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Victim Assistance Programs: Whom They Service, What They Offer

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 1995
2 pages
Publication Series
This report on the findings of the National Institute of Justice's recent survey of 319 full-service victim assistance programs in law enforcement agencies and prosecutors addresses the service provided and the victims assisted, the role of volunteers, and ways to improve support.
The findings show that the majority of individuals who seek assistance were victims of domestic assault, and the most common assistance they received was information about legal rights, provided frequently by volunteers. Other key services included accompanying victims to interviews with prosecutors and to court and providing short-term supportive counseling. Approximately 20 percent of the people who received service from the programs were under the age of 16, and 8 percent were 65 years old or older. Nearly half of the victim assistance programs surveyed were not providing training to either paid staff or volunteers, either before or after they join. Programs that indicated they had inservice training averaged 24 hours of classes for paid staff and 25 hours for volunteers. About two-thirds of the survey respondents indicated they would like more training in victims' legal rights, obtaining restitution for victims, and working with law enforcement officials. They also would like training in working with special victim populations. More than half of the respondents would like more resources to investigate threats to or harassment of victims by suspects, a system to check criminal records of people who work with children, and a police system to track and record domestic assaults.

Date Published: May 1, 1995