This article was originally published on August 13, 2020 by MontcoToday.
In 1967, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice reported victims of crime as the most neglected group in the study of crime.
Victims found themselves on their own, facing trauma that could overshadow the rest of their lives.
The Lincoln Center decided it was time to give victims a voice and a helping hand. They developed programs to help victims deal with their trauma, and in 1987, TLC received its first grant from the Crime Victims Fund. The Fund is part of the 1984 Victims of Crimes Act (VOCA) administered through the U.S. Department of Justice.
The grants allow The Lincoln Center to offer free mobile counseling and outreach to Montgomery County crime victims from ages 5 and older, and since the program began, TLC has served thousands of clients..
As the VOCA program has grown, it has branched off into three areas which are described in the following sections.
Victims of Crime Act Program.
Individual and group counseling services are offered to children and adults in Montgomery County who have been affected by crime in the past or present. The confidential help is offered even if the crime wasn’t reported.
Victims can also receive information on their rights, compensation and on the criminal justice system.
TLC acts as a case manager, assisting victims with filing compensation claims and even offering community presentations to raise awareness about these free services.
Elder Victim Mobile Support Program (EVMS)
. The Elder Victim Mobile Support program provides group and individual counseling and case management to people 60 and over in Montgomery County who have been affected by crime, past or present, ranging from abuse, neglect, domestic violence and harassment to fraud, robbery, identity theft and vehicular crime.
A support team helps elderly victims address gaps in identifying and reporting crimes or abuse, and will help those with limited resources access victim services .
Therapists and case managers network with senior centers, homeless shelters, local agencies, community leaders and community events to reach people who may need support.
Other services include:
- Safety planning
- Education and support regarding victims’ rights
- Assistance in filing compensation claims
- Information on community resources
- Transportation to victim services.
Art Therapy Program
Art therapy offers a way for the crime victim to process their trauma by actively imagining, experimenting, reframing and rehearsing desired changes through self-expression.
“As an art therapist, my main objective is to create a space for my client to feel safe enough to be heard and seen,” said Yael Tsoran, the newest addition to the TLC art therapy team. “Art can speak volumes about a person’s traumatic experience and a trained art therapist can help guide clients to heal through their art. They recreate their reality, which is extremely powerful.”
The art therapy program is free, mobile and available to any Montgomery County resident who has been a victim of crime.
- It can be an effective way to help those who do not respond to traditional types of therapy.
- It uses a creative, non-verbal approach when it’s too difficult to verbalize the trauma, providing personal insights and overcoming the negative effects of the trauma.
““Since I joined TLC twelve years ago, we have significantly expanded our services to meet the needs of those affected by crime,” said Kerri Lynn Blakey, TLC’s Chief Grants Officer. “With the addition of our case management and art therapy services, we now have a complete program that allows us to serve our community in a more profound way.”
Click here to learn more about TLC’s victim support services or call 610-277-3715 to speak with a TLC team member.