Core Elements and Challenges
Provision of Services
Victim services differed across sites, depending on local needs and law enforcement capacity. Examples of services initiated included round-the-clock crime scene assistance and hotline phone service, assistance for those reporting at the law enforcement agency, information and community referrals, followup contact, counseling and support groups, court advocacy, 911 phones, transportation assistance, housing assistance, financial assistance, materials in English and Spanish, and victim notification of their offender's imminent release.
ChallengesAs much as sites wanted to meet all the needs of crime victims, they could initiate only services that were feasible through the law enforcement agency or in collaboration with community partners.
The primary goal was to create a structure in which officers were trained to interact with victims appropriately and victims could receive information about their rights and services. Most sites went beyond this goal.
Although needs assessments indicated that victims wanted certain services, some services, including free counseling and transportation assistance, were rarely used.
It may take a concerted effort on the part of the victim services program for victims to feel comfortable seeking assistance through a law enforcement agency.