New technologies are changing the shape of victim services, enabling states to process compensation claims more quickly, track grantee activities and progress, and capture data that informs decisionmaking and programming.
Arizona and Missouri
Crime Victim Services in the Arizona Department of Public Safety uses a Web-based automated system that reduces long-term grant management costs. Through the system, the state can
- Accept applications.
- Conduct peer reviews.
- Create contracts.
- Collect data.
- Reimburse grantees.
- Measure outcomes.
- Track progress toward project goals, including delinquencies.
Peer review comments and scores are entered directly into the system. Both successful and unsuccessful applicants can see reviewers’ feedback specifically for their application. This feedback is valuable to grant writers for improving future applications.
Missouri customized a similar Internet-based grant management system to include salary information for service providers who are funded by VOCA through grants. The system enables Missouri to compare victim services salaries to equivalent positions in other nonprofit sectors.
The Crime Victim Compensation Program for the Seventeenth Judicial District in Brighton, Colorado, has gone almost entirely paperless. Reports are now scanned, queued until they are assigned to victim files, and managed from a central storage drive. To convey case files to board members for review, program staff load case summaries and relevant documents into an encrypted online document management system. Board members use their district-issued tablets to access the documents, review claims, and prepare for monthly meetings.
Illinois and Washington
InfoNet is a Web-based data collection and reporting system of non-identifying client service data. InfoNet collects service data per client and meets the reporting requirements for VOCA, the Violence Against Women Act, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, and state funding sources. Both Illinois and Washington have InfoNet systems. Client-identifying data, such as name and date of birth, are kept outside the system to ensure confidentiality. The database facilitates data entry for local providers through dropdown menus, check boxes, and automatic calculations, when possible. The system is designed to ensure that program sites can easily comply with reporting guidelines that vary widely while avoiding duplicative data collection. The system tracks services provided to a wide variety of crime victims, including clients who might have been victims of multiple crimes and services provided to secondary victims. User agencies also run internal reports analyzing staff workload for administrative purposes.