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Evaluation of the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Program, Final Report

NCJ Number
Seri Irazola, Ph.D.; Erin Williamson; Emily Niedzwiecki; Sara Debus-Sherill; Julie Stricker
Date Published
September 2013
359 pages
This report presents the findings and methodology of an evaluation of the federally funded automated victim notification (AVN) system, which intends to provide crime victims timely and accurate information on court events and status changes in the course of their case processing.
To date, 47 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico operate some form of AVN system. Evaluation findings suggest that States have implemented AVN systems under a diverse set of structural designs. Underlying these structural differences are issues related to program operation, program administration, stakeholder participation, and target population. In developing and implementing AVN, the evaluation advises that States must decide whether they want a vendor-based or in-house system, as well as whether AVN services will be available to all public users or closed/restricted to a subpopulation (e.g., victims and criminal justice professionals). The evaluation identified benefits and limitations for each type of system. The evaluation also determined that administrative structure and stakeholder "buy-in" are critical to AVN success. Generally, States are advised to limit the number of individuals responsible for the financial and operational management of an AVN system and develop a system to reduce turnover. In addition, States should provide comprehensive AVN services in all facilities that have contact with offenders. There should be one system that allows for seamless registration and, when applicable, under one vendor contract. In addition, victims should be informed about what services are and are not provided through the AVN system. Although this evaluation was not designed to examine the extent to which AVN provided victim notification in a legally sufficient manner, evaluation findings suggest the need for additional research to determine whether legal mandates are met through AVN systems. Evaluation methodology and limitations are explained. Case study reports, 12 references, and appended evaluation instruments, legislative profiles, and AVN system profiles