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Evaluation of the Office for Victims of Crime Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Network Demonstration Project

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $598,720)

Victims of crime experience a wide range of legal needs from asserting their rights in criminal proceedings to a number of additional civil legal issues related to the victimization, such as employment, housing, immigration, and custody concerns. Often, victims are required to navigate multiple, disparate organizations to meet these diverse needs. In response to this challenge, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has created a new demonstration grant program, the OVC Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Network Demonstration Project (OVC WVLAN), to address these legal needs using a holistic, wraparound approach. ICF proposes to perform a 15-month study to assess the initial phase of this new demonstration project and lay the groundwork for future evaluation activities. The evaluation team will document the development and any initial implementation of wraparound legal network models; design a comprehensive and rigorous research method conducive to both a baseline study and a future process and impact evaluation; perform the initial baseline study; and continuously advise grantees and local research partners through regular meetings, conference calls, and a series of webinars. The baseline study will depend on the recommended outcome evaluation methods and each site's models and data capabilities. However, a flexible approach would likely include (1) collecting and coding stakeholder interview data, (2) collecting and analyzing victim survey data, (3) collecting and analyzing legal network survey data, and (4) collecting and analyzing a variety of administrative data from sources such as legal services databases, quarterly reports, court records, and case files. ICF will produce a report for NIJ detailing baseline study findings and recommendations for future evaluation activities, including a series of instruments and protocols that can be used for a future process, outcome, and cost-effectiveness study. In addition, ICF will conduct a series of webinars that will be useful to grantees and for other communities engaging in replication efforts. In all activities and dissemination efforts, the evaluation team will use a research-to-practice framework that will increase opportunities for the OVC WVLAN programs to have greater program fidelity and long-term sustainability. A full-scale evaluation of the OVC WVLAN demonstration will assist policymakers in understanding whether federal funds supporting legal networks can assist victims; whether this is a cost-effective approach; and also provide important information to the field on victims' legal needs and how these needs are (or are not) currently met. At present, there is little systematic information on these topics, and project findings can help raise awareness about this vulnerable client group and assist legal and victim service organizations to better provide support. With successful completion of these proposed activities, NIJ will be well-positioned to embark on a full-scale process and impact evaluation if they so decide.ca/ncf

Date Created: September 6, 2012