Research and Evaluation

Research and evaluation inform the victim services field and enhance its ability to provide comprehensive services that meet victims’ needs.[9] Through a robust set of research and evaluation efforts, the Vision 21 initiative supports the development of a body of evidence-based knowledge for the field, including the ability to generate, collect, and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on victimization, emerging trends, services, enforcement efforts, and victim needs. The Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report highlighted the need to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners in the field. It also noted that, “crime victim services must be designed with a clear understanding of who is victimized and by whom, what victims need, why some victims access services and others do not, and to what extent victims’ rights are enforced.”[10] In FYs 2015 and 2016, OVC continued to support programs and initiatives dedicated to collecting and analyzing quantitative data, building a body of evidence-based knowledge, and developing program evaluations for victim service providers.

National Resource Center on Research and Evaluation

young boy and girl wearing white clothes and sitting in sandyoung boy and girl wearing white clothes and sitting in sandIn FY 2016, OVC funded a new national center to provide training and technical assistance to enhance service providers’ capacity to support and integrate victim-related research and evaluation activities. Through a $4,999,976 grant, the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) is partnering with the Urban Institute and the National Center for Victims of Crime to launch a resource center providing myriad training and technical assistance on victim research and evaluation for VOCA agencies and their subgrantees. JRSA and its partners are working with OVC, the National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators, and the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards to identify and support 8–10 states where state Statistical Analysis Centers (SAC) and VOCA agencies collaborate on victim-related research and evaluation activities. The resource center will facilitate partnerships between the selected state SACs and VOCA agencies to expand state-level data collection and analysis efforts to identify crime victim needs, service gaps, and trends in victimization, in order to improve victim service planning and implementation, assemble a cadre of centers to promote research-to-practice in victim services, and employ innovative approaches to delivering training and technical assistance on research basics for practitioners.

Data on Crime Victimization

woman seated at computer terminal with hand on computer mousewoman seated at computer terminal with hand on computer mouseIn FYs 2015 and 2016, OVC funded two partner agencies—the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ)—in their endeavors to generate, collect, and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on victimization.

  • OVC 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.
  • OVC provided funding to BJS in FY 2016 to establish a national Victim Services Statistical Research Program, which includes the first National Census of Victim Service Providers, the National Survey of Victim Service Providers, and the National Survey of Hospital-Based Victim Services (in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics). Each survey produced new sources of data that can be used to address key questions such as the following:

    • What are the organizations and agencies that make up the victim services field?
    • How are victim service providers (VSPs) staffed, funded, and organized to provide services to victims?
    • How many victims do VSPs serve each year?
    • What services are provided to crime victims?
    • How many victims need but do not have access to services?
  • OVC provided funding to support the strengthening of existing sources of BJS data to support the victim services field, including a large-scale redesign and modernization of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), adding key questions surrounding victimization, victim help-seeking behavior, whether victims received services, and, for those who do, what type of assistance they received. The NCVS will also address issues surrounding why services were not received by all who sought them.
  • In FY 2015, in partnership with BJS, OVC launched the first fellowship dedicated to improving the use, dissemination, and translation of research and data for the victim assistance field. In addition to providing direct support on the development of the new Victim Services Statistical Research Program, the Fellow conducts outreach and engages with all corners of the field. The fellowship is designed to ensure not only meaningful dissemination and translation of existing information to improve victim response, but also that the voices of practitioners and underserved populations are heard and considered as a source of collaboration throughout these efforts.

Additionally, OVC provided funding to BJS in FY 2016 to support—

  • the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) Subnational Program to create a more complete picture of crime and safety beyond national-level estimates. The program expands NCVS data collection to generate state-, county-, and city-level estimates from its nationally representative sample of households and persons on the frequency, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States. It also examines the likelihood of victimization by rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, theft, household burglary, and motor vehicle theft, both for the population as a whole and for segments of the population such as women, older adults, members of various racial or ethnic groups, city dwellers, and other groups.
  • supplements to the NCVS on fraud, identity theft, and stalking.
  • the National Victimization Statistical Support Program, designed to provide scientific and technical support for statistical and methodological research, statistical analyses, documentation, and dissemination.

Evaluation of Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Network

adult students with raised hands face instructor at white boardadult students with raised hands face instructor at white boardOVC has funded NIJ to conduct evaluations of a number of OVC demonstration projects. As an example, OVC funded NIJ to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Network Demonstration Project to track and document the grantees’ planning and implementation milestones. Evaluators conducted a baseline study to measure experiences and perceptions of services prior to implementation. Evaluators are gathering perspectives from survivors, victim service providers, and key stakeholders about how services have changed; comparing these findings to the baseline measures; and documenting how the projects have adjusted over time to the needs of victims and the field.

  1. 9See Office of Justice Programs, Research, Statistics & Evaluation,
  2. 10Office for Victims of Crime, 2013, Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, 1,