Prior to the 1980s, crime control policy paid very little attention to victims of crime. This changed
dramatically in the 1980s with the creation of the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and other efforts to make victims whole and to take their suffering into account in criminal justice policy and practice. OVC funds a broad array of services for victims of crime, including compensation.
In the 1990s, OVC was joined by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) in supporting service provision as well as advocacy for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. For more than two decades, these programs have been intent on building and maintaining the service infrastructure necessary to make victims of crime whole again. During this period, relatively little attention has been paid by OVC, OVW, and other victim service organizations to the statistical and research infrastructure necessary to identify areas in need of service and to demonstrate the delivery and effectiveness of that service infrastructure. The general purpose research and statistical agencies within the Justice Departmentâthe National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)âhave conducted research and have collected statistics relevant to crime victims, but these activities have been far less than those pertaining to crime and offending. We need to build a research and statistical infrastructure on victims of crime that is commensurate with the service infrastructure built over the last 20 years. This will allow the victims services field the ability to work more effectively in providing assistance to crime victims.