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FY 2017 WV's State Justice Statistics Program for Statistical Analysis Centers, 2017

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $147,387)

The State Justice Statistics (SJS) Program is designed to maintain and enhance each state's capacity to address criminal justice issues through collection and analysis of data. The SJS Program provides support to each state to coordinate and conduct statistical activities within the state, conduct research to estimate impacts of legislative and policy changes, and serve as a liaison in assisting BJS to gather data from respondent agencies within their states.

The West Virginia Statistical Analysis Center is located within the Division of Justice and Community Services (WV DJCS) per Executive Order No. 3-97. As part of the Executive branch of state government, the Division of Justice and Community Services falls under the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS) and serves as the State Administering Agency (SAA). The SAC works very closely with the SAA to provide data analysis and research support for those involved in allocating justice related funding in the state.

Under the 2015 SJS Award, the SAC focused on developing a team of national experts in victimization research to assist the WV SAC with survey design, implementation, and data analysis. The research team includes staff of the WV SAC staff, faculty from the West Virginia University Research Center on Violence, and two consultants from the University of Denver and American University. WVU will provide the call center and resources to conduct the telephone survey. This study represented the first adult state victimization level survey in WV. In support of BJS’s mission, the survey will use core questions from the NCVS in addition to focused measures of importance to the state.

Under the 2016 award, the WV SAC continued the efforts that began under their 2015 state crime victimization survey project and conduct the statewide survey. In Year two (2), the WV SAC continued the project by framing the survey as a “community and/or quality of life” survey in an effort to improve response rates. West Virginia, as a NIBRS reporting state, is committed to developing the survey in a NIBRS compatible manner and allows the research to show a more comprehensive picture of crime victimization. As a predominately rural state, WV struggles with the issue of unreported crime. Service options are often limited in these communities as well. This taken together with the fact that victims are more likely to be acquainted with the perpetrator than in urban areas leads to low reporting rates. Local domestic violence and sexual assault service providers report contacts with many victims that are not accounted for in official crime data. The SAC will use the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to prepare the core questions for the state level survey. The survey will include a screening question to randomly select one adult from each household contacted. The target population will focus on all adults age 18 and older statewide.

Under the 2017 award, the WV SAC will build off of the efforts from their FY 15 and 16 project where, as of March 2017, they developed the topic areas for the questions in the survey, completed a pilot test of the survey instrument and conducted the initial wave of calls to survey respondents. A second wave of calls are being conducted in order to address response rates that they believe were lower than expected. Without a clear explanation as to the low response rate, the SAC believed it was in part the result of the increased reluctance by respondents to answer phone calls during the 2016 election season.

Upon completion of the final collection of data, the SAC will focus their primary attention in year three (3) on conducting the final stage of the victimization project – completing the analysis of and the production of the final report(s) from the data collected.


Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.

Date Created: September 21, 2017