Historically, victim service coordinating councils have arisen across the U.S. based on coordinated-community-response models. These models recognize that varied providers each make a unique and valuable contribution while acting as a coordinated network, holding the entire system of providers responsible for victim safety and offender accountability. Examination of coordinating councils across the nation indicates wide latitude of functioning. Functioning ranges from nominal councils that meet periodically for exchange of general information to more active councils that utilize a hub or committee structure to accomplish broad systemic reform.
Our contract to develop a council in SC was part of the State Office for Victim Assistance's mandate to provide support for a state-level advisory group representative of all agencies and groups involved in victim/witness and domestic violence services to improve coordination efforts. We felt that an ideal council would be driven by providers from that community, yet professionally facilitated to assist in processing diverse perspectives, mediating conflict and bridging philosophical or informational gaps, helping participants share their expertise, and moving the pace along for efficient functioning. We brought together providers from a variety of disciplines and assisted as they drafted legislation to formalize the council in SC law (Title 16, Article 14 of the SC Code of Laws). We then helped to institutionalize facilitation of the council by assisting in hiring and training of a staff position at the State Office for Victim Assistance whose duties would include directing the SC Victim Service Coordinating Council.
If you have questions about historical aspects of the project’s development, please e-mail Dana DeHart (Principal Investigator) or call 803-777-7867.