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Victim Services Needs Assessment: A Research Study of Victim Services in the Community

Petersen, Dan
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) Topeka: Washburn University.

The research involved a study of practitioner perspectives, crime victim perspectives, and an assessment of services in various organizational categories. Although there were methodological limitations in the study, the data collected provided an insight into the perspectives of services offered to crime victims in the community. It was clear that there were diverse perceptions of victim services in the community. Generally, criminal justice agencies perceived that the victim services rendered were the best that could be offered considering the resources available and the clientele served. Although lack of resources would always be a problem and often could not be changed by the service providers or even the organizations, practitioners and organizations did have control over their attitudes toward crime victims. An element of mistrust and negative perceptions of crime victims was evident throughout the research results. This applied not only among classifications of organizations, such as criminal justice and victim services, but also within these types of organizations. The survey of crime victims found that although the majority of organizations reported providing resource information, referral, and follow-up contact for crime victims, a significant percentage of crime victims reported that they did not receive these support services from various organizations. The data did not show the extent to which secondary victims were served or the extent of outreach to these groups. Findings also showed that most service providers were not able to assess the needs of crime victims in areas beyond their own focus. Considering the diverse needs of crime victims, it is appropriate to have at least a rudimentary understanding of other areas of service, so as to make appropriate referrals. Most organizations reported that professional education does not emphasize victim service issues.


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