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What Constitutes Success? Evaluating Legal Services for Victims of Crime

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $694,288)

The field of victim legal services lacks a clear, unified conceptual framework and theory of change. The development of these core resources will provide essential grounding for evaluation across all forms of victim legal services, and for this proposal will provide the essential first step of a formative evaluation of three victims’ rights enforcement programs.

This project, led by JRSA, is a collaborative partnership that includes the National Crime Victims Law Institute, subject matter experts (SME) across multiple areas of victim legal services, and three local-level service sites. It aims to answer three questions: How is the effectiveness of a legal services program for victims of crime defined? What inputs/ activities/outputs/outcomes should be measured for a legal services program focused on victims’ rights enforcement? And what systems and data are needed to evaluate a legal services program focused on victims’ rights enforcement?

To answer these questions, a conceptual framework will be developed through a literature review, practitioner interviews, a SME survey of peers, and a roundtable discussion by SMEs. JRSA and NCVLI will then work with three sites—Arizona Voice for Crime Victims, the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center, and the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center—to continue the formative evaluation, applying the conceptual framework and theory of change to victims’ rights enforcement programs. An evaluability assessment at each site will include staff interviews, examination of documentation of process and protocols, assessment of data collected and capacity to collect additional data, the feasibility of outcome measurement, and similar items.

Implementation guides and measures and instruments to test fidelity of model implementation will be drafted with input from the sites. Each will then conduct a six-month pilot test. This work will set the stage for full evaluations of these programs. Results of the project would be captured in a Phase 1 final report to NIJ and disseminated through articles, a webinar for practitioners through JRSA’s Center for Victim Research, and a workshop for researchers at the American Society of Criminology Conference. In addition, the conceptual framework will be presented at the NCVLI conference and disseminated through the Center for Victim Research.

"Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).


Date Created: September 21, 2018