Core Elements and Challenges
After assessing community needs, law enforcement agencies should consider which activities they can realistically undertake to fill identified gaps in victim services. Rather than start from scratch, they can build on existing victim service initiatives within their law enforcement agencies, criminal justice systems, and communities. Plans for sustaining the program should be incorporated into the implementation strategywhen planning focuses on producing a programmatically and fiscally sound project, the program is more likely to be sustained.
ChallengePlanning and implementing a rural victim services initiative may take more time than anticipated.
Be generous when estimating the time it will take to educate officers and the public, put new policies into practice, establish a new office, hire staff, build relationships with other criminal justice offices and community organizations, provide outreach to victims, and institutionalize the initiative. The plan must also take the rural nature of the jurisdiction into account. For example, how far do victims need to travel to seek victim services and attend court hearings? What will it take for crime victims to be able to easily access program services? How can the program overcome a victim's reluctance to seek help? How quickly can victim services staff respond to requests for crime scene assistance?