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The Victim-Offender Overlap: Examining Police and Service System Networks of Response among Violent Conflicts

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $579,558)

A key question in reducing future violence and victimization is whether first responders and other justice system actors identify the victim as an offender or simply a victim, and whether the label influences subsequent treatment. The study, which targets Focus Area 1: Victim/Offender Overlap, will examine police and victim service system networks of response after street conflicts, and how service delivery is impacted by the victim/offender label. The study involves partnerships with the Philadelphia PD, Northcentral Victim Services, Department of Behavioral Health, and Philadelphia CeaseFire. The findings will produce theoretically-based, relevant information on victim service system strengths and weaknesses that will be synthesized into usable, practical information that can help strengthen victim service programs, institutions, and resources to improve the well-being of residents.
The project uses a mixed-method design that will yield qualitative data from semi-structured interviews and focus groups with system stakeholders and victims, and quantitative network data from victims (men of color in Philadelphia). The research will focus on five sets of stakeholders: (1) males victims of violent street crimes involving a conflict or dispute; (2) one family member of the victim; (3) the police and other justice system personnel; (4) the agency that administers VOCA funds; and (5) victim service providers. Approximately 100 victims of street assaults will be recruited for interviews and a social network survey at three points in time. Interviews also will be conducted with justice and victim services system actors, with an emphasis on the law enforcement response. Qualitative data analyses using the pile sorting method, coupled with text analyses in the Dedoose software will be complemented by social network analyses using R.
In addition to archiving the required datasets, the study will produce: (1) semi-annual progress reports and a ten-page summary report, (2) one article targeted to a criminology journal that will summarize the criminal justice system response to victims of crime who have also been offenders; (3) an article geared toward a practitioner-friendly journal summarizing gaps in services identified in victim services and make recommendations, if appropriate; (4) an article or research brief that summarizes the network analyses findings, and (5) at least two practitioner friendly blogs. We also will host a community-based forum to present the main findings. Furthermore, all products will be made available through electronic media and we will also present the findings at two different academic conferences. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 19, 2016