CVHR Fifth Anniversary

March 22, 2013

It has been a long time since the CVHR blog has been updated, too long in fact.  Despite our lax online activity, behind the face of the CVHR, much has been occurring.

In fact, today, we celebrate a major milestone.  Five years ago this day, the CVHR officially incorporated and opened its doors.  Although Indiana is our home, requests for our help have come from as far away as the other side of the planet, places like Bangladesh and Nepal, while we have been active here, in our own backyard, in Marion County as well as other counties throughout Indiana.

While we may be willing to help everyone, we aren’t always able; however, the most important aspect of observing this milestone is to consider what we have accomplished and to express our gratitude to those who have helped us get there.  We should also consider where we want to go from here.

In 2008, we started out in a virtual office, pretty much one person cobbling together support where possible.  I soon procured the help of two, young law students, Julien and Chris, who eventually became our staff attorneys and ultimately sat on our Board.  They, along with Eric, a good friend and a businessman himself helped move us forward.  We had a few cases, which included a man from Evansville fighting a small, but dangerous drug-dealing operation, a victim of domestic violence, a trafficking victim who had also been the victim of a horrible assault, and a young man from India who had suffered second and third degree burns across 95 percent of his body after an arsonist set fire to his apartment.  We were on a steep learning curve.

Perhaps our most significant contribution has been in the area of intimate partner violence.  Think domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, etc.  Today, we have 60 cases in which we have active involvement, a significant proportion of our clients are children who have either been direct victims or are secondary victims, having witnessed the violence associated with intimate partner violence.  The rest are from all walks of life, different cultures, residing in both urban and rural areas.

But in five years, we have listened to, advised, counseled, referred, and/or directly represented 160 clients, ranging from victims seeking asylum from persecution to victims of human trafficking.  We haven’t done it alone.  We have built relationships and worked with over a dozen different organizations an agencies including:

  • Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence

  • Latino Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

  • Crime Victim Care of Allen County

  • Indiana Criminal Justice Institute

  • Marion County Prosecutor’s Office

  • Domestic Violence Network

  • Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office

  • Madison County Prosecutor’s Office

  • FBI

  • Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

  • Lake County Sheriff’s Department

  • Turning Point Domestic Violence Services

  • Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

  • Indiana University Mauer School of Law

  • Indiana Fever

And many others to whom we are grateful for their collaborative efforts.

Like its counterparts, the CVHR has had to face enormous uphill battles from a funding perspective.  However, we have proven ourselves an important part of the community, doing more with less.  If our past portends our future, then the CVHR is poised to grow.

In fact, in addition to celebrating our five-year milestone, the CVHR has been working with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) to continue the work of the Protective Order Pro Bono Project (POPBP), the child of Ms. Kerry Blomquist, Legal Director for the ICADV, Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and current President of the Indianapolis Bar Association.

The POPBP started as a way to address the problem of abusers intimidating victims out of pursuing protective orders by providing legal representation for victims during protective order hearings and through enforcement via contempt hearings.  The POPBP has helped hundreds of victims in its 12 years of existence and the CVHR is working with the ICADV to continue this legacy while increasing levels of service.  The CVHR accepts this task with humility and the deep sense of responsibility to the work of Ms. Blomquist, the ICADV, and our clients.

Before I conclude, important to note is that this work would not have been possible without the efforts of my team, the people who provide the direct and supporting services.  Regardless of their position within the CVHR, be it as a Board Director to Intern, there are two facts about each and every person who has contributed: (1) they share a common goal of public service, and (2) they do this out of a true sense of altruism, not for money, fame, or power.  Today, however, they deserve our support because they have helped turn an idea into a bricks-and-mortar reality working to make victims as whole as possible.  My most sincere thanks to the following:

  • Jill OBarske

  • Manoj Rana

  • Eric Withem

  • Chris Nancarrow

  • Alfredo Cabaltican

  • Hao Wang

  • Jessica Topor

  • Amy Lenceski

  • Leontiy Korolev

  • Emily Kramer

  • Josh Simpson

And the many, many past interns, law clerks, staff, and volunteers who have helped bring us to this point!