Victims Rights Task Force

Disabilities Subcommittee Meeting Minutes

April 16, 2014

Appoquinimink State Service Center, Middletown, DE

1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Members Present: Pat Maichle, Stefanie Lancaster (minutes), Leslie Hailey, Carol Kuprevich, Jane Donovan, Blanche Creech, Janet Tillman, Janelle Stanton, Alisha Raiford

  1. Introduction of Committee Members and Guests

Members present introduced themselves.

  1. Discussion with Karen McGloughlin, Public Health

Karen McGloughlin was invited to today’s meeting to talk to us about some of our Action Plan objectives, however; she was unable to attend today’s meeting. She will try to attend the next meeting.

  1. Presentation by Janet Tillman -Survey Results

Janet has provided the committee with the survey results gathered through the First State Equal Access to Safety Strategic Plan by the Delaware Collaboration Partners which consists of the Center for Disabilities Studies at the University of Delaware, Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Delaware. They began this research in October 2010 with a grant from the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW). The purpose of the collaboration is to create a system in Delaware that is responsive to the needs of all persons who are victims of domestic violence- including people with disabilities and/or mental illness – using trauma informed approaches. Some key findings during their research showed the following: Organizations must become more accessible and provide safe environments for victims with disabilities and/or mental illness; The “point of entry” and the “front line staff” are where quality of services become evident; and staff must be more responsive when interacting with victims of crime.Of those people in the thirteen focus groups interviewed, there were a total of 55 participants and 75 individual surveys done. The focus grouptalked with disability self-advocates, deaf individuals of which they heard very powerful and moving stories.

Janet provided a chart titled “First State Equal Access to Safety Needs Assessment Key Findings and Strategic Plan Initiatives”. A copy of this was provided to all members present. This chart discusses key findings and areas in need of attention. Some key points that were made during this discussion were:

  • Accessibility and Safety – Many agencies did not make reasonable accommodations for those victims in need. Every program participant within the survey experiences barriers whether they had a disability or not. A lot of the Social Service Staff were not knowledgeable of how to interact with domestic violence victims with or without disabilities.
  • Welcoming Point of Entry – One barrier mentioned within the survey was that the first point of contract whether it be a phone call or in person did not feel very welcomed. This sets the tone for the entire discussion. Many participants felt uncomfortable because they were not given enough time to explain their needs, not made eye contact with the person that was speaking to them, staff assuming they know what is needed without asking the victim and some staff pushing the victim off to someone else.
  • Staff Knowledge/Responsiveness – Many of the service providers that were approached recognize now the need to learn from others. They seem to have an open attitude, respect and desire to learn of victim’s needs. It was mentioned that much more training is needed to provide the supports needed.
  • Policies and Procedures – It was discovered that all partners within the focus group and services providers are lacking in trauma informed policies and procedures. One of the goals of this focus group is to show various ways to address this issue.

This focus group will be developing a Safety and Assessment tool binder to share with all service providers to help provide some training in the areas mentioned. This will be developed between now and September.

  1. Small Group Updates – Action Plan

The Education group was unable to meet now. The APS Data Collection & Outcomes work group was able to met via conference call on March 12th. The goal for this data collection group is to identify who is specifically underserved and track what is needed beyond placement to better serve this population. One main fact is that APS needs to substantiate the need for more money and resources. One goal that has been set in regards to the time frame for this data collection and analysis is prior to November 1st so that the requests can be made within the budget request for the following year. The next steps for this group will be to set up in person meetings to develop specific questions that need to be asked moving forward. They will review the SR26 workgroup findings to make sure that different questions will be asked.

  1. Action Plan Revision for Delaware
  2. Review of Draft Plan

In today’s handouts is the most current draft version of our Action Plan. This version includes all recommendations to date. In addition, there is another handout “Strategic Planning Process Steps” that Pat picked up at a recent conference and felt it would help our group on the Action Plan.

  1. STAND Training – Update

Alisha and Leslie reported that the flyer for the upcoming STAND Training event with Nora Baladerian, Ph.D., the guest speaker, has been distributed via email to their list serve. There will be trainings held on May 27th in New Castle County, May 28th in Kent County and May 29th in New Castle County. There are currentlythirteen trainers that they have available for these trainings. More information will roll out after CIT training next week.

  1. Crime Victims Data – SCR #26

Pat stated she had a hard copy of the report available with her if anyone would like to review what was sent to the General Assembly. Pat is hopeful that good things will come from the recommendations made from this group. If anyone did not receive the report via email, Pat will resend to them.

  1. Youth Risk Survey – Update

Pat stated she has not yet had an opportunity to follow up and meet with Roberta Gealt. She will try to meet with her prior to the next meeting.

  1. Other Business From the Group

There is no other business at this time.

  1. Next Meeting Date

Our next meeting will be held on June 4that 9:30 a.m. at Appoquinimink State Service Center in Middletown. The May meeting was cancelled due to CIT Training.

  1. Adjournment

Today’s meeting adjourned at 3:30p.m.