Description of Initiative
The Hope Card Project is a patented approach to enforcement of protection orders and delivery of victim services. The Hope Card can reduce the time on scene for officers responding to incidents of protection order violations and can provide a sense of security to victims. In addition, victims can receive potential services more conveniently.
The main principal of domestic violence addressed by this initiative is protection order enforcement and victim services delivery. Our organization developed the Hope Card Project and hopes to provide the Hope Card System to every jurisdiction in the U.S.
The primary beneficiaries and target groups are courts, law enforcement agencies, non-profit organizations and victims of domestic violence.
The Hope Card is unique in that it offers petitioners of protection orders the convenience of carrying their order at all times in their wallets, pockets or purses, making it easily accessible in times of emergencies. The Card can easily be displayed to a law enforcement officer at the time of a violation and be easily identifiable as a valid protection order. The Card offers an additional unique feature beyond a paper order in that a photograph of the petitioner and the respondent appear on the Card, making identification in the field quick and simple.
Another similar project currently available is Project Passport which provides for a national cover page on all protection orders to make it easily recognizable as an order of protection by law enforcement officials. Project Passport is an excellent program and should be encouraged. In fact, the Hope Card Project has married itself to Project Passport by adding the national cover page into the Hope Card software program. When a Card is printed a national cover page is simultaneously produced and printed. While both the Hope Card and Project Passport are geared towards full faith and credit, the Hope Card offers a variety of benefits not available with Project Passport including convenient size, durability, a photograph of both parties, and the use as a voucher ID.
The voucher side of the Card is currently under development which will include a magnetic strip containing vital information regarding the protection order and transaction information for goods and services. The Card will be used to receive goods or services form participating businesses and can be replenished by participating non-profit and government organizations. In concept the Card will be used like a debit card at designated businesses that provide lodging, fuel, food and medical care. In addition, the Card will contain a calling card feature to allow for limited phone use in times of urgency.
The hope of the card is to provide an advocacy center in a card. Sort of a “Swiss Army Knife” of the advocacy world. A multipurpose tool that contains enforcement options, as well as, consequence management capabilities.
Currently the Project has reached target populations through word of mouth, conferences, publications and a website (www.hopecardproject.com). The website is currently being revised to give it a more professional appearance and provide for a more user friendly environment. The Hope Card Project is also to appear in the Department of Justice’s best practices publication.
Key Operational Partnerships
Currently the State of Montana, Office of the Attorney General has been a critical partner with the Hope Card Project to establish a nationwide central repository for the Hope Card which will be housed by their agency. The repository will allow law enforcement and courts to securely access all issued Hope Cards and any information attached to the Card. The repository will not be mandatory for all participating jurisdictions. We recognize the sovereignty of the Native American tribes in the U.S. and will honor their decision to not release specific information concerning their people. Understanding this, the Hope Card System software can be used on a stand alone system.
The voucher side of the Card is currently also under development. In concept the Card will be used as a voucher ID for services such as lodging, meals, fuel and even medical care for those escaping abusive situations. During the beta phase of the Project several businesses agreed to provide one time lodging and fuel upon display of the Card. Currently, the Hope Card Project is developing partnerships with businesses to utilize the Card as a debit card making redemption of such services more convenient for everyone involved.