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Section I: Scope of Services

PROGRAM STANDARD 1.1: A written guideline describes the program's mission, goals, and objectives.

Commentary: Programs should have a short, succinct statement of purpose, including clearly written goals and objectives. The stated mission and goals should be global and general, describing the program's desired conditions or results. The goals should provide a more specific description of the program purposes than an overriding mission statement. The program objectives should be specific, measurable statements of desired achievements, and be derived from the mission and goals. Objectives should reflect the program's design and functionality, and its desired program and staff achievements. The objectives also should specify the intended outcome of program activities and state the desired changes in behavior, skills, and knowledge that the program will work to achieve.

Programs are encouraged to develop a logic model that illustrates the relationships between goals and objectives stated, the program activities intended to meet those objectives, and anticipated short- and long-term outcomes. The logic model should serve as a basis for annual and long-range plans for fulfilling the program's objectives. It also provides a foundation for ongoing performance measurement and evaluation. (See Program Standard 5.21 regarding program evaluation.)

Numerous resources exist for learning more about logic models. For example, the University of South Carolina's College of Social Work offers a 3-part webinar series that describes the basics of logic models, how to create them, and how to use them in grant development. http://cosw.sc.edu/research/resources

PROGRAM STANDARD 1.2: A written guideline describes the geographic area and types of people served by the program.

Commentary: The guideline should describe the target population, whether it's based on age, gender, ethnicity, type of victimization, geographic boundary, or other demographic. However, the guideline should also make clear that the service provider will not deny services to individuals outside of the target population who are otherwise protected from discrimination under local, state, or federal civil rights laws.

Individuals served are generally victims/survivors and their significant others (e.g., family members, caregivers, loved ones). Witnesses and other individuals exposed to violence may also be included in the population to be served. When identifying a target population to serve, programs should consider the communitywide availability of services for victims/survivors of the following:

  • Sexual assault;
  • Domestic violence;
  • Stalking;
  • Child abuse;
  • Elder abuse;
  • Nonfamily assaults/violence;
  • Homicide;
  • Drunk or impaired driving death or injury;
  • Hate crime;
  • Property crime (e.g., burglary, identity theft, arson, vandalism);
  • Online or electronic crime (e.g., Internet fraud, harassment, electronic monitoring or interception, sexting, child pornography);
  • Terrorism and mass violence incidents;
  • Human trafficking;
  • Commercial sexual exploitation; and
  • Abducted or missing persons.

Although some programs will specialize in one or two forms of crime or victimization, others will address many types. Programs are encouraged to examine overall service availability in the community and to work with other providers to address victims who are underserved and who have experienced polyvictimization. This might include identifying the providers most suited to handling particular services within an agency or organization, or developing collaborative partnerships to meet the needs of specific victim populations. For instance, the Prison Rape Elimination Act requires correctional facilities to coordinate with community providers to address the rights and treatment needs of victims of prison rape.

Programs should have sufficient experience, training, supervision, materials, and outreach to provide competent service delivery based on the characteristics of the victims/survivors. This includes services for males and females; children, teens, adults, and older individuals; civilians and members of the military; ethnic minorities; individuals with limited English proficiency; immigrants; individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer; persons with disabilities; incarcerated and institutionalized individuals; and others with specific needs (e.g., homeless, substance abuse).

Program staff should be aware of the range of crime victim services and other public services available in the community, and be prepared to provide referrals computer icon for services that fall beyond the scope of their own program, such as food and shelter, legal services, medical care, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, and crisis counseling (a written referral resource list is suggested). If no referral agencies are available, or in emergency situations, programs are encouraged to lend services to the extent possible (within the range of competent service delivery). All programs are expected to develop cultural competency computer icon and form formal and informal partnerships with relevant community-based organizations, including services for victims with limited English proficiency and marginalized populations. A lack of competency should not be a reason to turn victims/survivors away from the program.

PROGRAM STANDARD 1.3: A written guideline requires that all program procedures operate in accord with applicable government laws and regulations, as well as within policy guidelines for any overarching agency or institution.

PROGRAM STANDARD 1.4: A written guideline requires all program staff, while serving in the professional role, to abide by applicable local, tribal, state, and federal laws.

PROGRAM STANDARD 1.5: A written guideline requires all program staff, while serving in the professional role, to abide by a code of ethics adopted by the program.

Commentary: Examples of laws and regulations include federal, state, and local civil rights laws; federal, state, and local funding statutes; privacy protections; corporate laws governing nonprofit boards and bylaws; grantor requirements (e.g., drug-free workplace, lobbying); criminal laws; any tribal, state constitutional, or statutory rights for victims/survivors; mandated reporting requirements; and federal and state victims' rights laws. Programs housed within larger overarching agencies or institutions (e.g., law enforcement, universities) should ensure that procedures do not conflict with those of the overarching agency or institution.

All states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have statutes identifying persons who are required to report suspected child maltreatment to an appropriate agency, such as child protective services, a law enforcement agency, or a state's toll-free child abuse reporting hotline. For more information about mandated reporting and a list of designated agencies in each state, visit www.childwelfare.gov.

Similarly, in most states, “mandatory reporter” statutes apply to persons providing services to seniors or adults with disabilities. For more information and a list of Adult Protective Services agencies in each state, visit www.napsa-now.org.

Service in the professional role includes on-the-job performance and also off-duty occasions when a victim assistance provider is acting as a representative of the victim service program (e.g., at professional meetings), delivering victim services in the community (e.g., on volunteer crisis teams), or acting with regard to professional information (e.g., maintaining confidentiality of client information computer icon).

Your program's code of ethics should take into account ethical requirements that might already apply to program staff and volunteers. Ethical codes may already impact the work of attorneys, social workers, advocates, interpreters, and others.

computer iconVAT Online is a free Web-based victim assistance training program that includes training modules on the topics of “Assessing Victim’s Needs,” “Referrals,” and “Collaboration.”

computer iconVAT Online is a free Web-based victim assistance training that includes a module on the topic of “Culture, Diversity and Inclusivity.”

computer iconVAT Online is a free Web-based victim assistance training that includes a training module on the topic of “Confidentiality.”