Message From the Director
The assistance that law enforcement agencies provide to crime victims after a crime occurs is criticalparticularly because it may be the only contact that victims ever have with the criminal justice system. Due to the isolation, geographical distances, and limited resources available to law enforcement agencies in rural areas, the challenge of meeting the needs of victims is even greater. In the aftermath of victimization, many victims in rural areas never receive the vital services necessary to begin their emotional, physical, and financial healing. To creatively and economically meet this challenge, rural law enforcement agencies need assistance in identifying resources and promising practices.
In 2002, OVC began funding a demonstration initiative to support the development of models for enhancing or establishing victim assistance efforts in rural law enforcement agencies that might be replicated in other rural jurisdictions around the country. OVC awarded grants under the Victim Services in Rural Law Enforcement Project to the National Sheriffs' Association and the Alabama Attorney General's Office for the administration of a national pilot project and state pilot project, respectively.
This publication reviews the pilot sites' efforts, activities, approaches, challenges, and successes. It is meant to serve as a guide for other rural law enforcement agencies that want to undertake similar efforts.
Joye E. Frost
Office for Victims of Crime