, Texas to adopt a program, that I don't know what it was called then, but when we found it, when we did a training for DOJ in Connecticut it was a program called Covenant to Care. And basically, we found that program there. We took it back to Sacramento, and it was very exciting, we renamed the model the "adopt a child abuse case worker program." Took it to the state, David-- David the minister took it to the state of California and social, and here I was as a consultant to the Youth Authority, hunting for money for programs.
He just took it in and said this is a model we found back East. They said, "That's wonderful. Let's do it here in California." And they did, and what it basically does is take a social worker from the Dept. of Social Services County Program and a church adopts the social worker and then anything that that social worker needs for any family on his or her case load -- a dresser, a lamp, clothing -- they give it to them, so that was a fabulous program.
David: That was a training manual that we developed for that and now there are several documents like this and others across the country to be modeled after, so what's needed is more of these kinds of programs, church-based that assist...
Ann: And it's institutionalized and still going today in Sacramento County California.
David: Yeah, the Lutheran social services picked it up here and others have picked it up in other places. Other things of course are the trainings and we did. One of the big ones, that Anne mentioned to us when we came into the taping session, one of our very first training for victims was in Ft. Worth, the National Victim Center is located there. And they helped us a lot, and we had several of those, we had one in Atlanta, we had one in Connecticut, one in Denver. And so following that we did the large denominational surveys. I think denominations need more and more to be involved in this. I think that what is needed is more and more understanding and more and more connection as Ann said between service providers and the religious community. And now, I think today taking advantage of the present climate of the faith-based initiative using some of these funds. Like Scott Beard is doing, who has taken our program now. He was on our Board and then became the Director -- and this is the document that he's putting out. It's kind of shiny so I don't know how it's going to show up there -- but initially in Charleston South Carolina but now he's with the Maryland Crime Victim Agency there with Stephanie Roper Foundation doing faith-based initiative stuff.
Ann: But if were to say there is one, one thing that really needs to happen in the field, to me it's seminary training. To get to the masses. I think that every seminary should have as part of their regular curriculum. Not as a special class that you can take if you're interested, a part of their regular curriculum -- something that gives them the basic information about all forms of victimization, about the crime victimization assistance within their communities, how does the Compensation Board work. They need to know that information. And there are some -- it's something that's advancing, but they started out in the seminaries more as a class on domestic violence or a class on child abuse. I think the whole realm of victimization needs to be class taught.
Hook: What advice to you give to newcomers? New professionals and volunteers?
Ann: Probably the first advice that I would do, is to get to know people in other parts of the field. Initiate -- you're going to sometimes, you're going to have to initiate relationships with the religious community. Because the building of relationships is what's going to help you do a very successful training. Its going to enable...if you know a law enforcement officer and you have a problem in your congregation, you know somebody that you can trust that you can call. But you as a service provider have to initiate the relationship with the religious community because they're not necessarily even, to this day, going to be coming to you. And I think that's happening more, especially with individual programs within the community.
David: And I would think, too, to build even on the negative publicity thats come out now. To say, "Hey, we've got programs in place to deal with this stuff, we've got people like Marie Fortune, like Kibby Ruth, and these folks to work with you" and to link people up around the negative problems that come. Also, I would encourage pastor, churches, congregations to join victim assistance organizations -- Nova, National Victims Center -- go to every conference, go to every training, learn everything they can about it. And then come out of that, because there's new stuff coming out all the time, and the more they get involved the more excited they get.
Ann: And I agree with that. I just think that its really important. Even if you only go to one conference a year that's about crime victims. Pick one and get involved and get to know those people, and that will change your ministry. You will find victims of crime in your congregation that you didn't know were there when you start talking about the issue. If you do a sermon every once in a while, do a sermon every once in a while and you'll see who the people are within your community, within your congregation.
David: I think too that, one thing...to anyone that's in the field, to care of yourself. There's so much trauma, there's so much pain and suffering in all of this issue that it's very easy to burn out and you just have to take care of yourself. That's one piece of advice I'd give.
Hook: What's your vision for the future?
David: My vision is a society where every church, every pastor, every priest, every Iman, every temple, every synagogue, would be well informed involving his or her congregation and people in assistance to crime victims and protection of those children and...
David: ...battered spouses and elder abuse potential victims all be informed. Speaking of elder abuse, you know, pastors are in nursing homes every day. And they need to be aware that some of those places don't treat those folks to well. And they need to know how to report it and they need to know about the elder ombudsmen, people like that, and so my vision is to see all of that, with this kind of awareness.
Ann: And I guess I'd like to see the religious community as a social institution which will allow no victim to remain without assistance, and no perpetrator to remain unexposed. We would also like to envision more emphasis on restorative justice versus punitive justice, especially within congregations that are so deeply involved with offenders. And I think this would quite change the vision of many correctional institution religious volunteers from total emphasis on working with the victims to a balanced emphasis between victims and offenders. If every religious leader was involved healing the hurt that crime inflicts we would have vast numbers of people that are sensitized and trained to work with crime victims. And the other thing I'd like to see is protocols. We have protocols in domestic violence, we have protocols of rape, we have protocols for dealing with crisis intervention at the time of the crime. We need to have protocols in every church in every synagogue in every temple that say, "This is how we protect our children, this is what we're doing in our denomination, or our religion, so that crime victims are not people that continue to be hurt within our sphere of influence."
Hook: What is your greatest fear?
David: My greatest fear is division within the ranks. One agency competing with another instead of cooperating at every level. Political agendas over-riding human needs, and continued total unawareness in some segments of society, or sometimes the continued cover up, circling the wagons as I mentioned before when an issue arises. My fear would be some of that would continue rather than the vision I just expressed.
Ann: And I think that my greatest fear is that people will lose the vision. We're really concerned that the religious community is still the greatest source of volunteers in this nation. And yet we do not see the increase in numbers of people working with crime victims as volunteers. And so I think we need people of vision that can see that, grab hold of the vision, and who will build it. And will not miss opportunities to develop partnerships. (coughs)
David: And I like the last statement and thought that you often have...
Ann: We talk about justice for all...I would like to have equal access to spiritual healing for all. That's what I'd like to see.
|This project was supported by Grant Number 2002-VF-GX-0009 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.|