Planning Guidelines

Planning a Coordinated Community Response

After familiarizing yourself with VAWA federal immigration protections (view video), the next step in developing a coordinated community response is to identify collaborative partners.

Key Sectors of the Community to Involve in the Coordinated Effort

  • Victim, legal, and consular services
  • Justice system: law enforcement, prosecutor's office, courts, immigration courts
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Basic services: housing, emergency medical, health care, education, transportation, food, employment
  • Informal networks: faith community, friends, family

While you may not initially have all partners “at the table,” it is a goal to work towards. This can be especially challenging when working in a social and legislative context of hostility towards immigrants. 

In Southern Arizona, each BIWP Task Force continues to work towards the goal of making this protocol a reality. The model is based on an ideal situation in which all sectors of the response system are at the table and adequate resources exist to conduct community outreach and training. We have found that although there is still no ideal situation, each Task Force has a story of collaboration from which we can learn. In one county, the Border Patrol attends Task Force meetings and volunteers at community events, and worked on creating a protocol with the County Sheriff’s Office to refer victims apprehended in their line of duty.  In another, the City Police Department has a dedicated domestic violence investigator who, as an experienced police officer, commands great respect in training law enforcement and encouraging systems changes. In yet another county the relationship between victim services and legal aid and their level of expertise and perseverance facilitated collaborative training of all sectors of the justice and law enforcement system. In another county, the close-knit nature of the community and the intensity of victim needs compelled the Border Patrol to call upon victim advocates directly.

Moving Forward

There are key elements and activities to put in place in order to proceed effectively. It is important to meet on a regular basis. It is helpful to secure funding for staffing to coordinate your efforts. One of the first steps is to develop a mission statement, and guiding principles.

Before embarking on implementation, it is important to ensure that all participants in your coordinated response commit yourselves to:

  • Being mindful of the unique safety and confidentiality issues for this population. 
  • Providing a culturally sensitive response 
  • Advocating for victims and their families 
  • Upholding and building awareness about the rights of victims in your community.

Next: Model for a Coordinated Community Response for Battered Immigrant Women >