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FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 1997202/307-0703



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) today awarded a $99,688 grant to the Minnesota Medical Research Foundation in Minneapolis to develop and test a training and technical assistance program for victim advocates and crisis counselors who provide services to sexual assault victims. The program's goal is to standardize training across the country and improve the quality and continuity of services provided to survivors of sexual assault.

"This program will provide state-of-the-art information and training to sexual assault crisis counselors and advocates," said OVC Director Aileen Adams. "We hope it will have a significant impact on the services that sexual assault victims across the country receive."

The Minnesota Medical Research Foundation will conduct a literature search and review, including information on the short and long-term physical and emotional effects of sexual assault on victims, promising programs and approaches for assisting victims and the emotional needs of victims who choose to work with the criminal justice system. Results from the literature search will be used to develop training materials.

The training curriculum will include short and long-term counseling techniques, addressing the concerns of family members, mental health benefits of support groups and how to run them and strategies for providing victim support in collaboration with criminal justice components and mental health and medical practitioners.

"The quality of training provided to front line workers varies considerably from state to state," said Bonnie Campbell, Director of the Violence Against Women Office. "This project will help meet the need for uniform basic training of counselors and advocates who work with the victims of rape and sexual assault."

An advisory committee comprised of representatives from the scientific research and medical communities, law enforcement and the mental health and sexual assault treatment and advocacy community will guide the development of the training materials. Once the training and technical assistance program is developed, it will be pilot tested and evaluated in Minnesota and Colorado. If the program is successful, OVC may continue the program to provide training in two teams across the country during the second year. During the third year, a train-the-trainer curriculum may be developed.

OVC is the federal government's chief advocate for crime victims and their families. To learn more about OVC, its programs and resources, see the World Wide Web site at or the OJP home page at Or, call the OVC Resource Center at 800/627-6872.



After hours, page Linda Mansour on 202/516-6800