Collaborations Supported by CVR
CVR supports two types of researcher-practitioner collaborations: interagency VOCA-SAC Partnerships and Research-to-Practice Fellowships.
The Center for Victim Research is supporting partnerships between state Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) administrators and Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs) that aim to use data and empirical evidence to improve services to crime victims.
2018 VOCA-SAC Partnerships
In 2018, CVR supported eight VOCA-SAC partnerships, each of which completed a 12-month project.
Arizona Criminal Justice Commission and Arizona Department of Public Safety
The primary goal of the project was to assess how crime victim funding allocations were distributed to victim services providers during fiscal year (FY) 2016-2018. The project sought to determine 1) the availability of funding resources, and 2) the programs and services being provided to Arizona crime victims with these funds. This project has resulted in a funding evaluation report which identifies service gaps in the state of Arizona by comparing victim service provider locations to county crime rates. In addition, an interactive map of all victim service providers was created, with contact information provided for each organization. This map will be hosted by the ACJC and made available to the public and other organizations which would like to also use it as a resource.
Hawaii Crime Victim Compensation Commission and Joseph Allen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Chaminade University (HI SAC partner)
This project investigated restitution assessment and enforcement in cases where the Commission awarded compensation to crime victims and requested restitution from offenders in return. This project builds on past research efforts that only included inmates or parolees, as it also includes data about offenders on probation who were ordered to reimburse the Commission through restitution. Data collected and analyzed from compensation cases eligible for restitution focus on better understanding victims’ experiences along the continuum of: (1) harms suffered, to (2) legal judgments/orders, and finally to (3) the restitution payments received. Within each of these stages of the process, the nature and extent of several indicators of completion are investigated.
Iowa Statistical Analysis Center and Iowa Crime Victims Assistance Division
This project examined service statistics related to the Crime Victim Assistance and Crime Victim Compensation programs. A comparative analysis of charge data from the Iowa Justice Data Warehouse (JDW), crime victim clients served data, crime victim claim data, and census data was conducted with the goals of determining service reach, underserved areas where victims may be underreporting, and crime types for which victims may not be reporting. ArcGIS, a mapping software, was utilized to perform the mapping analysis and display results at the county-level. Additionally, this project has launched CJJP and CVAD into the early stages of developing a data sharing agreement/MOU that would allow for the ongoing transfer of data between the agencies.
Maine Statistical Analysis Center, Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and Maine Department of Health and Human Services
This project conducted an analysis of service data collected by the Maine sexual assault centers in EmpowerDB, a database specifically designed for sexual assault service providers to track data about victims seeking services, services provided, prevention education, community outreach and training, and outcomes across all services. The project aimed to better understand the gaps in service for underserved communities (e.g., people of color, people with disabilities, rural residents, etc.) that access services at sexual assault centers throughout Maine. The project also led to recommendations on current data collection practices for MECASA and sexual assault centers and information on how these changes could possibly impact future practices and policies among the sexual assault centers.
Minnesota Statistical Analysis Center and Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Justice Programs
This project built on earlier research showing that youths housed in juvenile correctional facilities have much higher rates of victimization than their contemporaries in public schools. VOCA services do not currently extend to juvenile institutions. A survey was administered to facility staff in Minnesota’s juvenile facilities to determine what resources are currently available in the facilities to identify and treat victims of violent crime. Specifically, the survey addressed three basic domains: ability of facilities to identify past victimization experiences, resources available to victims when they are identified, and resources needed to serve victims of violence. Individual survey responses were grouped by facility to develop a composite profile of each participating facility.
Crime Research Group, Inc. (SAC), and Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services (VOCA Assistance and Compensation administrator)
The purpose of this collaborative project was to map out the crossover between civil relief from abuse orders, criminal prosecutions for domestic violence, and claims made to Vermont’s Victims Compensation Program. This project compared characteristics, including relationship status, of victims of domestic assault who file a petition for relief from abuse (RFA) in the civil system versus those who contact the police. It examined the overlap between protection order and criminal case filings and how many RFAs resulted in a future violation of an abuse prevention order. Finally, the project explored which categories of victims tend to use the Compensation Fund and how many more would be eligible if victims only filing RFA petitions were eligible to apply for compensation.
Washington State Statistical Analysis Center and Washington Office of Crime Victims Advocacy (VOCA Assistance Administrator)
In an effort to more effectively manage the use of VOCA funds in Washington, OCVA expressed an interest in implementing a more robust evaluation of the 2015-2019 VOCA State Plan and providers funded under it. The first goal of the project was to develop an evaluation framework to determine which funded initiatives are effective and meeting their service goals. Data were collected from grant manager surveys and in-person program interviews. The second goal was to identify service delivery gaps and provide recommendations on how to address those gaps. Data were examined from InfoNet, a web-based collection system for victim service providers, and the National Incident-Based Reporting System. Additional data sources were also evaluated for their usefulness in calculating service needs.
Wisconsin Office of Crime Victim Services (OCVS) and Wisconsin Bureau of Justice Information and Analysis (BJIA), with input from the Bureau of Computing Services, other internal and external partners, and a portion of local service providers
OCVS, in conjunction with BJIA, wanted to build capacity to collect and use quality, meaningful data for the VOCA subgrants awarded annually to victim service providers across the state. This project provided a starting point to understand the data currently being collected and helped to develop a plan for future data collection to enhance the quality and utility of the VOCA data. The project consisted of semi-structured focus groups, analysis the VOCA data currently collected in the Office for Victims of Crime Performance Measurement Tool (OVC PMT) and the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Egrants system, review the current data collection mechanisms, creation of data dashboards, drafting recommendations for OCVS as to how the process could be improved, and developing a post-project plan.
In 2019, CVR supported four VOCA-SAC partnerships, each of which identified a 9-month project.
Idaho Statistical Analysis Center, Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance, and Idaho Crime Victims Compensation Program
The Idaho Crime Victims Compensation Program (CVCP) agency is being overloaded with requests for payment of forensic interviews. The VOCA assistance administrator can help pay for forensic interviews, but it needs more information in order to develop a plan of action. This project aims to develop a plan of action to address the increase in requests for payment for forensic interviews in the state. This project aims to determine why forensic interviews are being used more often, the average cost, and how they are being performed across the state. Additionally, gaps in service areas will be examined by mapping law enforcement reported crimes, victim services, the number of victims receiving services, and associated costs.
Iowa Statistical Analysis Center, Crime Victims Assistance Division, and Friends of the Family
Iowa struggles to meet the housing needs of domestic violence victims. A funded housing first rapid rehousing program, Friends of the Family, appears to have been successful in service delivery, but lacks the capabilities and resources necessary to comprehensively analyze, evaluate, and/or report on the programs and services they fund. This project aims to conduct a process evaluation of the Friends of the Family program in Iowa. Friends of the Family provides rapid re-housing to individuals and families affected by domestic violence. The process evaluation will document the program design and current housing model to describe the full scope of program efforts and activities. Additionally, an evaluability assessment will assess current data and reporting capabilities of the program. Lastly, a logic model will be developed for the program.
Maine Statistical Analysis Center, Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, and Family Violence Project
Maine is the most rural state in the union. Rural domestic violence victims seeking safety may experience additional barriers including difficulty finding safe housing. The Family Violence Project aims to overcome these barriers. This project aims to develop an evaluation framework to examine when and how survivors of domestic violence with multiple needs and who are still building internal and external supports should be transferred from emergency shelter to permanent housing. The Family Violence Project will be able to assess the impact of their services and refine their services if warranted following the evaluation.
Crime Research Group, Inc. (SAC), Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services, and Vermont Legal Partnership for Crime Victims
This project aims to work with the Vermont Legal Partnership for Crime Victims, a wrap around legal network in the state. The Vermont Legal Partnership for Crime Victims aims to ensure that all Vermont crime victims have access to high-quality, trauma-informed services to address the legal challenges arising from their victimization in a manner that minimizes multiple intakes with different service providers. The project will promote and expand data collection beyond federal reporting, improve victim service planning and implementation in the area of legal services, and identify trends and gaps in the use of legal services and a plan to meet those gaps to ensure that the needs of victims are met, and outcomes are improved.
In 2020, CVR is supporting three VOCA-SAC partnerships, each of which identified a 6-month project.
Alaska’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; Alaska Justice Information Center, University of Alaska Anchorage
The aim of the project is to create an interactive dashboard showing patterns and trends in intimate partner violence across the state of Alaska, using data from previous Alaska Victimization Surveys. A public, interactive dashboard will increase the use of these data, to inform the development and implementation of domestic violence service programs and provision in Alaska.
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (SAC and SAA)
This project looks at victim service use by underserved populations in Illinois. The project incorporates the use of four focus groups into an existing research effort to compile a map showing victim service usage, demographic information, and geographic location for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. After the map is initially created, focus groups will be conducted with stakeholders to provide feedback on the map’s depiction of domestic violence and sexual assault and their suggestions for future data analysis. A later set of focus groups will be conducted to ensure correct interpretation of the data and make recommendations for policy and practice. The addition of focus groups allows victim service providers and the SAA to be active participants in the research process.
Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center; Wyoming Division of Victim Services; Wind River Cares; Eastern Shoshone Victim Service Project; and the Red Paint Alliance
The goal of this project is four-fold: (1) to build a partnership among the Wyoming SAC, the Wyoming VOCA assistance and compensation administrator, and the three Wind River Indian Reservation victim service organizations to improve awareness of available data related to crime victimization on the WRIR; (2) to recognize key data needs related to crime victimization on the WRIR; (3) to identify available data sources for understanding crime victimization on the WRIR; and (4) to develop next steps and future goals for the partnership to pursue access to and use of WRIR crime victimization data.
The Center for Victim Research is supporting local- or tribal-level partnership teams of researchers and practitioners working together on a research-related victim services project, while engaging in cross-learning activities. The goal of the fellowship program is to encourage collaboration between researchers and practitioners and, ultimately, improve assistance and service delivery for victims of crime.
2018 Victim Research-to-Practice Fellowship Projects
In 2018, CVR supported nine fellowship teams of researchers and practitioners. Each fellowship is engaged in a nine-month project.
Advancing the Implementation of Effective, Survivor-Centered Advocacy
Nicole Allen, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Isak Griffiths and Karen Gehrt, Courage Connection
This project—a partnership between Nicole Allen, a crime victim researcher at the University of Illinois, and Courage Connection, a local domestic violence program—aims to achieve three goals: 1) enhance the quality of advocacy for domestic violence survivors and their children provided by Courage Connection; 2) increase Courage Connection’s capacity to engage in ongoing evaluation of their service delivery efforts; and 3) generate research knowledge about the conditions in which effective survivor-centered advocacy services are implemented in a domestic violence program setting.
The Neurophysiology of Secondary Trauma: A Victim Research-to-Practice Fellowship Project
Kelly Knight, Ph.D., and Colter Ellis, Ph.D., Montana State Univ.; Abi Blakeslee, Ph.D., Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute; Erin Clements, Dept. of Public Health and Human Services, Child and Family Services Division; Richard McLane, Bozeman Police Dept; Katharine Osterloth, Forensic Nursing Program Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital; Christina Powell, Bozeman Help Center; Anna Saverud, Chief Prosecutor, City of Bozeman; Alanna Sherstad, MSU Voice; Kelsen Young, MT Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Victim service providers, especially in the most remote areas, suffer from extreme forms of secondary trauma. Building on existing relationships between the researchers and practitioners in rural and tribal communities across Montana, this fellowship will first develop and begin evaluating a community- and culturally-informed training on the neurophysiology of secondary trauma. Second, they will pilot a survey to establish baseline levels of secondary trauma and its health correlates among victim service providers. Long-term, this project will improve service delivery to victims of crime in rural and tribal areas by strengthening the victim service providers and organizations who work with them.
Understanding the Needs and Experiences of Families and Friends of Homicide Victims
Jeanna Mastrocinque, Ph.D., Law and Justice Studies, Rowan University; and Elizabeth Cerceo, MD, FACP, FHM, Cooper Medical School, Rowan University
While families and friends of homicide victims (FFHV) encounter multiple response systems, including the criminal justice and medical systems, there is limited research on their needs, their resulting health effects, and their experiences with these response systems. This project is a collaboration to expand our understanding of the experiences and needs of FFHV. Key to this study are focus groups with FFHV to collect data to be incorporated into medical education at the partnering hospital, and to further the collaborators’ knowledge in order to propose an innovative research and FFHV-informed hospital-based intervention.
Domestic Violence Action Research Collective Housing Study
Liz Odongo, DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence; and Nkiru Nnawulezi, Ph.D., Community Psychology Program Organization: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
This fellowship will support the design and implementation of a community-based, participatory research study focused on exploring survivors’ access to safe housing led by the Domestic Violence Action Research Collaborative (DV ARC). This new, DC-based collaborative brings together victimization researchers, advocates, and practitioners to create an evidence base that increases survivor-responsive care within multiple systems across the city. Broadly, they will design and conduct community-based research and evaluation studies that: (a) enhance individual and community safety, (b) build survivors’ power, and (c) support policy and practice action efforts that improve services to survivors of violence.
SPIRIT– Supporting Protection, Integration, and Resources in Tribes
Po Chen, Youth Heartline; and Holly Scheib, Ph.D., Sage Consulting
Through a community supported, locally-directed Tribal Forum, the SPIRIT project will conduct preliminary research on cooperative interventions with vulnerable Native American populations to serve victims of child abuse and neglect. This is an important area of knowledge, as demonstrated by the historical and current challenges governments and NGOs face in the context of victim service program development and capacity building in Native American communities. This type of collaborative research approach is needed to establish best practices in engagement related to child victimization in Native American tribes.
Wynona’s House Child Advocacy Center: Capacity-building for Innovation and Research
Elizabeth Cross, Ph.D., Theodore Cross, Ph.D., Cross Associates: and Carol Berger, Wynona’s House
This fellowship is a partnership between Cross Associates, a strategic learning consulting firm with expertise in victim services research and evaluation, and Wynona’s House, a fully co-located Child Advocacy Center. The fellows will focus on 1) increasing Wynona’s House’s capacity for identifying and measuring outcomes, and 2) disseminating lessons learned and best practices to the larger community of New Jersey Child Advocacy Centers at their annual conference.
Examining Campus Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Processes: Identifying Relevant Research Questions and Design Feasibility
Carolyn Copps Hartley, Ph.D., Univ. of Iowa School of Social Work; and Sara Feldmann, Univ. of Iowa Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator
This partnership will develop a conceptual framework and research design to study the experiences of complainants and respondents in campus sexual misconduct adjudication processes. Sexual misconduct cases are addressed as policy violations resolved through student code of conduct procedures (including informal resolutions and formal adjudication processes). Studying adjudication processes presents numerous ethical challenges in protecting participants’ confidentiality and not interfering with the outcome of the process, while still gathering valuable information to inform and improve the process. Therefore, other campuses may also benefit from the lessons learned from this partnership.
Understanding the Social Context of Reentry, Criminal and Trauma Recidivism in Prince George’s County
Dr. Joseph Richardson, Assoc. Prof. of Medical Anthropology and Criminology, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, and the Capital Region Violence Intervention Program (CAP-VIP), Univ. of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center.
The Capital Region Violence Intervention Program (CAP-VIP) is a hospital-based violence intervention program (HVIP) that uses a trauma-informed care approach to reduce repeat violent victimization by providing psychosocial services (mental health/substance abuse counseling, job placement, housing/legal assistance) for survivors of violent injury (i.e., gunshot wound, stabbing or blunt trauma). The primary goal of the CAP-VIP is to reduce the likelihood of repeat violent injury also known as trauma recidivism. The secondary goal is to reduce criminal recidivism because 70 percent of the patient population CAP-VIP serves has a history of criminal justice involvement and/or previous history of incarceration. Many of our program participants are currently on probation, parole or ankle monitoring. In an article published by (Richardson, St. Vil, Sharpe, Wagner and Cooper 2016) among Black men treated for violent injury, a previous history of incarceration was the most significant risk factor for repeat violent injury. Thus, the CAP-VIP has partnered with Dr. Richardson to study how hospital-based violence intervention programs can reduce trauma and criminal recidivism among CAP-VIP program participants. Because a significant number of CAP-VIP program participants are under community supervision and recently released from detention, this study will assess the relationship between hospital-violence intervention programs and reentry. To our knowledge, this is the first time a study has been conducted to assess this relationship. Dr. Richardson is also the Program and Research Director for the CAP-VIP.
Post-Disaster Worker Empowerment Journal Assessment
Melissa Torres, Ph.D., MSW, Dir. Human Trafficking Research Portfolio, Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Univ. of Texas, Austin; and Marianela Acuña Arreaza, Fe y Justicia Worker Center
After record-setting Hurricane Harvey, immigrant workers in Houston have become the cleanup and rebuilding labor force responding to the city’s devastation. Already highly at-risk of labor exploitation and trafficking, immigrant Latinx workers need preventive education and intervention services during these recovery efforts. This project—a pilot for a longer study—will evaluate a new journaling program that is part of a post-disaster response worker promoter program. Vital to the response development is the convening of worker asambleas, which will include focus groups to assess for risks of violence in the form of labor abuse, exploitation, and trafficking through journaling.
2019 Victim Research-to-Practice Fellowship Projects
In 2019, CVR is supporting six fellowship teams of researchers and practitioners. Each fellowship is engaged in a nine-month project.
Commuter-Campus-Students-Too: A Researcher-Practitioner Partnership to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Violence on an Urban, Commuter Campus in New York City
Victoria Frye, MPH, DrPH, Associate Medical Professor, Department of Community Health and Social Medicine, City of New York School of Medicine; Jasmin Salcedo, LCSW, Gender Resources Social Worker, Gender Resources Program, Health and Wellness Services, Sophie English, LCSW, Student Psychological Counselor/Confidential Advocate, Office of Diversity and Compliance, City College of New York, CUNY
This project is a researcher-practitioner partnership, based in a large, urban, commuter college campus, to conduct research to improve knowledge of and access to tailored sexual violence response and prevention activities. The fellowship will support an existing partnership, between a violence researcher and two co-chairs of a campus-based task force, to achieve two primary research aims: how best to communicate information on existing victim services resources on and off campus to students; and adapting an existing evidence-based sexual violence prevention program for urban commuter students. City College of New York, located in Harlem, educates 16,000 full-time, predominately commuter, students per year. Urban, commuter students are diverse in terms of age, sex/gender identity, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and life role; consistent communication is a challenge and no tailored evidence-based or -informed sexual violence prevention programs exist for them. The fellowship will help fill these gaps, generating generalizable knowledge for urban commuter students.
Advancing Practice-Relevant Research for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence with Disabilities
Michelle Ballan, PhD, Professor of Social Welfare and Family, Population, and Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University and Cynthia Amodeo, LMHC, Chief Program Officer, Barrier Free Living Inc.
This project proposes extending an existing researcher-practitioner partnership to enhance practice-informed research for survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) with disabilities. A research team from Stony Brook University will collaborate with practitioners at Barrier Free Living Freedom House, a disability-focused domestic violence shelter, to transition from paper recordkeeping to a computerized database, systematically gather data that will augment their services and practices, and revise intake and assessment instruments. Information obtained from this research project will further advance the partnership’s larger goal of contributing to the broader knowledge base of improving assistance and service delivery for this underserved population.
The Civil Legal Needs of Survivors of Sexual Assault
Jane Palmer, PhD, Professorial Lecturer, American University School of Public Affairs and Stacy Malone, Executive Director, Victim Rights Law Center
This researcher-practitioner partnership seeks to fill an important gap in the victim research literature. Existing research on sexual violence survivors’ experiences with the legal system tends to focus on their experiences with the criminal legal system. The practitioner partner, Victim Rights Law Center, headquartered in Boston, MA, is the first non-profit law center in the U.S. to solely focus on providing civil legal services to survivors of sexual assault in the areas of privacy, safety, immigration, housing, education, employment and financial stability. Through a systematic review of closed, redacted victim case files, the victim services field will gain a better understanding of the benefits and challenges associated with civil legal remedies in the aftermath of a sexual assault.
Gender, Victimization, and Victim Services Needs among Community Court Defendants
Alesha Durfee, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University and Paul Thomas, Court Administrator, The Mesa Municipal Court, Mesa, Arizona
This collaborative project between Dr. Alesha Durfee and the Mesa Municipal Court analyzes the relationship between gender, victimization, and the need for victim services among defendants whose cases are being handled in the Mesa Community Court. The Community Court is designed to address chronic, low-level offending that occurs as a result of social problems, including homelessness, mental disorders, and alcohol and drug addiction. This is a continuation of a pre-existing partnership funded through the National Institute of Justice Researcher-Practitioner Partnership program; it is a new substantive area. Dr. Durfee will collect both quantitative and qualitative pilot data on defendants in Community Court in order to develop a victimization screening tool and protocol, as well as create training documents and protocols for court staff. The researcher and practitioner will then use this information to apply for a larger grant to sustain a long-term research project on gender, victimization, and community court defendants.
Supporting Rural, Remote, and Underserved Survivors: The Need for Mobile Victim Advocacy Units
Brooke de Heer, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Northern Arizona University Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Lynn Jones, PhD, Professor, Northern Arizona University Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Sarah Young Patton, M.S., Associate Director, Victim Witness Services for Coconino County, and Jennifer Runge, Executive Director, Victim Witness Services for Coconino County
Through this fellowship, Victim Witness Services (VWS) of Coconino County and Northern Arizona University (NAU) plan to work toward increasing services available to rural, underserved victims of crime in Northern Arizona. Geographically, Coconino County is the second largest county in the United States consisting of many remote towns and the Navajo, Hopi, Hualapai, and Havasupai tribal nations. Victim Witness Services would like to build their mobile advocacy efforts to better serve remotely located victims but are lacking data on the victimization and service needs in these areas. The NAU/VWS partnership plans to develop and implement a needs assessment aimed at understanding the kinds of victimization, barriers experienced, and service needs of rural, underserved populations, including Native Americans who experience victimization off tribal lands. A data-driven understanding of the issues facing these victims will assist Victim Witness in obtaining future resources and funding to support their mobile advocacy program which serves some of our most vulnerable victims.
Transgender and Non‐binary Sexual Violence Research Project
michael munson, Executive Director, FORGE and Heather McCauley, ScD, MS, Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Michigan State University
The purpose of the proposed early stage partnership between FORGE, a national transgender anti-violence organization, and violence prevention researcher Dr. Heather McCauley (Michigan State University) is to build the infrastructure for the team to conduct much needed research to document the prevalence and contexts of sexual violence victimization experienced by transgender and non-binary adults in the United States. These findings will inform practice with and resources for victims. Products stemming from this early stage partnership will include a survey, developed via community-engaged methods, and grant proposal to fund this work.