The OVC grant allowed participating rural law enforcement agencies and their community partners to provide assistance to more than 14,000 crime victims collectively during the grant period. The site initiatives helped these victims begin their healing, tap into community resources, and raise their comfort level in participating in the criminal justice process. The accomplishment of serving these victims takes on even greater magnitude when the challenges that rural law enforcement agencies had to overcome to provide these services are considered: geographic isolation, poverty and rising crime rates, shortage of public transportation, lack of public awareness of community resources, victim confidentiality issues, and shortage of public safety and victim assistance resources. These initiatives also allowed law enforcement officers in rural areas to spend more time focusing on their investigative duties and provided an in-house liaison to victims in each case.
The efforts of the subgrantee sites laid a foundation for other rural areas interested in implementing or enhancing law enforcement-based victim services. Using this publication as a guide, rural law enforcement agencies are encouraged to consider the strengths and gaps in their responses to crime victims and explore how to initiate an in-house victim services program or to expand an existing effort to address some or all of these gaps.