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Crime Victims Compensation: Evaluation Findings on Policy and Program Administration Trends and Strategies for the Future (Video)

NCJ Number
189632
Date Published
Author(s)
Lisa Newmark
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Annotation
This Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Research in Progress Seminar video presents evaluation findings from the Urban Institute’s examination of crime victims’ compensation and victim assistance programs with emphasis on compensation and policy and program administration trends and strategies.
Abstract
This video seminar presents research in progress in the area of crime victims’ compensation and the evaluation findings on crime victim compensation and assistance policies and programs. The purpose of the evaluation conducted by the Urban Institute and presented by the Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Research in Progress was to look at how well victims of crime act funded compensation and assistance programs functioned, how well the formula grant funds were used to help meet victims needs, and identify policy and operational issues and innovations, as well as stakeholders involved. The topics covered in the presentation include: (1) what is compensation and why is it needed; (2) how does compensation work; (3) what issues in policy and operations arise and what innovations have been developed; (4) what are clients’ perceptions of the compensation experience; and (5) how can progressive policies and practices be supported? The evaluation methods used in assessing compensation programs were both the qualitative and quantitative approaches. The use of a qualitative evaluation method included interviews in six States and focus groups with clients. The qualitative method consisted of three telephone surveys; State compensation and assistance administrators, 452 compensation claimants in the 6 States, and 600 plus clients of VOCA funded service providers. Evaluation findings included: (1) programs showing an increase in victim service orientation; (2) the identifying and addressing of policy and operational issues through innovative practices; and (3) claimants who had mostly positive perceptions of compensation experiences with suggestions for improvement. Key program policy issues and innovations identified consisted of the expansion of benefits and the loosening of eligibility requirements. Key program operational issues and innovations were identified in the areas of outreach, training, and communication, claims processing (time and verification), and claim determination (denial explanation). The claimants’ perceptions of compensation experiences were generally positive due to faster processing time and more complete payment of expenses. Claimants also offered suggestions for improvements. In summation, the challenge for the future is to promote victim-service orientation while preserving program financial stability. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session for participants.
Date Created: December 17, 2008