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CHAPTER 18 ...


    May 2008 National Victim Assistance Academy, Track 1, Foundation-Level Training



    Anne Seymour, Marti Anderson, and Kevin Lowe, Ph.D.*

This chapter explores the foundational NVAA Module 8 research and key concepts of Learning Objectives

    collaboration, along with recommended

    ; Describe the different types of strategies for successful collaborative working relationships and identify efforts to enhance public safety and to examples in your work. improve services for victims and

    ; Recognize the characteristics of survivors of crime. One of the ultimate

    successful collaboration in working strengths of America’s victim assistance relationships. field is its willingness and capacity to

    collaborate with allied professionals, ; Identify key collaboration partners

    and describe your roles in effective volunteers, and organizations. To best

    victim services. identify and meet the needs of crime

    victims and survivors, victim-serving ; Identify challenges to, and benefits of,

    professionals have created unique successful collaboration.

    partnerships that recognize and respect ; Describe a six-step process for differences yet, at the same time, establish successful collaboration. a common vision and goals that promote crime victim assistance, support, and safety. Both public- and private-sector entities have joined in collaborative efforts that enhance victims’ rights and the comprehensive delivery of victim services.

    Collaboration is critical to the ongoing success of the crime victim assistance field in America and around the world. It embraces differences, yet it recognizes the many commonalities that unite efforts to help victims and survivors of crime. In the early days of the victims‘ rights movement, there was often a pervading sense of ―us against them‖—that is, victims and service providers struggling for dignity and acknowledgment against a variety of barriers: offenders‘ rights taking precedence over

    * Authors of this chapter are Anne Seymour, Justice Solutions, Washington DC; Marti Anderson, Iowa Office of the Attorney General, Des Moines, IA; and Kevin Lowe, Ph.D., Sacramento, CA.

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    May 2008 National Victim Assistance Academy, Track 1, Foundation-Level Training

victims‘ rights, lack of understanding within communities about victim suffering and

    trauma, a justice system that was not designed to protect the interests of victims nor involve them in key processes that affected their lives, limited laws that protected victims‘ rights and interests, and limited financial and human resources to support victim-related initiatives. The pioneers of victims‘ rights looked to past civil rights movements for guidance to build both an agenda and a constituency.

    Let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our

    common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved.

    And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the

    world safe for diversity.

    John F. Kennedy, 1963

    The lessons learned from women who fought for the right to vote and civil rights activists who struggled for equality proved to be invaluable. While many elements contributed to the success of these historical efforts, one common theme emerged: The ability to collaborate and find supporters who shared a common vision and goals was critical to success. Perhaps most important was to reach beyond the core constituencies affected by injustice (in these cases, women who could not vote and persons of color who were treated as second-class citizens) and build a powerful, diverse collaborative network of allies and partners.

    Like these earlier groups who strived for equal justice, crime victims had a significant weapon in their struggle for dignity, respect, and recognition: the power of the personal story. With hundreds of thousands of individuals in America personally hurt by crime, there was a core constituency of real people with real pain to whom many ordinary people could relate: the family whose grandparents were killed in a fiery drunk-driving crash (which was not even considered a crime 30 years ago); the rape victim who was blamed and shamed for the violent assault committed against her; the mother whose teenage son was molested by his soccer coach, who found limited protection under the law; and the countless families whose children were abducted, often found murdered, and sometimes never recovered at all. Some of the most crucial networks that resulted were victims helping victims by providing mutual support and validation. The grassroots network of victims and their collaboration with caring and concerned professionals joined to create an effective social activism that has come to change the face of how justice and public safety are viewed in America.

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    This historical foundation has provided important guidance to professionals and volunteers who serve crime victims, and serves as a basis on which to build important partnerships that ultimately benefit victims and survivors of crime.


    Within the past decade, significant research has examined general trends and strategies in collaboration, as well as trends specific to victim- and justice-related collaborative initiatives. A range of findings are helpful to understand what works in collaboration and what strategies are most effective in forming successful partnerships and coalitions that benefit crime victims and those who serve them.

    Collaboration: What Makes It Work

    In Collaboration: What Makes It Work, Mattessich, Murray-Close, and Mooney (2001)

    synthesize a considerable body of research to identify 20 factors that influence the success of collaborations formed by nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and other organizations (see chart on next page). Within collaboration research, these factors are considered the standard for the discipline of collaboration.

    A more detailed summary of this checklist for success can be accessed online at: Benefits of successful collaboration are included in Appendix A.

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    Factors That Influence Successful Collaborations

    1. Factors related to the environment: ; History of collaboration or cooperation in the community.

    ; Collaborative group seen as a legitimate leader in the community.

    ; Favorable political and social climate.

    2. Factors related to membership characteristics: ; Mutual respect, understanding, and trust.

    ; Appropriate cross-section of members.

     ; Members see collaboration in their self-interest.

    ; Ability to compromise.

    3. Factors related to process and structure: ; Members share a stake in both process and outcome.

    ; Multiple layers of participation.

    ; Flexibility.

    ; Development of clear roles and policy guidelines. ; Adaptability.

    ; Appropriate pace of development.

    4. Factors related to communication: ; Open and frequent communication.

    ; Established informal relationships and communication links.

    5. Factors related to purpose: ; Concrete, attainable goals and objectives.

    ; Shared vision.

    ; Unique purpose.

     6. Factors related to resources:

    ; Sufficient funds, staff, materials, and time.

    ; Skilled leadership.

    Criminal Justice and Collaboration

    In The Emergence of Collaboration as the Preferred Approach in Criminal Justice, the

    Center for Effective Public Policy (CEPP) and State Justice Institute make a strong case to

    suggest that ―justice can be more effectively served when those tasked with carrying it out

    define their roles, responsibilities, and relationship to one another differently and work

    together in pursuit of shared visions, missions, and goals‖ (Carter, 2005, pp. 3-5). In addition, seven challenges to forming collaborative relationships in an ―adversarial

    system‖ are identified:

    1. Adversarial foundation of our legal system.

    2. Competition for resources among those at the table.

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    May 2008 National Victim Assistance Academy, Track 1, Foundation-Level Training

    4. Creation of overlapping bodies by the requirements of different authorities.

    5. Need for leadership in an independent system of justice.

    6. The critical role of facilitator/convener of collaborative teams.

    7. Special place of the judicial branch of government.

    The Emergence of Collaboration as the Preferred Approach in Criminal Justice, which

    includes suggestions to meet the seven challenges described here, can be accessed online at:

    Impact of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on


    A National Institute of Justice (NIJ) report, State and Local Change and the Violence

    Against Women Act, examined outcomes of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

    funding that are specific to collaboration within four prosecutors‘ offices in Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Oregon (Chaiken, Boland, Maltz, Martin, and Tragonski, 2005). One of the major benefits of VAWA cited by practitioners interviewed for this study was ―a dramatic rise in collaboration and cooperation addressing domestic violence‖

    (p.32). This study also examined how cooperation is achieved:

    To cooperate effectively, prosecutors and victims‘ advocates have had to recognize

    and respect (if not agree with) their different perspectives and goals. Prosecutors in

    the jurisdictions studied saw enactment of VAWA as an opportunity to increase

    victim safety and offender accountability. They viewed the victim service

    provisions, primarily, as services that would ensure the victim‘s immediate safety

    and facilitate the collection of appropriate statements and evidence to secure a

    conviction. Victims and their advocates looked to the law for direct short-term aid,

    such as shelter, and for long-term assistance that would allow the victim to become

    psychologically, emotionally, socially, and financially independent of the abuser.

    (p. 32)

    This study indicated that prosecutors and advocates often view new programs differently and that VAWA helped stimulate initial discussions and ongoing mechanisms for resolving these concerns, often spearheaded by prosecutors.

    A summary of State and Local Change and the Violence Against Women Act is available

    online at:

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Establishing and Maintaining Successful

    Researcher-Practitioner Collaborations

    In 1999, the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center, in conjunction with the National Victim Assistance Academy, conducted a series of focus groups with victim advocates, practitioners, and researchers to examine ways these groups could work together more effectively to produce sound and practical research about violence against women (Kilpatrick, Resick, and Williams, 1999, p. 5). This research examined the needs and expectations of practitioners and researchers relevant to violence against women; characteristics of successful collaborative relationships; ways to initiate collaborations and establish goals for research on prevention of violence against women; ethics, confidentiality, and safety when conducting victim-related research; and dissemination of research findings. Mouradian, Mechanic, and Williams (2001) offer the following eight key tips for making collaboration work.

    Eight Key Tips for Making Collaboration Work

    1. Discuss all aspects of the collaboration until mutually satisfying solutions are reached.

    2. Talk about and establish a shared vision and goals for a joint project, and come up with

    specific scientific and research-to-practice and/or research-to-policy goals.

    3. Be certain that goals are clearly stated and understood by all key participants.

    4. Involve both the researchers and the practitioners/advocates in the planning of each

    phase of a project, and/or allow for the modification of a planned project based on

    feedback from partners.

    5. Ensure that all parties’ questions about the work are answered adequately (including the

    questions of project and organization staff).

    6. Ensure that responsibilities for various project tasks are divided in ways that are

    reasonable, fair, and sensitive to the time constraints of those involved.

    7. Provide for the materials and other support needs of all the individuals and/or

    organizations involved.

    8. Make it a goal to secure funds to support the time of all involved in the collaboration, or

    offer student/work-study assistance, computer assistance, training, or workshops.

New Models of Collaboration for Public Service Delivery

    In a working paper that examined worldwide trends in collaboration, including trends in the United States, ―collaboration for public service delivery‖ refers to ―the reciprocal and voluntary support that two or more distinct public sector agencies, or public and private administrations, including nonprofit organizations, provide each other in order to deliver VIII-6 Chapter 8: Collaboration for Victims’ Rights and Services


    May 2008 National Victim Assistance Academy, Track 1, Foundation-Level Training

    a ‗public‘ service, i.e., one that is part of the government mission‖ (Prefontaine, Ricard, Sicotte, Turcotte, and Dawes, 2000, p. 6)). This research found that very often such support translates into a formal agreement between the parties as to the purpose of their collaboration and the sharing of both tangible and intangible responsibilities, resources, risks, and benefits. As a general rule, such formal written agreements are for a specific period of time and most often are presented in contract form. The models of collaboration generally have the following characteristics:

    ; A minimum of two distinct administratorsone from the public sector, the other

    from the private, public, or nonprofit sector.

    ; A formal written agreement for a definite term.

    ; A common objective aimed at the delivery of a public service.

    ; Shared responsibility consisting of shared risks, resources, costs, and

    benefitsboth tangible and intangible.

    This study also highlights six critical success factors or ―dimensions‖ of collaboration for public service delivery:

    1. Political, social, economic, and cultural environment.

    2. Institutional, business, and technological environments.

    3. Partners‘ objectives and characteristics.

    4. The collaboration process.

    5. Models of collaboration (mode of governance).

    6. Performance of the project and the collaboration model (p. 9).

    The working paper, which offers detailed guidelines for achieving the six dimensions, can be accessed online at: reference/new_models_wp.pdf.

    Evaluating the Collaborative Process

    The research on collaboration clearly states the need for effective strategies to evaluate the overall process and outcomes of collaborative efforts. Several simple evaluation tools and strategies have been developed that can help assess the effectiveness of victim-related collaboration initiatives, including the following:

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    ; The Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory includes 42 questions designed as a

    tool for assessing the 20 factors that influence the success of a collaboration. (See

    the previous section ―Collaboration: What Makes It Work‖ in this chapter). The

    online inventory, which takes about 15 minutes to complete, can be accessed from

    the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation at ; ―Assessing Your Collaboration: A Self Evaluation Tool,‖ an article in the

    Journal of Extension of the U.S. Cooperative Extension System, offers a simple

    collaboration progress checklist at: index.html. ; Evaluating the Collaboration Process, an Ohio State University fact sheet,

    describes potential areas for evaluation at



    Many phrases are used in the victim assistance community to describe efforts that bring people together with a common cause. George Keiser of the National Institute of Corrections (1998) describes these terms and their meanings:

    Some recurring words are often used in a very cavalier fashion to describe types

    of working relationships. It is important to be clear about the depth of

    involvement contained in the meaning of these various words, and then to use the

    appropriate word for the relevant circumstances. These words include

    cooperation, coordination, collaboration, and partnership.


    Cooperation does not require much depth of relationship from the parties

    involved. Typically, a couple of people identify how what they are doing in their

    organizations would benefit each other. They agree to share what they do, but are

    not required to do anything differently. The activities engaged in are very

    informal. No resources are transferred, and the life of those involved goes on

    much as it has. This may be the initial point of developing relationships between

    the involved organizations. A key element for initiating cooperation is personal


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    Like cooperation, the depth of involvement between organizations is not required to be great. The relationship tends to be more definitive with specific protocols or conventions commonly being established. The business of the various organizations does not change significantly. The number of people involved in the process is increased, and the participants are more cognizant of how their independent activities can be integrated for common benefit or can influence the work of another organization. This level of working together requires more discipline and more formal structure in following the established protocols. The importance of integrity of the various participants and their activities becomes more apparent.


    Collaboration introduces the concept of organizations coming together to create something new, commonly a new process. Generally, the organizations bring a business they already know well and identify how, by joint actions, they can redesign a process to their mutual benefit. There must not only be trust and integrity as a foundation, but the parties now need to understand the perspectives of the other collaborators‘ self interest(s). This understanding suggests a greater depth of involvement between organizations. It is not merely exchanging information, but also developing a sense of awareness for whom the other parties are, what motivates them, and what they need out of working together. Unlike cooperation or coordination, for the first time something new is being developed through the relationship of organizations. Even with the increased intensity of involvement, the various organizations retain their independent identities. Partnership

    Partnership is the bringing together of individuals or organizations to create a new entity. This may be the extreme extension of collaboration. The depth of involvement is reflected by a commitment referred to as ownership. No longer are there independent organizations agreeing to work together on some initiative as long as it is convenient. Nor is this a group of organizations buying into someone else‘s plan. With a partnership, there is an agreement to create something new which, through joint ownership, requires that the partners make it succeed. One measure of success is whether the partnership makes all the partners successful.

    Keiser (1998) also clarifies the nature of working relationships based on the following


    ; Characteristics of the relationship.

    ; Nature of the relationship.

    ; Involvement.

    ; Resource investment.

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    May 2008 National Victim Assistance Academy, Track 1, Foundation-Level Training

    ; Control over resources.

    ; Authority to make decisions.

    This is shown in Exhibit VIII-1.



    Continuum Ranging from Cooperation to Partnership


Characteristics Trust and Integrity and Understanding and Commitment and

    of Relationship reliability discipline selflessness ownership

Nature of Informal, Semiformal Formal Formal, legal

    Relationship ad-hoc incorporation

Involvement As few as two Several, maybe Several, many New or refined

    people horizontal horizontal and vertical organization

    organizational organizational slices


Resource Minimal Moderate Major Major


Control Over Unchanged Modified Shared or transfer to Legally binding

    Resources original original new unit

    organizations organizations

Authority to Retained by Retained by Transfer to new unit Create new

    Make Decisions original original structure

    organizations organizations

    CHALLENGES TO SUCCESSFUL WORKING RELATIONSHIPS Whether victim assistance professionals cooperate, coordinate, collaborate, or partner with

    allied professionals, volunteers, and communities, there are 10 common challenges that

    can hinder the success of these important working relationships. These challenges are:

    ; Lack of a shared vision or mission.

    ; Lack of agreement about the problem or issue to be addressed. VIII-10 Chapter 8: Collaboration for Victims’ Rights and Services

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