How NVRDC's Survivor Support Fund Addresses a Gap in Victim Services
Here at NVRDC our mission is to empower victims of all crimes to achieve survivor defined justice through a collaborative continuum of advocacy, case management, and legal services. One of the ways that we help crime victims is by assisting them in applying for crime victims’ compensation, a government program to reimburse victims of violent crimes including sexual assault and homicide for out-of-pocket expenses they may incur as a result of their victimization.
However, sometimes our clients have expenses relating to the crime that aren’t covered under programs like this one or any other in the city. That’s why we are creating a new program called the Survivor Support Fund. The Survivor Support Fund aims to empower and foster resiliency among survivors of crime through their healing process by providing a supplemental fund to advance their access to resources and opportunities not otherwise available for them, in the hopes of minimizing the impact of trauma and alleviating any basic barriers towards recovery.
You may have noticed that some of our recent fundraising events and activities have been focused on supporting the creation of this program, like our participation in the NO MORE Challenge and our upcoming Charmed By Charity Event with Alex and Ani Georgetown.
Ryan Guilds, Chair of our Board of Directors, was one of the first people to donate to the launch of the Survivor Support Fund. Thanks to the generosity of the Guilds family, we are well on our way to making this program a reality for our clients who need it the most. He shared in his own words what this program means to him:
Why is contributing to the Survivor Support Fund important to you?
When I first heard of the Survivor Support Fund I immediately thought of my mother. Like many survivors, she struggled to escape years of abuse in part because she lacked the economic means to fight. Basic necessities that many of us take for granted like child care and transportation can pose a near insurmountable obstacle preventing much needed services and crime reporting. This fund helps to address that gap, by assisting survivors in ways existing victim's compensation funds do not. I am convinced that for many survivors it can mean the difference between getting help and languishing in a cycle of violence and despair.
Out of all of the other places people could send their donations, why did you choose NVRDC’s Survivor Support Fund?
There are many ways that contributions to NVRDC can help crime survivors. The uniqueness of this Fund, however, is that it goes directly and personally to survivors, addressing a known obstacle in the assertion of their rights. And the amount needed to make a difference can be surprisingly small.
Imagine a young mother struggling with the mental and physical aftermath of a rape. She might look for any reason not to come forward and get the help she needs and the justice she deserves. Lacking the means to pay for a babysitter, for example, is precisely the type of obstacle that can ensure she does not come forward. Better, she might think, to bury the pain then to take on a system that doesn't support her in her time of greatest need. All too often it is these types of practical impediments that discourage victims from asserting their rights. They become convinced it will not matter and that the system does not care. This Fund is an important way to start knocking down these barriers.
I am delighted that NVRDC's staff identified this need and has volunteered to take on this initiative. For me, it reinforces my view that even small contributions to this Fund will make a real difference. It is why my family has donated to this very worthy cause and hopes many others do so.
If you would like to join Ryan in contributing to the Survivor Support Fund, please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.