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Victim Services Statistical Research Program

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Description

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) initiated the Victim Services Statistical Research Program (VSSRP) to build knowledge about victim services by collecting and analyzing national data from victims and the diverse entities that serve victims in all states. In addition to surveying victim service providers directly, including those working within the justice system, hospitals, campuses, and the community, the VSSRP also works to enhance other BJS collections in relevant areas of importance to the victim assistance field, including the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and collections within law enforcement, prosecutor offices, medical examiner/coroner offices, and corrections. The program works to address gaps in understanding of how victim services are provided, including—

  • the organizations and agencies that make up the victim services field
  • how victim service providers (VSPs) are staffed, funded, and organized
  • the number of crime victims that VSPs serve each year
  • the range of services offered and provider perceptions of gaps across the field.

For the past 20 years, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) have worked to promote justice and healing through the delivery of support services to crime victims. With OVC’s funding and assistance, BJS developed the National Census of Victim Service Providers (NCVSP) and the National Survey of Victim Service Providers (NSVSP) to gather information about the VSP field.

National Census of Victim Service Providers (NCVSP) 

The census is administered to all organizations in the NCVSP frame. The NCVSP describes the basic characteristics of the organizations and programs serving victims, including—

  • the number of VSPs that currently exist
  • where the VSPs are located
  • the number of paid staff nationwide who serve crime victims
  • the number of VSPs that use volunteers to administer services
  • the types of victim services provided
  • the types of victims who seek services
  • the number of VSPs concerned about future funding.

For additional information, see the NCVSP data collection.

National Survey of Victim Service Providers (NSVSP) 

Using the information gathered from the NCVSP, the NSVSP surveys a nationally representative sample of VSPs. The survey provides more in-depth information about both the organizations serving victims and the victims receiving services, including—

  • organizational resources required to provide services to crime victims
  • the range of services being provided to victims
  • the number and characteristics of victims who were served
  • the number, characteristics, and job functions of staff at VSPs
  • gaps in victim services.

National Crime Victimization Survey 

The NCVS gathers information from crime victims. Administered by the U.S. Census Bureau on behalf of BJS, the survey provides data on the characteristics of victims who received help or advice from a VSP, including the type of crime and the victim’s sex, race or ethnicity, age, injuries from the crime, and relationship to the offender. NCVS data can be used to understand relationships between the help that victims obtain from VSPs and the criminal-justice-system actions, such as reports to police, arrests, or judges or prosecutors contacting the victims.

Research and Development 

BJS has ongoing research and development efforts to strengthen information collected on victim services from VSPs and crime victims. The current NCVS instrument includes two items asking victims about help received from a VSP. As part of the NCVS redesign, additional questions about victim services are under evaluation, such as the types of services victims received.

Other efforts focus on maintaining and building the NCVSP roster. BJS and the National Center for Health Statistics collaborated to collect a list of hospital-based VSPs. BJS has also added questions about the provision of victim services to existing surveys of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors offices. All agencies that provide victim services will be added to the NCVSP roster to ensure future collections provide a comprehensive picture of victim services.

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Date Created: March 17, 2021