The National Survey of Victim Service Providers (NSVSP) provides national data on programs and organizations that served victims of crime or abuse within the year prior to the survey. It aims to fill important gaps in our understanding of victim service providers (VSPs) and the victims they serve, providing insight into how the field is equipped to meet victims' needs. The 2019 collection used a representative sample from the 2017 National Census of Victim Service Providers (NCVSP) and surveyed about 7,200 organizations that served victims of crime or abuse as their primary function or that had dedicated staff or programs to serve victims. The NSVSP collects detailed information about the victim services field, including the range of services being provided to victims, characteristics of victims who received services, characteristics of staff providing services to victims, and gaps in services.
The NSVSP sample was selected from the final list of VSPs in the 2017 NCVSP. The NCVSP included 12,196 VSPs that served victims as their primary function or had dedicated victim service staff or programs. See Methodology on the NCVSP data collection page for more information on roster development. Before selecting VSPs for the NSVSP sampling frame, duplicate entries were removed, leaving 11,879 VSPs left in the frame. From this list, 7,237 VSPs were sampled based on geography and VSP type.
Respondents were asked to categorize their organization as nonprofit or faith-based; governmental; hospital, medical, or emergency; campus; tribal; informal; or for-profit. After review and consultation with expert panel members, BJS excluded informal and for-profit VSPs from the NSVSP because these types of VSPs often lack public visibility, service a small number of crime victims, and are highly unstable over time. In addition, these VSPs were largely heterogeneous, making it difficult to draw a representative sample.
Even with duplicates removed from the sample, BJS expected a high rate of VSP ineligibility for several reasons. First, many VSPs whose eligibility status could not be confirmed during the NCVSP remained in the sampling frame. These VSPs remained on the frame so as to not unintentionally remove eligible agencies. Over the course of the collection period, some of those agencies were reached and identified as ineligible. Additionally, the NSVSP administration began nearly 2 years after the end of the NCVSP. During this time, some VSPs on the NCVSP roster had gone out of business, stopped serving victims, or become ineligible for other reasons. Approximately 17.6% (1,276) of the 7,237 sampled VSPs were deemed ineligible. An additional 20.2% (1,460) had an unknown eligibility status. A total of 3,269 eligible VSPs responded to the NSVSP, for an overall response rate of 57.7%.
The NSVSP was administered via a web-based survey between May 1, 2019 and November 22, 2019. VSPs in the sample were notified about the study by mail and email, when such contact information was available. Several nonresponse follow-up efforts were made to encourage participation from VSPs and increase response rates. These efforts included email reminders, mail, telephone follow-up, and tracing efforts.
A victim is a person who received assistance from a victim service provider (VSP) due to concerns about past, ongoing, or potential crimes or abuse. Victims include persons directly harmed or threatened by crime or abuse and family or household members of the person who was harmed or threatened.
Services include any efforts to assist victims; promote their safety, security, or recovery; help them participate in the criminal justice system; or meet other victim needs. Services were grouped into six general categories:
- information and referrals
- legal and victims’ rights assistance
- financial and material assistance
- emotional support and safety
- medical and physical health assistance
- other services.
BJS categorized VSPs into five types of organizations:
- nonprofit or faith-based entity (501(c)(3) status)
- governmental agency
- hospital, medical, or emergency facility (public or private)
- campus organization, including those serving a university or college campus or other education institution (public or private)
- tribal government, organization, or entity serving tribal, American Indian, or Alaska Native populations.