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2019 Report to the Nation

Fiscal Years 2017 - 2018
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Research and Evaluation

Data on Crime Victimization

In FYs 2017 and 2018, OVC funded two partner agencies—the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)—in their endeavors to generate, collect, and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on victimization, victim services, and related topics critical to the field.

OVC also entered into an interagency agreement with NIJ to support new research for the field, including efforts to better understand the financial costs of victimization, the experiences of at-risk groups, restorative justice programs, a study on the national victimization of tribal youth, and the overlap between victims and those who commit crime.

Victim Services Statistical Research Program

OVC continued its support and partnership in advancing BJS's Victim Services Statistical Research Program (VSSRP), which aims to build a critical body of knowledge for the field by collecting and analyzing data from victims and the diverse entities that serve them nationwide. VSSRP includes a number of initiatives to collect information from victim service providers, including the National Census of Victim Service Providers and the National Survey of Victim Service Providers—both designed to help define and enhance understanding of all types of providers, from those that are community and justice system-based, to campuses, hospitals, corrections facilities, legal aid providers, and others, all playing a critical role in serving victims of crime. The census data will for the first time provide quantitative information about how many providers exist, their organizational structures, the types of services they offer, the crime types served, and staffing considerations.

Service Provider-Specific Data Collection

Other research and development efforts focused on particular types of service providers, such as a collaboration between BJS and the National Center for Health Statistics to develop a new National Survey of Hospital Victim Services to better understand the range of hospital-based and affiliated services available for crime victims in health settings. BJS has also launched pilot programs to examine the feasibility of collecting information related to victim services in homeless shelters, and to better understand the prevalence of victimization and service needs in correctional settings, beginning with jails. The agency has also added, or is in the process of adding, questions about victim services to existing BJS surveys, including, for example, surveys of law enforcement agencies, corrections agencies, and medical examiner’s and coroner’s offices. Collectively, these efforts will offer the most comprehensive picture of victim service provision to date.

National Crime Victimization Survey

In FYs 2017 and 2018, OVC continued to provide funding to support the strengthening of victimization data through the redesign and modernization of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). This multi-year initiative to fill long-standing gaps in information includes efforts to—

  1. provide subnational estimates. While the original purpose of the NCVS was to provide estimates of victimization at the national level, the NCVS subnational program will generate victimization estimates at the state and local levels for the 22 largest states.
  2. modernize socio-demographic information by including questions about victims’ sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, and citizenship. The update also expands questions about disability status to all respondents, not just those self-reporting victimization experiences.
  3. expand the information collected regarding formal and informal help-seeking behaviors, victim services, issues related to fear of crime, perceptions of neighborhood disorder and satisfaction with police, and the consequences of victimization.
  4. expand the types of crimes collected in the NCVS, including fraud.

OVC Research and Data Fellowship

In FYs 2017 and 2018, in partnership with BJS, OVC also continued its efforts to bridge the gap between research and practice through sustained support of its first ever fellowship dedicated to improving the translation and dissemination of research and data for the victim assistance field. In addition to providing direct support on the development of VSSRP, the fellow conducts outreach and engages with all corners of the field. The fellowship is designed to ensure not only meaningful translation and dissemination of existing information to improve victim response and services, but also that the voices and needs of practitioners and victims of all types of crime are heard and considered as a source of collaboration and expertise throughout these efforts.