NOVA has been awarded a Cy Pres funding from the HSBC Bank Nevada and HSBC Card Service Class Action (2:10-cv-03213-BMS). These settlement funds will enhance and expand NOVA’s capacity to continue to educate consumers on the cyber safety, especially related to protecting personally identifying information.
NOVA is grateful for the work of Kenneth J. Grunfeld, Esquire, with Golomb and Honik, as he tirelessly sought to support the needs of victims in seeing these funds used to serve them.
Ken has the ‘NOVA spirit!’
“Today, 11 March marks the 11th European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. On this day, Victim Support Europe expresses its deepest sympathy and solidarity for all victims of terrorism.
Already in 2015, there have been numerous terrorist attacks in Europe and around the globe. These criminals target innocent people indiscriminately. Their crimes cause terrible damage to the lives of those they attack and to their families.
Whilst terrorist acts in Europe, thankfully, do not occur every day, the threat of further violence is real and ever present. Victim Support Europe therefore welcomes the actions of national governments and of EU and international actors to put in place measures to better protect individuals and to prevent further terrorist crimes.
However, the needs of victims must not be ignored.
Victim Support Europe calls on all national, EU and International actors to ensure victims of terrorism are effectively supported and assisted. In these times, it is all too easy to focus efforts on pursuing criminals whilst forgetting the needs of the victims themselves. Not just on this day of remembrance but every day, you must remember their needs and you must act to meet those needs.
Victim Support Europe calls on governments to ensure that effective planning and sufficient resources are in place to respond to the support needs of victims in the event of a terrorist act.
Victim Support Europe calls on governments to ensure there is an effective infrastructure of support not just in the immediate aftermath of an attack but also in the long term. That infrastructure must attend to victims’ general and specific needs. It must support them psychologically and practically and during any criminal proceedings.
Action to help victims of terrorism is not just in the hands of governments. Terrorist acts are by their nature highly public and victims are more exposed to public scrutiny than for most other crimes. Moreover, in these days of social media and mobile video recordings, reports on crimes are no longer just made by the media. This exposure can cause even greater suffering for victims. Every person has a responsibility to be mindful of victims and to avoid causing further harm.
Victim Support Europe calls on organisations reporting on terrorist crimes to ensure their reporters understand how to cover these terrible acts sensitively – and ensure they in fact report with sensitivity.
Victim Support Europe also calls on individuals to show care and sensitivity when posting and sharing information on these criminal acts. Every person must be conscious of how their actions can further hurt victims and their families.
Victim Support Europe remembers all those who have fallen victim to terrorism on this European day of remembrance for victims of terrorism. On this day, we also call on individuals and governments alike to make sure that every day that follows is a day of action in support of those victims.”
Tuesday, December 16, 2014, turned out to be a big day for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fund. President Obama signed into law the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015.” This bill raises the VOCA cap from $745 million to $2.361 billion, an increase of 3.5 times! This is an unprecedented increase in the VOCA cap and is urgently needed to help victims of crime.
The National Crime Prevention Council has provided some fantastic public service announcements on firearm safety.
Check these out:
With the 40th NOVA Conference now history (August 17-20, 2014), here are some pictures provided to us capturing the spirit of the week!
NOVA has received many requests for a response to recent discussions about reducing the Mandatory Minimum Sentencing guidelines currently in place in the Federal Court system. After significant reflection, the NOVA Board has released the following statement on the subject:
The National Organization for Victim Assistance strongly affirms its position that the length of incarceration for those convicted of a crime or crimes should be based on justice and safety for the victim and society, not on the cost of incarceration.
NOVA’s mission is championing dignity and compassion for those harmed by crime and crisis. When considering this issue, victims must remain the top priority. The cost of victimization is much too high to take lightly when looking for ways to reduce spending. Any legislation proposing changes to the current guidelines must put victims first, and not lose the hard-fought progress they have earned.
April 3, 2014
We express our sympathies and support to the families suffering at Fort Hood. As a national network of victim advocates and crisis responders, we are keenly aware that the scale of such an event multiplies the suffering in exponential ways.
Members of this community of patriots have been drafted against their wills into a context for which no one would volunteer. And they join the others who, in the area of homicide alone, are enrolled at the unacceptable rate of one every thirty-two minutes.
And we stand ready to respond to the unjust trauma that is at the core of such an deplorable choice by a perpetrator.
Coloring book resource for young children:
October 30, 2013
Central to NOVA’s commitment to victims of crime is the implicit concept of averting re-victimization as well as prevention of harm to consumers.
As one of its core services, NOVA provides a nationwide toll-free number (800-TRY-NOVA) for victims to call directly for assistance. In working with identity theft victims, patterns emerge that demonstrate the variety and complexity of such a crime, centered on the misuse of Personally Identifying Information (PII).
While there is no fail-safe prevention against identity theft, it is clear that stewardship and security of PII is singularly effective for limiting the theft of PII and commensurate fraudulent activity. Identity fraud can result in financial losses for individuals, companies and banks. It can also reflect a variety of other compromises including criminal identity theft (e.g., crimes committed in the victim’s name), medical identity theft (e.g., health care services and insurance obtained in the victim’s name) and employment identity theft (e.g., using a stolen Social Security Number to obtain work). As identity fraud is also a tool used in other violent crimes like terrorism, gangs, domestic violence, stalking and child abuse, the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) isn’t just about privacy, it is a matter of safety.
Amy Boyer, a young New Hampshire woman, did not know her life was in danger. Her stalker, a man she barely knew from her high school, used the Internet to find electronic data about her workplace and her license plate number. With just these two pieces of information purchased from Internet companies, he was able to track her down and kill her. She never knew she was at risk. Amy Boyer never knew she needed protection.
More recently, we have also seen an explosion in identity theft and cyber stalking victimization. These criminals thrive on access to personal information through electronic data sources, using these bits of PII or personally identifying information to continually harass and re-victimize their targets. Cases like Amy’s highlight the need for protection of electronic data.
The DPPA was enacted by Congress to protect the privacy of the PII citizens are required to give to the department of motor vehicles of their state. As states are now stewards of this information, the DPPA was intended to monitor and control the use of this information for only necessary and lawful purposes.
With the increase in focus on cyber safety, more attention is being paid to how criminals access their victims’ PII. Consumers are becoming more vigilant about protecting this information to reduce their susceptibility to these crimes. If the States are selling this information to anyone who is interested in paying for it, they become complicit in the illegal actions of those purchasers. Congress intended the DPPA to limit these sales and eliminate the use of unscrupulous entities using this information to steal the identities of citizens as well as protection for victims of crimes like stalking, domestic battery and intimidating witnesses.
The DPPA protects “personal information… that identifies an individual, including an individual’s photograph, social security number, driver identification number, name, address (but not the 5-digit zip code), telephone number, and medical or disability information.” The DPPA states it is “unlawful for any person knowingly to obtain or disclose personal information, from a motor vehicle record, for any use not permitted under section 2721(b) of this title. Section 2721(c) of the DPPA limits re-sale or re-disclosure of an individual’s Personal Information to “authorized recipient[s].”
This infers that the data will only be used for legitimate government agencies or for licensing purposes without consent of the individual. This is not the case. Many states have chosen to interpret this to mean that unless an individual “opts out” of information sharing, they have consented. States are required to determine that your data is being sold to companies with a permissible use. But recent Court rulings have determined that businesses are being allowed to purchase this aggregate data then re-sell it over and over with very little oversight.
When searching for anyone online, with simply a name and zip code you can find for sale all the information necessary to stalk, threaten, harass or steal their identity. Obtaining a driver’s license and vehicle registration are essential components for victims in re-building and regaining control of their lives. This simple act should not compromise their anonymity by allowing their abusers easy access to the very information they so desperately try to shield.
by Kristy Dyroff