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Victim assistance

"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

The Geiger Institute is a national initiative to end domestic violence homicides.

We partner with communities to implement proven homicide reduction strategies, develop new solutions, and evaluate effectiveness. Through these collaborative partnerships, we create pathways to safety for those most at risk of fatal intimate partner violence.

"This e-bulletin provides brief descriptions of some of the innovative practices used by VOCA victim assistance and compensation programs. It draws on the firsthand experiences of state administrators and program staff in responding to victims’ needs, addressing gaps in services, and promoting awareness of crime victims’ rights. It is designed to spark dialogue among states and localities and encourage them to replicate these innovative practices … While some of the initiatives highlighted here involve upfront expenditures and significant time to implement, others are simple, low-cost strategies that can be adapted and replicated easily." Programs covered in this e-bulletin are organized according to: needs assessment; systems advocacy and coordination; compensation; underserved populations; victims' rights and services; and technology.

Innovative Practices for Victim Services: Report from the Field Cover

This three-hour national discussion and broadcast by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) focuses on the unique opportunities and challenges of including victims in the offender reentry process. Current points in the criminal justice reentry continuum where victims can and should have a voice are explored. By including victims we can obtain more balanced information about the offender and their offense history which can positively impact reentry decisions. This approach can result in better outcomes for the community, offenders and victims through enhanced offender accountability, increased victim satisfaction, and community safety.

During this program, presenters will: identify the value of involving victims throughout the offender reentry process, while ensuring victims’ rights are addressed; address corrections professionals concerns regarding interacting with victims and addressing issues of confidentiality; provide tips, tools and strategies for integrating victims into the reentry process; and identify resources, collaborative partnerships and funding opportunities for including victims in reentry programs.

Offender Reentry: The Value of Victim Involvement [Broadcast] cover

Victims have statutory rights that begin the moment a crime is committed against them. Ideally, victims would be fully informed of their rights at every step in the process: at the time the crime is reported, during the justice process, while the offender is incarcerated, and when the offender reenters the community. Different criminal justice stakeholders are responsible for victim services at different stages of this process. National Institute of Corrections’ project, “Post-Conviction Victim Service Providers” will focus on victim services, such as corrections, reentry, parole, and probation, that occur after an offender has been convicted, and it will provide resources and information for those working in this important, but rarely recognized, area of corrections.

This annotated bibliography was developed in an effort to provide current and useful information to professionals working in and with the criminal justice system regarding services that are provided to victims of crime. Sections include: general resources; confidentiality; evidence based practice (EBP); juveniles; notification; parole and parole boards; policies and legal issues; restitution; safety planning; social media; statistics and data; victim impact; victim offender communication, dialogue, and mediation; victim rights; victim support and services; and related websites.

Post-Conviction Victim Service Providers: Selected Resources Annotated Bibliography Cover

Access to eight fact sheets “on topics related to crime victims and victims’ needs throughout the community corrections process” is provided. Topics covered are: The Role of Community Corrections in Victim Services; Collaboration and Partnership for Victim Services in Community Corrections; Family Violence; Restitution and Other Legal Financial Obligations; Seeking Victim Input; Victim Information and Notification; Victim/Offender Programs; and Workplace Violence.

Promising Victim Related Practices in Probation and Parole Fact Sheet Series Cover

“The goal of this training program is to provide community corrections officers with information on strategies they can use to enhance their interactions with and services to crime victims. By the conclusion of this training participants will be able to: describe the impacts and implications of crime on its victims; identify the specific rights of victims, and describe the role of community corrections staff in implementing victims’ rights; demonstrate skills for communicating effectively with crime victims; identify 4-5 approaches for obtaining victim impact statements, and 3-4 appropriate types of information to request through victim impact statements; list 4-5 points in the community corrections process that officers should provide notification to victims; [and] demonstrate 2-3 strategies for increasing restitution collection among supervisees. This 16-hour training program is made up of five modules: welcome and introductions; communicating effectively with crime victims; incorporating victim input throughout the community corrections process; victim notification; and enhancing restitution management and enforcement.

Promising Victim Related Practices in Probation and Parole: Training Curriculum [and] Participant Manual [Lesson Plans and Participants’ Manual] Cover
In 2017, the National Institute of Corrections and the National Crime Victim Law Institute began work on a project to analyze existing rights and services, identify gaps and opportunities for inter-agency collaboration, and draft a set of recommendations to assist jurisdictions in the development of systems to improve rights compliance and implementation of integrated trauma-informed services post conviction.
Stakeholders participating in this project collaboratively envisioned a model of trauma-informed post-conviction systems, processes, laws, and policies that were responsive to the rights, needs, and recovery of victims while holding offenders accountable and promoting safe communities. As a result of this collaboration, a list of recommendations were developed that aim to move post-conviction services and systems toward consistently affording victims their rights—including the rights to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect—and recognizing victims as integral actors in, and consumers of, meaningful and effective post-conviction systems. This paper is the product of project efforts.
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"This is a report of the evaluation study conducted to examine the effects of the Victim Impact: Listen and Learn program on the behaviors of the prisoners who attended this program. The focus of the data we collected and reported on was on the participants’ behaviors after attending the program but while still in prison, and upon release from prison … The central tenet of the program is that a vital component to facilitating change within an individual offender is a focus on the victims of crime, and the impact of a crime on the victim" (p. 1). Victim Impact has been implemented in the Delaware prison system since 2011. Some of the findings form this study include: participants has a recidivism rate (re-offense and re-commitment) of 35 % compared to 67% for non-participants; and participants had a 33% reduction in disciplinary charges. Thus, Victim Impact reduces recidivism and can provide significant cost savings.

Victim Impact: Listen and Learn: An Evaluation of the Effects of the Victim Impact: Listen and Learn Program on Prisoner Recidivism and Prisoner Behavior cover

This training program "was designed to prepare corrections staff to develop and implement a victim services program that is both trauma-informed and victim-centered. The curriculum includes material that involves aspects of the following PREA standards: 115.16, 115.21–.22, 115.51, 115.53–.54, 115.61–.68, 115.73, 115.81–.83, and 115.86. The curriculum guides officials, step-by-step, through the process of establishing victim services programs in a variety of confinement settings; prepares staff members to carry out trauma-informed, victim-services programs, including collaboration with community advocacy agencies; helps create a corrections culture where reporting sexual abuse and sexual harassment is perceived as a viable option; and contributes to efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and sexual harassment." The curriculum is made up of an Instructor’s Guide and Lesson Plans, pre- and post-tests, and presentation slides for the following seven modules: Developing a Victim-Centered Response to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment; Understanding the PREA Standards on Victim Services; Understanding Sexual Abuse and Trauma; Reporting Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment; Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART); and Collaborating With Prosecuting Authorities.

Victim Services and PREA: A Trauma-Informed Approach Cover

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