After reviewing the history and mission of the National Resource Center for Reaching Victims (NRC), this report presents the methodology and key findings of a NRC-sponsored comprehensive assessment of the crime victims field and related fields.
The needs assessment methodology included 103 interviews with persons involved in the crime-victims field, 45 listening sessions with victim-services stakeholder groups, a survey of agencies and allied professionals in the crime-victims field, a review of just over 500 practice documents related to the victimization experiences and needs of crime victims who often do not access services, and a communications audit of the victim-services field to determine the strengths and weaknesses of current victim outreach and service strategies. Seven key findings are discussed. First, victim service providers know they are not reaching all victims and need guidance on identifying and reaching more crime victims. Second, many survivors have fears and mistrust of mainstream victim service programs and the criminal justice system. Third, mainstream victim service programs often have difficulty in building relationships with culturally specific victim populations. Fourth, when crime victims from underserved communities attempt to access victim services, they often face barriers. Fifth, victim service providers with relevant lived experience, grassroots community programs, and culturally specific organizations often have the knowledge and expertise to serve victims who may be wary of mainstream programs, but they typically lack access to resources and funding. Sixth, effective partnerships are lacking among diverse victim-serving groups. Seventh, administrators of resources available under the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) have challenges in identifying and tailoring services to victim populations not adequately served. NRC strategies for addressing these findings are outlined. Extensive tables and figures