Prioritize Needs and Identify Solutions
Begin by analyzing what the community needs assessment revealed about the gaps and strengths of your community’s services for crime victims with disabilities. You are likely to identify more needs than you can address, at least in the beginning. To help prioritize—
- Consider the resources, time, and partnerships that will be necessary to address each need.
- Consider the urgency of the unmet needs and their impact on crime victims with disabilities.
- Analyze which resources you have to adequately address each issue.
- Differentiate between short- and long-term goals.
Below is an example of how one of the pilot sites, Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO), crafted its strategic plan.
- State the big-picture problem in general terms. For example, the results of SARNCO’s community assessment revealed that it was not providing services to many victims of sexual or domestic violence who have disabilities or who are Deaf.
- Pull specific examples of the problems from the assessment. SARNCO was not getting many requests for services from crime victims with disabilities or many referrals from disability or Deaf service agencies. It also learned that it rarely targeted its outreach to persons with disabilities or those who are Deaf.
- List reasons for the problem. SARNCO noted that it had few relationships with agencies serving persons with disabilities and those who are Deaf. The community needs assessment also revealed that some survivors of abuse who have disabilities or survivors who are Deaf did not know about SARNCO’s services, did not understand their options or legal rights, were frustrated by the process for getting help, or had been dissatisfied with services they had received previously.
- Identify as many solutions as you can. SARNCO staff’s potential solutions included the following:
- Revisiting the needs assessment to see how welcoming the agency and community were to persons with disabilities and those who are Deaf.
- Building relationships with disability service providers and individuals with disabilities and those who are Deaf.
- Targeting outreach and education to persons with disabilities and those who are Deaf.
- Training social service providers in how to respond effectively to crime victims with disabilities and crime victims who are Deaf.
- Choose the solutions that you can realistically address with the project partners’ staff, time, and resources.You may not be able to address all the problems at once, or even more than one at a time. In that case, choose the most critical issue first. Among other solutions, SARNCO decided to develop outreach materials for persons with disabilities and those who are Deaf; educate at least 80 people per year who have disabilities or who are Deaf about SARNCO’s services; and train at least 80 stakeholder professionals (e.g., disability service providers, victim service providers, law enforcement) per year on providing more effective services to crime victims with disabilities and Deaf crime victims.