Strengthening victim services in the last frontier

Strengthening victim services in the last frontier
Oct 28, 2021
ICF helps Alaska communities build capacity for crime victim service programs

Alaska is beautiful and rugged. It’s home to the highest peak in North America (Denali), more than half of the U.S. coastline, and the largest population of bald eagles in the U.S. It’s also, unfortunately, home to an extremely high level of domestic violence.

As ICF works to build a more prosperous and resilient world for all, we also work with Alaska state and tribal entities to confront, and reduce, these startling statistics.
  • The rate of rape is 2.5 times the national average.
  • 59% of Alaskan women have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or both.
  • 30% of Alaskans don’t have access to victim services.
  • 1 in 3 Alaskan communities have no law enforcement.

The challenge is immense. But resilience and optimism remain strong in this state, among population of fewer than 800,000—about 10 percent of whom come from one of 229 federally recognized tribes.

ICF’s Victim Services team works with Alaska state and tribal entities to maximize residents’ resilience, support their grants financial management, and minimize survivors’ trauma.

How communities find financial resources

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) created the OVC Tribal Financial Management Center (TFMC). TFMC provides training and technical assistance (TTA) and resources to support American Indian and Alaska Native communities as they successfully manage the financial aspects of various federal awards. Thanks to this additional program, Indigenous communities now also receive TTA and resources to navigate financial aspects of their Tribal Victim Services awards.

Almost a quarter of the 236 total OVC TFMC grantees are in Alaska.

From logo creation to orientation materials to the mobile first website, TFMC ensures training and technical assistance is culturally humble, relevant, and accessible to grantees.

Our work is divided across two projects. Together, they support tribal communities with their goal to improve services for victims of crime.

Spreading awareness

It starts with the acknowledgement that this work matters. We have team members located in Alaska supporting grantees as well as participating in cultural and contractual events. While in person engagements have decreased during the pandemic TFMC successfully pivoted to a virtual TA model and the team is anxious to get back into the communities.

ICF has also served as a key partner for the biannual Alaska Prevention Summit—a 3-day primary prevention and evaluation capacity building conference through Alaska’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

Supporting Primary Prevention

Through our longtime partnership with Sitkans Against Family Violence, ICF Senior Manager and Alaska resident, Gretchen Clarke provides tailored training and technical assistance to support evidence-based and informed primary prevention strategies. As an evaluation consultant to the local primary prevention coalition, Pathways to a Safer Sitka, Gretchen conducts in-person and virtual trainings to build capacity for strategic planning and using data for continuous quality improvement. In addition, as a member of the Alaska Pathways to Prevention Statewide leadership team since 2006, she works with tribal elders, local shelter representatives, State of Alaska partners, and community members to align training and technical assistance with community needs.

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At the heart of it all

Our project teams appreciate the weight of their responsibility to those they serve. So, we prioritize culturally informed approaches to program implementation. At the same time, we’ve helped introduce creative solutions to complex challenges posed by lack of resources, extreme weather, limited broadband, difficult terrain, and overwhelmed victim service providers.

The challenge is immense. But resilience and optimism remain strong in Alaska, with a population of fewer than 800,000--about 10 percent of whom come from the state’s 229 federally recognized tribes.