This report summarizes findings and recommendations from two major national studies that examined crime victims' needs for services; their use of formal and informal help sources funded in part under the Federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA); victims' satisfaction with VOCA-funded services; needs that were and were not addressed by the various help sources; and policy and operational issues for State administrators of VOCA funds and VOCA-funded direct service providers.
The studies found that victims often had a range of service needs, including help with emotional/psychological recovery, practical help with various problems, and information/advocacy with the justice system and other agencies. Only 4 percent of victims' needs were addressed by formal victim service programs. VOCA assistance funds, along with other Federal and State funding streams, are administered by State agencies, which make awards to direct service providers. In 2001, States made just over 5,400 awards with VOCA assistance funds; programs provided a variety of services to over 3.5 million crime victims, most of whom were victims of domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual assault. Every State operates a victim compensation program that receives approximately one-third of its support from Federal VOCA allocations. These funds are most often used to pay medical/dental bills of assault victims. Program operations could be improved by continuing to streamline case processing and expand benefits. Administrative activities could be upgraded through strategic planning, needs assessments, outreach, coordination, monitoring, referral sources, and better communication with service providers and victims. The two studies used telephone surveys with all State VOCA assistance and compensation administrators; site visits to 12 States and 24 communities; focus groups with crime victims; and telephone surveys of approximately 1,800 crime victims who had used VOCA-funded direct service providers or filed a compensation claim. 10 figures, 7 tables, and 17 references
Date Published: March 1, 2004
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