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Evaluation of the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Program

Results from an evaluation of Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) programs are presented. “Automated victim notification (AVN) is often touted as an effective and efficient means for providing victims timely and accurate information of their offenders’ court events and status changes at reduced burden to the criminal justice system. AVN systems, first introduced in 1994, operate by receiving electronic data (e.g., case number, offender demographics) from participating branches of the criminal justice system, coding the data to determine what type of notification is most appropriate based on the offenders’ status change (e.g., release, transfer), and then transmitting the data to registered users using standardized language. AVN systems also allow users to proactively check offender status through a secured website or by calling into a toll-free hotline where additional information and referrals may be available” (p. i). The evaluation consisted of three phases-the landscape (prevalence) of AVN; use and experience with AVN; and considerations for practice. Several of the study’s findings include: 74% of respondents use AVN; AVN systems are found to be extremely beneficial to victims; the most common challenge is delayed or outdated notifications; and manual notifications are still being provided by the majority of AVN service providers.