The National Census of Victim Service Providers (NCVSP) collection provides national data on all programs and organizations that served victims of crime or abuse within the year prior to the survey. The 2017 collection included data from about 12,200 organizations that served victims of crime or abuse as their primary function, or that had dedicated staff or programs to serve victims. The NCVSP identifies the size and scope of the victim service provider (VSP) field, including the number of VSPs, where they are located, the number of victims they serve, and VSP concerns about funding and staffing. Information from the NCVSP provides a sampling frame for follow-up surveys on victim service providers, including BJS's National Survey of Victim Service Providers.
Prior to conducting the NCVSP, there was no roster of all victim service providers (VSPs) across the nation. Roster development was conducted from 2013 to 2016 and involved compiling a list of all publicly available VSPs, canvassing for VSP lists across all states and the District of Columbia, and running an awareness campaign to encourage participation in the NCVSP. Military VSPs were excluded from this initial roster development because they are typically inaccessible to the general public.
Development of this initial roster produced a list of organizations that were likely providing victim services. Many organizations were present on multiple lists or even duplicated on a single list. Duplicates were removed while erring on the side of inclusion, to maximize the chance of reaching all eligible VSPs. For example, two organizations with the same address but different names remained on the roster because they could have been separate organizations located in the same building. Lack of current, complete contact information also presented challenges in eliminating duplication during this stage. For example, VSPs might have had similar names, but if one was missing an address, it was unclear if they were duplicates.
From October 2016 to July 2017 the NCVSP was administered to all organizations on the initial roster. The NCVSP was administered primarily online (86%) or by telephone (14%). Eleven VSPs completed a paper copy of the census.
Of the 14,181 organizations on the final roster, 11,567 confirmed their status as a VSP and participated in the census (82%). Confirmed VSPs were included if they completed at least up to section H of the NCVSP instrument, which included all of the key items. For the 2,614 non-respondents, online searches were conducted to identify a few characteristics about them, including their location and organizational type. All organizations had an address from the original roster or online searches. Organizational type was identified for 92% of non-respondents.
Of the 14,181 organizations on the final roster, 1,985 organizations were deemed to be ineligible and excluded for statistical analysis in BJS reports (14%; 1,927 responding and 58 non-responding VSPs), leaving a total of 12,196 eligible organizations. Organizations that were excluded typically provided some resources to victims of crime or abuse but either did not have dedicated staff or programs to serve victims (1,978 organizations) or else were located outside the U.S. (7 organizations).
Of the 12,196 eligible organizations, 9,640 completed the NCVSP (79%). These organizations confirmed their status as a VSP and provided up-to-date geographical data.
The survey instrument used in the National Census of Victim Service Providers (NCVSP) identified organizations providing services to victims of crime or abuse and filtered out inactive agencies. The instrument provided definitions for victims and services:
- A victim was a person who received assistance from a victim service provider (VSP) due to concerns about past, ongoing, or potential crimes or abuse. Victims included persons directly harmed or threatened by crimes or abuse and family or household members of the harmed or threatened persons.
- Services included any efforts to assist victims; to promote their safety, security, or recovery; to help them participate in the criminal justice system; or to meet other victim needs. Any organization that had provided services to victims of crime or abuse within the past 6 months was screened into the NCVSP.
The NCVSP instrument then categorized VSPs into three groups of organizations:
- those that primarily provided victim services
- those that served victims and non-victims but had dedicated programs or staff for victim services
- those that served victims and non-victims but did not have dedicated programs or staff for victim services (and therefore were excluded from BJS reports).