This Policy Brief by the Center for Victim Research (CVR) highlights the findings and recommendations of a virtual convening of victim-focused researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in August 2020 to consider how research has been or could be used to give crime victims a voice in justice policy and practice.
Participants acknowledged that victim research has long sought to give voice to victims’ experiences and needs to fill knowledge gaps on victimization types, populations, and models of justice. They further emphasized the necessity for researchers to seek victim engagement when setting the research agenda. This can be facilitated through the development of researcher-practitioner partnerships that expand contacts with victims and those who have tailored services to their needs. Such researcher contacts with practitioners and victims can assist in identifying gaps in research. In researcher interactions with victims, the participants noted the importance of developing recruitment protocols that respect the sensitivities and recovery status of victims. Victims should be involved in molding the research goals rather than having preconceived research goals mold their input. When developing research instruments, participants emphasized the importance of considering victim sensitivities and suggestions. Attention should also be given to victim social identities such as race, gender, and class, which are factors in their perceptions of justice and victimization. Participants also recommended effective ways to engage stakeholders and facilitate victims’ voices being heard by policymakers. Participating researchers and practitioners discussed gaps in knowledge, including those related to certain populations, settings, victimization experiences, and research methods. CVR resources and research citations are listed.