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Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Victim Service Provision: Challenges, Innovations, and Lessons Learned

Award Information

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Competitive Discretionary
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Past Project Period End Date
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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $411,987)

Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Victim Service Provision: Challenges, Innovations, and Lessons Learned The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected marginalized communities, including victims of crime. Amid rapidly evolving and unprecedented social disruption, community-based victim service provider (VSP) agencies were tasked with maintaining accessibility to their critical services. This study will explore how COVID-19 affected the demand for victim service provision, the impact of local culture and mandates on victim service provision, and the short-term and sustained changes to service models based on innovation and/or modernization that occurred during the pandemic. We also will examine whether there are differences in these phenomena regionally, in rural and urban settings, and among specific types of VSPs. To accomplish these goals, this study includes a sample of eight county-level sites from four states, representing varied urbanicity and regions of the United States. For each county, we will conduct an in-depth policy analysis to better understand the cultural context in which VSPs were operating during the pandemic, a web-based survey of county VSPs, in-depth semi-structured interviews with a subset of VSP stakeholders, and one agency case study. While taking a micro-approach to understanding the impact of the pandemic on VSPs, this study also has a national scope that will allow for broad understanding of COVID-19’s impact on service provision for victims of gender-based violence, in varying communities, regions, and sociopolitical settings throughout the United States. Findings from this study will be accessible and actionable for VSPs, criminal justice practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and the general public. We will develop practitioner-friendly materials to support providers as they prepare for future instances of social disruption—whether from a public health crisis or a natural disaster—and to increase accessibility. We will provide policymakers and members of the public with tangible strategies to support VSPs as they continue to improve services for victims of crime. Our results will also provide a framework for future academic inquiry. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 29, 2021