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Victim assistance

"OVC's Report to the Nation summarizes the progress made in upholding crime victims' rights and providing high-quality services to victims, survivors, and communities during fiscal years 2013-2014. The report highlights innovative programs and victim-centered initiatives, summarizes financial support to states and U.S. territories, and provides insight into OVC's strategic efforts to address both emerging and enduring challenges in order to expand and enhance victim assistance throughout the Nation." Sections comprising this report include: introduction; message from the OVC Director; the Crime Victims Fund; Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) compensation and assistance statistics; VOCA compensation highlights; VOCA assistance highlights; data and research; innovative practices; direct services; capacity building; reaching all victims; and public awareness.

2015 OVC Report to the Nation, Fiscal Years 2013-2014: Building Capacity Through Research, Innovation, Technology, and Training Cover

This annual suite of resources includes a variety of user-friendly sample materials, current statistics, professional artwork, and tutorials—all designed to help you quickly and capably develop and implement public awareness campaigns for NCVRW and throughout the year. This year’s theme—Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims—emphasizes the importance of inclusion in victim services. The theme addresses how the crime victims field can better ensure that every crime victim has access to services and support and how professionals, organizations, and communities can work in tandem to reach all victims.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Poster

"While victims are not the primary client for you as a tribal probation officer [TPO], you are in a unique position to provide them with critical information and link them with services. This bulletin is designed to provide TPOs with a brief overview of victims’ rights, tips to help coordinate and improve the delivery of victim services, and information about the varied services available to victims of crime" (p. 3). Sections of this publication cover: why tribal probation officers should be concerned about crime victims; the impact of crime on victims; eight specific victims' rights under federal law; barriers to victim participation in criminal and tribal justice processes; victims' rights and related services—safety and reasonable protection, confidentiality, notification and information, participation, victim input, restitution and other legal/financial obligations (LFOs), and victim compensation; effective communication with victims; collaboration for victims' rights implementation and victim assistance services—federal victim services, tribal victim services, and state and local victim services; services for crime victims and survivors; National Information and Referral Resources for Crime Victim/Survivor Assistance—20 national toll-free information, assistance, and referral numbers; and victim/offender and restorative justice programs.

A Tribal Probation Officers Guide to Working with Victims cover

Crime is everyone's business. It affects entire communities. Too often, crime victims are left to fend for themselves or are forgotten, especially after the court process. Significant progress has been made in corrections-based victim services over the past two decades. Yet, true excellence in victim services can only be achieved through active collaboration.

This interactive, multidisciplinary program examines the need for a collaborative approach to corrections-based victim services. In addition, it highlights the importance of victim-centered responses by corrections, allied professionals, and the community in addressing the rights, needs, and traumas of crime victims.

Participants will: gain increased sensitivity towards crime victims and describe how crime affects people; identify and apply various methods and strategies to hold offenders accountable for the harm they have caused; identify and plan responsive strategies for corrections-based victim services in partnership with other justice and community stakeholders; develop a plan to measure victim services effectively in your jurisdiction; identify local and national resources and develop action plans for victim services collaboration; and create connections to help provide seamless services throughout corrections.

The intended outcome of this training is to empower agencies to take a leadership role in the development and delivery of victim services training to meet their specific system requirements. This training will be supplemented with resource materials that states, jurisdictions, and agencies may use in the development and management of victim services training.

Facilitator and participant manuals are also included.

Achieving Excellence in Correctional Victim Services Through Collaboration  Cover

"This is a national directory of all known corrections-based victim service providers, maintained by the National Association of Victim Service Professionals in Corrections (NAVSPIC)." Information provided includes (if available): contact person, title, state correctional agency, phone number, email address, postal address, and website.

Corrections-Based Victim Services 2016 National Directory screenshot

"From the creation of Victims Committees at ACA (1987), APPA (1991), and APAI (1992) and the establishment of the National Association of Victim Assistance in Corrections (NAVAC, formerly known as NAVSPIC) and the National Institute of Corrections Network of Post-Conviction Victim Service Providers, the field of corrections has recognized the importance of enforcing victims’ rights in the post-sentencing phases of their cases, and providing services and support to the victims and survivors of the offenders whom they detain and supervise.

"This document marks the first time that the leading national correctional agencies and organizations and their respective victim/survivor-related Committees have joined together on a project that we hope will enhance and promote corrections-based victim services. Outreach to our respective members contributed to these creative ideas about how correctional agencies can partner with victim assistance organizations to promote 2016 NCVRW in six categories: 1. Correctional clients’ fundraising for victim services; 2. Victim/survivor awareness and programming; 3. Correctional staff education; 4. Direct victim and community support; 5. Educational programs; [and] 6. Media relations and public awareness" (p. 1).

Creative Ideas for Institutional and Community Corrections Agencies to Partner with Crime Victim Assistance Organizations and Agencies to Promote 2016 National Crime Victims' Rights Week Cover

"Recent research suggests that Deaf women experience higher rates of sexual and domestic violence than their hearing counterparts, but are often shut off from victim services and supports that are ill-equipped to respond to their unique needs. As a result, they are denied access to services that could help them safely flee from abuse, heal from trauma, and seek justice after they have been harmed. This policy brief offers practical suggestions for expanding and enhancing Deaf survivors’ access to victim services and other supports" (website). Sections of this publication include: introduction; the Deaf community in the U.S.; research on victimization is limited; higher rates of domestic and sexual violence; unique experiences of violence; barriers to services and justice; Services for Deaf, by Deaf—a promising strategy; enhancing the capacity of hearing service providers and systems; collaboration between Deaf and hearing programs; five recommendations; and conclusion.

Culture, Language, and Access:; Key Considerations for Serving Deaf Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence cover

Crime victimization is a vast social harm. Its full cost to individuals and communities is still unknown, but the ultimate financial tally is estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars — up to 6% of the gross domestic product. Criminal justice system policymakers and practitioners could benefit from more complete and precise crime victimization cost data and tools to reset the baseline for proportionate allocation of remedial resources. Better data could drive more equitable crime victim support, including direct victim compensation and other victim services. A research team led by the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) identified in detail research needs to support victim services policy and practice. JRSA partnered with the Urban Institute and the National Center for Victims of Crime on the study, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice. The study’s objectives were to develop an understanding of what information is needed most by those who serve victims of crime, and examine ways to quantify crimes committed by institutions — such as businesses and non-profits — while recognizing that it is often individuals who ultimately suffer. Some of the study’s recommendations for future victimization cost research, presented in more detail in the research report, were to: 1) comprehensively summarize existing research and resources; 2) study repeat and series victimization; 3) study hard-to-reach victim subpopulations; and 4) develop conventions to measure uncertainty in victimization cost estimates.

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.

Evaluation of the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Program Cover

"The purpose of this Guide is to prepare and assist VSPs [victim service providers) to become part of an EBDM [Evidence-Based Decision Making] policy team, as outlined in "A Framework for Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Criminal Justice Systems" (https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.nicic.gov/Library/031408.pdf). To help prepare VSPs for this role, the Guide provides: A rationale for VSPs to become involved with the policy team; An examination of the benefits that can accrue from the participation of VSPs in the EBDM process; A description of how VSPs can become part of the EBDM process and how the EBDM principles apply to their work; An exploration of common interests and potential challenges and barriers that VSPs and criminal justice system stakeholders collectively face while engaging in this work, and possible solutions; A link to a primer on EBP and EBDM; A brief overview of why it is important to victims for VSPs to understand the purpose and use of risk/needs assessment tools, a critical component of EBP and EBDM; and Links and references to other information and resources that can help VSPs to educate themselves about becoming part of EBDM policy teams and to conduct evaluations of their own programs" (p. 4). Sections include: introduction; Ten Core Crime Victims' Rights; advancement in the criminal justice system—evidence-based practice (EBP) and evidence-based decision making (EBDM); purpose of this guide; audience for VSP User's Guide; why VSP's should participate in the EBDM process; the unique contribution VSP's can make to the EBDM policy team; becoming part of the EBDM process; what EBDM means to VSPs; how the EBDM principles apply to VSPs; VSPs as an integral part of an EBDM process—what an ideal scenario would look like; VSPs' involvement in key decision points in the criminal justice system—decision points in the EBDM process, and intersection of EBDM decision points and victim considerations; common interests and potential challenges and solutions—prevention, offender accountability, victim needs, limited resources, working with diverse populations, and navigating a complex political environment; conclusion; and a holistic approach to serving victim needs (postscript). Appendixes included are: Why It Is Important to Victims for VSPs to Understand the Purpose and Use of Risk/Needs Assessment Tools; and Tools/Resources for evidence-based decision making, applying EBP to victim service programs, and general victim advocacy issues.

Evidence-Based Decision Making: Victim Service Provider User's Guide cover

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