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Evaluating Data Collection and Communication System Projects Funded Under the STOP Program, Final Project Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2002
88 pages
This document discusses an evaluation of data collection and communication system projects undertaken with Violence Against Women Act STOP (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecution) grant funds.
The evaluation methodology involved mail surveys, telephone interviews with selected subgrantees, and site visits evolving from 1998 to 2000. Results show that, in the period from 1996 to 2000, the majority of projects funded by STOP subgrants were designed to fill a single and compartmentalized and localized requirement. The funds were most commonly used to purchase isolated pieces of computer equipment, software, cameras, fax machines, cellular phones, additional phone lines for agencies, and other communications equipment. Relatively few subgrantees used STOP funds to develop data systems within or across agencies. Interviews with 46 subgrantees revealed little emphasis on inter-agency communication through electronic means; the pooling of data concerning violence against women among law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and service providers in some type of integrated automated system; or the coordination of grant funds to local recipients towards the achievement of regional or statewide strategic goals. The findings of this evaluation indicate that subgrantees interpreted the definition of data collection and communication systems expansively in order to address particularly acute local needs in securing information to be used to support the prosecution of domestic violence cases, to enhance safety at the scene of domestic violence calls, and to increase access to services. These uses of the funds improved the ability of subgrantees to provide services and to accomplish the general goals of the Violence Against Women Act. But these are reactive measures and do not advance the goal of violence prevention through linked and coordinated data systems. This may be attributed to the small amounts of STOP grant funds, the need of computers and software to support internal operations, and the security of data systems, which is a major issue for the safety of victims of violence against women. Future funding priorities should focus on connecting local data systems to other local and State systems pursuing a common goal related to reducing violence against women. 7 tables, 10 footnotes, 3 appendices

Date Published: August 1, 2002