NOVA Blog

Check out NOVA’s Blog at novabucks.wordpress.com

Sample of the Latest Articles:

It Doesn’t Just Happen in Hollywood
#metoo. It’s only 6 strokes of the keyboard but it makes an impact. Social media was abuzz last month with posts and tweets about incidences of sexual harassment and sexual assault that had happened to people in our country, locally and nationally. Read more

A Lesser Known Option for Victims of Sexual Assault
Recent news has been filled with reports of high-profile sexual assaults, and while no two stories are ever exactly alike, there is something strikingly similar about them. The victims in these cases often did not disclose their assault for many years – not an uncommon response. Read more

On Cultivating Resilience
Resilience is the process of adapting and rising above adversity, trauma, tragedy, significant sources of stress such as childhood abuse or neglect, relationship problems, serious health or financial stressors. Read more

Talking With Children About Tragedy
In light of the recent horrific shooting in Las Vegas, we would like to take some time to address how we can talk to youth about unexpected tragedy. Read more

Sexual Assault and College Campuses
Despite the drop in sexual assaults in the United States over the past twenty years, sexual assault near college campuses still remains a prevalent issue today. Read more

Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes and Private Parts
Here at the Bucks County Children’s Advocacy Center, a program of NOVA, we hear lots of interesting names for male and female private parts….The process of determining whether or not a child has experienced abuse goes much easier for children who know the proper names of their body parts. Read more

Mental Illness and Violence
When a violent community event occurs, there is a general public perception of the stigma linking violence with mental illness. That false perception acts as validation for bullying or victimizing people with a mental illness. Read more

Community Trauma and Self Care
If you’re like most people, your life has been affected by community violence. Perhaps you live in a community or neighborhood you thought was safe until a terrible event took place that shocked the whole community. Read more

Invisible Super Heros
Children dream of being Superman, Spiderman, or even Ironman. All visible superheroes in their fictional worlds. Not as many children want to be Kitty from X-men or the Invisible Girl from Fantastic Four. However, they are just as important to the plot line as the main heroes. That is how I think of the Keystone Crisis Intervention Team, fondly known as KCIT (Pronounced K-KIT). KCIT is a Pennsylvania statewide program of trained volunteers throughout the state that respond to communities after a criminal crisis. Read more

How We Talk to our Children About 13RW
As an educator at an organization that deals largely with the crimes of rape and sexual assault, I’ve been hearing a lot from the students I come into contact with about the new-ish Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. For those of you who have not seen it here’s a little synopsis (spoilers ahead): Read more

No “I” in This Team, But There is a Child
t’s a beautiful spring morning in May, and while the television is streaming highlights from last night’s Phillies game, a Bucks County family is scurrying about the home, completing the morning tasks before rushing out the door without even seconds to spare. While it is a school day, the child in this family will not be going to school this morning, the family has an appointment scheduled to meet with the multidisciplinary team (MDT) at the Bucks County Children’s Advocacy Center for a forensic interview. Read more

Spiritual Care
“But I am not religious.” Confession: Neither am I. But I believe everyone is spiritual. And even more so, I strongly believe in the power of Spiritual Care after a trauma. Read more

Grooming
Very often people have questions about child sexual assault and wonder things such as: Why didn’t the child just tell? How could the parents not have noticed? How could I not have noticed? Part of the sexual abuse process is called grooming. Read more

Responding and Rebuilding: What to Do If You Discover Your Child Was Abused
Picture this, a grenade has gone off in your living room. There is fire, there is smoke, alarms are sounding off, there is a ringing in your ears, and you’ve been shaken to the core. You might be asking yourself, “What happened?”, “Who do I call for help?”, “How do I keep everyone safe?”, “What happens when this is reported?”, and “How do I rebuild?”. Read more

The Crimes They are a Changin’
With rapid advances in information and communication, technology has emerged a new and evolving criminal element that continues to impact unsuspecting victims at increasingly alarming rates, and in sometimes irreparable ways. No longer does a thief need to snatch a purse or pick a pocket at a grocery store to steal your money or gain access to your personal information.Read more

NOVA Holiday Gift Program – Bringing Hope to Victims
One mom said: “I have gotten so used to bad things happening to my family. I was shocked when someone said that they want to do something good for us. It is surprising, but we are so grateful. It restores our faith in people.” Read more

Human Trafficking in Bucks County: What Can I Do to Help?
As the Human Trafficking Coordinator at NOVA, I often give this definition when speaking to people about human trafficking: “human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or service against their will.” Read more

Encourage Upstanders
One of the special rewards of presenting programs based on violence prevention to children in Bucks County schools is observing young learners demonstrate their kindness and desire to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Recognizing this, NOVA developed Encourage Upstanders. Read more

As A Parent
As a parent, one of the hardest things to tolerate has been when my children are hurt. Still, after 14 years of parenting, scraped knees and jammed fingers send a shock of adrenalin through my system. I can remember the first time my oldest son got injured. Read more

Hard Hat Area Ahead!
If you drive on Route 313 through the Hilltown/Dublin area, you might have seen a new sight at the corner of Route 313 and Broad Street. NOVA is excited to announce that this building is our new Thrift Shop which will be opening up this winter! Read more

Flight 93
I was in Chemistry class trying not to fall asleep. I remember coming out of class and hearing the whispers by the locker. A plane… New York… Something is wrong… Read more

Keep Calm and Use Your DBT Skills!
This week, I will be presenting at the National Sexual Assault Conference on a form of therapy that we often find helpful with our clients here at NOVA. The title of the workshop is, “Keep Calm and Use Your DBT Skills: Using DBT-Informed Strategies in Short Term Counseling with Survivors of Sexual Trauma”. This title, of course, leads many people to ask a fair question: What is DBT? Read more

What Happens if I Call the NOVA Hotline?
As much as we all need help during times of crisis, it’s not always easy to ask for it. At NOVA, we understand the array of emotions people are experiencing when they call our hotline and that the first few words can be the most difficult to say. One of the most common things we hear from callers is “I just don’t know where to start.” That’s actually a great beginning and here are some other conversation openers that may be helpful. Read more

4 Ways to Effectively Communicate With Your Child
As a parent, we understand that our children are not always receptive to the need of wanting to know what is going on in their lives. “What happened in school today?” is typically met with “Nothing”. In order to engage with our children, small changes in our communication style will have your child answering you without even realizing that they are. Read more

The Importance of Early Consent Education: A College Student’s Perspective
Trying to teach college students about consent is like trying to teach a fish what the sky looks like—they just don’t understand it as a concept. In my experience teaching workshops on consent and violence prevention, I find that college students often struggle with consent as not only a concept but a mandatory part of all sexual situations. Read more

A Note From a NOVA Advocate: How to Enjoy Your Summer Even More
As the summer is upon us, there will be various BBQ’s, graduations, sporting events, concerts, etc. that many people will be attending. At these events and parties, alcohol is often a part of celebrating. These are positive and fun events, however, we as victim advocates see the negative effect of over-indulging. Read more

Toxic Technology: When connectivity becomes overload and what to do about it.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it feels like technology has taken over my life – with text messages, email notifications, updates from social media sites, and regular “old fashioned” phone calls (yes, some of us still communicate this way), being constantly connected to technology seems to be the new normal. Read more

Emotionally Drained? A Tool for You.
Our mission here at NOVA is helping others deal with the effects of being a victim, a family member or a friend of a victim. It’s a rewarding occupation to know that you truly are doing good for those in need. However, like so many good things there comes a saturation effect where the emotions of the people that we are trying to help inevitably invade our own daily lives. Read more

10 Tips Your Children Need to Know NOW!
Last week, NOVA received the prestigious recognition of being named an Honorary Warwick Bear at Warwick Elementary School, Central Bucks School District. While accepting the award, I was invited to speak at the school’s spirit assembly. As I took a seat, teachers, students and parents flowed into the auditorium room with excitement, energy and enthusiasm. Students sang the school song, talked about giving and receiving feedback and recognized their own peers for assets such as participating in creative actives and engaging in equality and social justice acts. Read more

What are All Those Pinwheels I See Driving Around?
Throughout Bucks County, and in many other surrounding counties, you will see colorful pinwheels planted in bountiful gardens in recognition of National Child Abuse Awareness Month. Why pinwheels? This uplifting symbol of childhood represents hope, health and happiness. Read more

Your Children Aren’t Talking to a Screen
In fairness, it’s completely understandable. For some parents who were born and raised in a world more familiar with a telegram than Instagram, social media can seem to be an incoherent and manufactured world of selfies, games, and other childish nonsense. For others, it may seem a great way for their children to occupy themselves on long car rides, rainy days, and to build technological communication skills that are much needed in today’s world. Regardless of perspective, one concept remains constant; your children aren’t talking to a screen. Read more

NOVA Counseling & Algebra. More In Common than Meets the Eye
At first glance, it doesn’t seem that counseling and algebra have much in common. But algebra equations, by definition, most basically represent balance and equilibrium – the interplay of one action with another in maintaining the stability of the whole. Counseling, too, addresses the need for balance, equilibrium and stability. Read more

Statistics: Not Just Numbers
Chances are, as you’re watching TV or listening to the radio, you briefly catch statistics thrown at you about one social issue or another. Perhaps those stats include the number of homicides or neighborhood store robberies that happened over night, the statistical chance of being a victim of sexual assault in a lifetime, or maybe the number of drunken driving incidents that occurred over the course of a holiday weekend. The statistics that are recorded seem to be endless and I imagine would be enough to fill the shelves of the Library of Congress. Read more

Where are children learning about sex if not from their teachers or parents?
“Hi! We haven’t talked for a long time. Thought you might like to check out some of my new pics! Amanda”
This seemingly innocuous text came to me with a link. Anyone might assume that a friend or acquaintance from my past was trying to reconnect. But of course I knew that it was porn. I knew this because mobile phones are now the primary platform for delivering pornography. Read more

A Friend Recently Shared a Very Sad Story With Me…
A teacher at my friend’s son’s school has a godson named “Jackson”, who was being targeted by bullies. This kind, caring teacher and godmother supported Jackson and explained to him the need to be upbeat, and tried to empower him to be the one that would stand up to the bullies for his friends. The bullying seemed to go on in front of teachers and other students, yet no one got involved to stop it… Read more

Legal Advocacy for Male Victims of Crime
Imagine you are working at the local convenience store when a masked man enters waiving a gun. It is late and you are alone, no customers in sight. He asks for money as he points the gun toward your head. You think about your children, and wonder if you will die tonight…Read more

iSmart: Literacy in Current Social Media Trends
NOVA’s education department is dedicated to helping children be more safe, wherever they may be. One of the ways we do this is by educating parents and adults who work with children on the benefits, risks, and current trends in online communication. With a large majority of children ages 12-17 on at least one social networking site, we believe that it is important for adults immerse themselves in social media technology, and strike a balance with the way we talk about safety and social media with children.. Read more

Winter Break at NOVA
With close to one hundred nonprofits in Bucks County to take into consideration I carefully chose to become a volunteer intern at Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA). I first learned of NOVA this past summer; I was an intern at Foundations Community Partnership (FCP) who selects interns to go out into our community and work for various nonprofits. One of my colleagues was fortunate enough to have spent his summer interning at NOVA. Each week when our group would get together to debrief I would look forward to hear all of the amazing tasks he was able to accomplish that week. Read more

Experiences of a NOVA Intern
Prior to being an intern at NOVA, I was not exactly sure what the term “victim advocate” would entail. When I think of the word advocate, I think of someone who is supportive of a person or their family. However, I have learned that it is much more than that. Read more

A Conspiracy of Love: NOVA’s Holiday Gift Program
Every year, NOVA matches client families with donors from the community for our annual Holiday Gift Program. These donors “adopt” families or individual clients and provide assistance that helps give those clients joy and peace of mind at the holidays. Many of our clients and families are struggling financially due to the ripple effect of victimization: lost jobs, housing changes, expenses related to the crime, and many other setbacks that often occur when a person is the victim of violence. Read more

Talking About Touching: Teaching Your Child About Personal Safety
With the endless responsibilities and busy lives parents and caregivers have in today’s world, the possibility of a predator attempting to talk, trick, or force a child into touching or other unwanted sexual behaviors can be overwhelming. Many people still are not fully aware of the prevalence of child sexual abuse and most prefer not to discuss it. Avoiding or postponing the discussion does not protect children. While some parents and caregivers approach this topic with trepidation, it actually represents an opportunity to take a positive step towards their child’s self-advocacy. Read more

Emotionally Drained? A Tool for You.
Our mission here at NOVA is helping others deal with the effects of being a victim, a family member or a friend of a victim. It’s a rewarding occupation to know that you truly are doing good for those in need. However, like so many good things there comes a saturation effect where the emotions of the people that we are trying to help inevitably invade our own daily lives. Read more

10 Tips Your Children Need to Know NOW!
Last week, NOVA received the prestigious recognition of being named an Honorary Warwick Bear at Warwick Elementary School, Central Bucks School District. While accepting the award, I was invited to speak at the school’s spirit assembly. As I took a seat, teachers, students and parents flowed into the auditorium room with excitement, energy and enthusiasm. Students sang the school song, talked about giving and receiving feedback and recognized their own peers for assets such as participating in creative actives and engaging in equality and social justice acts. Read more

What are All Those Pinwheels I See Driving Around?
Throughout Bucks County, and in many other surrounding counties, you will see colorful pinwheels planted in bountiful gardens in recognition of National Child Abuse Awareness Month. Why pinwheels? This uplifting symbol of childhood represents hope, health and happiness. Read more

Your Children Aren’t Talking to a Screen
In fairness, it’s completely understandable. For some parents who were born and raised in a world more familiar with a telegram than Instagram, social media can seem to be an incoherent and manufactured world of selfies, games, and other childish nonsense. For others, it may seem a great way for their children to occupy themselves on long car rides, rainy days, and to build technological communication skills that are much needed in today’s world. Regardless of perspective, one concept remains constant; your children aren’t talking to a screen. Read more

NOVA Counseling & Algebra. More In Common than Meets the Eye
At first glance, it doesn’t seem that counseling and algebra have much in common. But algebra equations, by definition, most basically represent balance and equilibrium – the interplay of one action with another in maintaining the stability of the whole. Counseling, too, addresses the need for balance, equilibrium and stability. Read more

Statistics: Not Just Numbers
Chances are, as you’re watching TV or listening to the radio, you briefly catch statistics thrown at you about one social issue or another. Perhaps those stats include the number of homicides or neighborhood store robberies that happened over night, the statistical chance of being a victim of sexual assault in a lifetime, or maybe the number of drunken driving incidents that occurred over the course of a holiday weekend. The statistics that are recorded seem to be endless and I imagine would be enough to fill the shelves of the Library of Congress. Read more

Where are children learning about sex if not from their teachers or parents?
“Hi! We haven’t talked for a long time. Thought you might like to check out some of my new pics! Amanda”
This seemingly innocuous text came to me with a link. Anyone might assume that a friend or acquaintance from my past was trying to reconnect. But of course I knew that it was porn. I knew this because mobile phones are now the primary platform for delivering pornography. Read more

A Friend Recently Shared a Very Sad Story With Me…
A teacher at my friend’s son’s school has a godson named “Jackson”, who was being targeted by bullies. This kind, caring teacher and godmother supported Jackson and explained to him the need to be upbeat, and tried to empower him to be the one that would stand up to the bullies for his friends. The bullying seemed to go on in front of teachers and other students, yet no one got involved to stop it… Read more

Legal Advocacy for Male Victims of Crime
Imagine you are working at the local convenience store when a masked man enters waiving a gun. It is late and you are alone, no customers in sight. He asks for money as he points the gun toward your head. You think about your children, and wonder if you will die tonight…Read more

iSmart: Literacy in Current Social Media Trends
NOVA’s education department is dedicated to helping children be more safe, wherever they may be.  One of the ways we do this is by educating parents and adults who work with children on the benefits, risks, and current trends in online communication. With a large majority of children ages 12-17 on at least one social networking site, we believe that it is important for adults immerse themselves in social media technology, and strike a balance with the way we talk about safety and social media with children..  Read more

Winter Break at NOVA
With close to one hundred nonprofits in Bucks County to take into consideration I carefully chose to become a volunteer intern at Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA). I first learned of NOVA this past summer; I was an intern at Foundations Community Partnership (FCP) who selects interns to go out into our community and work for various nonprofits. One of my colleagues was fortunate enough to have spent his summer interning at NOVA. Each week when our group would get together to debrief I would look forward to hear all of the amazing tasks he was able to accomplish that week. Read more

Experiences of a NOVA Intern
Prior to being an intern at NOVA, I was not exactly sure what the term “victim advocate” would entail. When I think of the word advocate, I think of someone who is supportive of a person or their family. However, I have learned that it is much more than that.  Read more

A Conspiracy of Love: NOVA’s Holiday Gift Program
Every year, NOVA matches client families with donors from the community for our annual Holiday Gift Program. These donors “adopt” families or individual clients and provide assistance that helps give those clients joy and peace of mind at the holidays. Many of our clients and families are struggling financially due to the ripple effect of victimization: lost jobs, housing changes, expenses related to the crime, and many other setbacks that often occur when a person is the victim of violence.  Read more

Talking About Touching: Teaching Your Child About Personal Safety
With the endless responsibilities and busy lives parents and caregivers have in today’s world, the possibility of a predator attempting to talk, trick, or force a child into touching or other unwanted sexual behaviors can be overwhelming. Many people still are not fully aware of the prevalence of child sexual abuse and most prefer not to discuss it. Avoiding or postponing the discussion does not protect children. While some parents and caregivers approach this topic with trepidation, it actually represents an opportunity to take a positive step towards their child’s self-advocacy. Read more