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Partnering to Access Legal Services (PALS): A Needs Assessment for the Denver Wrap Around Legal Services for Victims of Crime Project

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2014
90 pages
The findings and methodology are presented for a needs assessment conducted in the Denver (CO) Metro area for the purpose of identifying the gaps and strengths in legal services for victims of crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, elder abuse, and human trafficking.
Overall, the needs assessment found that crime victims have interconnected and complex legal needs that span civil and criminal legal systems, and they face a host of barriers to having their legal needs met. These barriers include inadequate information/knowledge about legal issues; inadequate resources and funding; inadequate trauma-informed, victim-sensitive, and victim-centered approaches to victims' needs for legal services; and inadequate system coordination. Phase one of this needs assessment involved interviews with 25 representatives from organizations that provide legal services for crime victims or work on crime-victim issues in some capacity. Phase two consisted of 15 focus groups with 88 diverse individuals exposed to crime or who knew a loved one exposed to crime. Based on an analysis of transcripts from the first two study phases, a survey instrument was developed to assess respondent perceptions of legal needs and barriers to accessing legal services for crime-related matters. In the needs assessment's third phase two questionnaires were administered. One was completed by 114 diverse individuals who were exposed to crime or who knew a crime victim well, and the other questionnaire was administered to 122 professionals who had worked with crime victims. 9 tables, 1 reference, and copies of the two questionnaires, one for crime victims and another one for professionals who worked with crime victims

Date Published: June 1, 2014