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More Regulation and Oversight for Domestic Violence Centers?
Research and measurement
Some nonprofit organizations provide services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and general crimes such as stalking and harassment. The organization depends on research for a variety of services that are provided. In order to locate a variety of resources for these victims, web based research is the quickest and most effective method to provide information and assistance for the parties that require services. The topics of research vary from the crime that has produced victims requiring the agencies service as well as training and education for victims and victim advocates. The organization depends on collaboration with other victim service organizations and agencies within any given region, or location. There is temporary and long term support that is regularly sought after for victims that include, sheltering, housing, employment, clothing, food, safety devices, personal hygiene products, and document replacement transportation costs. The daily web search reflects these areas of need, and also includes regular advocate training and education for community awareness and fund-raising ventures.
The federal agencies that are routinely accessed online are The National Center for Victims of Crimes, Office of Victims of Crimes (OVC) , and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. On a state level, the Idaho Coalition against Domestic Violence (ICASDV), the Idaho Counsel on Domestic Violence and Victim Services (ICDVVA), the Idaho State Police, and local law enforcement are used to provide research on an ongoing basis. Various search engines are used such as Google, Dog Pile or Yahoo. Agencies often uses these search engines when attempting to locate out of county safe houses and transportation that can assist the victim to a secure location. Since most domestic violence centers are non-profit grant funded which provides the greatest area of the organizations financial stability. Required ongoing research for new grantors as well as existing grantors is a priority in the day to day operation of the organization. When a new grant is sought, investigation of the grantor and its required project funding for grant requirements is obtained. An agency will study its current needs and will explore grants that can meet those needs. All grants require historical information that results in research from previous records that the organization has on file. Smaller organizations keep records in paper form requiring time and effort to provide accurate information of the project that is being requested to be funded, or generic statistical information electronically. This process is a long process, and is normally in flex. Some areas of information that are requested are crime statistics, demographics, and unemployment rates, which are ever changing.
Victim Advocate Volunteers
More research is conducted to provide program information and community awareness, and the recruitment and training of victim advocate volunteers. Many small agencies will have a hierarchy that is represented by a board of directors, an Executive Director, a few paid advocate positions, and at least one administrative employee. These agencies rely heavily on unpaid volunteer advocates to assist in stretching the grant money and minimizing the overhead costs. The Executive Director or, (ED) oversees and provides victim services and typically specializes in sexual assault and legal advocacy. The other paid employee assists the ED in an administrative capacity and provides victim services as well. The board of director is typically based on a volunteer model. Because the organization is non profit, beyond volunteerism, donation’s are highly valued as well as outside funding and support from the community for both financial contribution and in-kind hours.
A nonprofit organization that serves battered and sexually assaulted women use the collective participative decision-making model. This model encourages collaborative feedback. The leader is a good listener; (s)he absorbs the information and makes a decision based on the team ideas. The supervisor or ED in the women’s shelter has the responsibility to use the gathered information to make decisions or come up with an idea on her own, either way the ED is responsible for positive and negative consequences and outcomes. This style is an intentional information seeking style. “Other perspectives of the situation are discovered because the leader deliberately asks and encourages others to participate by giving their ideas, perceptions, knowledge, and information concerning the decision” (Leader Management Development Center, 1997).
Because the business is one that serves people through traumatic events, and is not one that produces items for profit, or sells products, it still has to maintain a sales atmosphere. An employee of domestic violence/and sexual assault agencies are the face of the organization, they should be committed in selling the agencies image and what the organization accomplishes to its grantors, board of directors, and community partners. The representative’s also have the task of building rapport with her/his clients and the inter-agency members (s)he serves.
Strategic Planning and Research
Strategic plans are based on research from other agencies that accomplish similar tasks. Short term and long term goals are a consequence of the strategic plan, and therefore developed. The decision-making process begins with research, and ends with the measurement of success. After the decisions are evaluated, more research is conducted to assess success or failure of the original decision. This cycle may start over if new decisions are made based on the data that was gathered through the initial or subordinate research phase.
“The trends of the past two decades, especially the technology that has been driving research methodologies of data collection and dissemination, make it likely that managers who do not prepare to advance up the hierarchy will be at a severe competitive disadvantage” (Cooper & Schindler, 2006. Para. 22). The entire research that is conducted at many small nonprofit organizations are accomplished by the paid staff members previously mentioned. There does not exist room for items and services that are not a necessity, and are not immediate in victim services or training. Board’s typically oversee all decisions, and often holds a traditional stance with expenditures. The benefit of completing one’s own research is the knowledge that is gathered and stored for later application. The process can help grow an employee in a significant way and aid in their development both personally and professionally. The down side of not having one person or a team designated to research alone may present a lack of expertise within researching items or opportunities may be missed if an expert is not carrying out such tasks. “Good research generates dependable data that are derived by professionally conducted practices and that can be used reliably for decision making. In contrast, poor research is carelessly planned and conducted, resulting in data that a manager can't use to reduce his or her decision-making risks” (Cooper & Schindler, 2006. Para. 30).
Many areas of one’s work include research at some level. It is critical to become familiar and savvy when conducting the necessary research that will aid in a company’s growth.“The creative researcher actually benefits from this confusing array of options, the numerous combinations spawned by the abundance of tools may be used to construct alternative perspectives on the same problem (Cooper & Schindler, 2006). The more information that any agency finds and learns, the more it benefits the victims that the organization serves. More pamphlets and resource books can be designed and distributed within the community and far more people can be reached. More awareness can be brought to the forefront in the community, and everyone involved directly or indirectly can be served through this process.
The leaders compared to the autocratic style both have the power and the ownership liability of success or failure conclusions. The team members have a sense of involvement and achievement within the collective style and are without the consequence of a poor decision. The autocratic style affords no group participation, only a ruler handing down a decree that is than followed by the masses. Another difference between the two styles is communication before implementation is much better in the collective participative decision making model. “In most cases, the individual is informed before the decision is implemented (no surprises) and usually feels good about personal involvement” (Leader Management Development Center, 1997). The collective style teeters on the need for a leader who has good communication skills that include listening. If the ED within the women’s shelter did not listen to her employees, and did not really take advantage of the creativity and insight of others this style would cease to work and her employees would not trust that they were needed or valued. The collective participant style is not effectively used in lager work places because the response time to idea gathering is slow, the style is more effective in a smaller organization.