First introduced two decades ago, automated victim notification (AVN) systems have been touted as an effective way to notify crime victims — at a reduced burden to the criminal justice system — with timely information about court events and status changes (such as release or transfer) regarding their offender.
The National Institute of Justice released the first-ever nationwide evaluation of the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) program. This in-depth study, by ICF International, evaluates:
- How the systems operate
- How effective they are
- Lessons learned, including cost and sustainability
The findings of the study are particularly significant in light of the indefinite suspension, in 2011, of federal funding for SAVIN. Some states have identified sustainable funding streams, but others are changing the structure of their AVN system or suspending some services. Many jurisdictions are uncertain about the implications if their AVN system ceases operation, particularly in terms of their ability to meet related mandates regarding notification.