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Denver VS2000 Needs Assessment

he Needs Assessment Team first met in May 1997 and reviewed the available materials on victim services needs assessments. The team found that needs assessments and attitudinal surveys had been undertaken vigorously over the past 50 years covering topics such as the state of the nation's health, the public's preferences in consumer products, and attitudes on political issues. However, the team found very few studies on the needs, attitudes, and experiences of crime victims. This may be in part because victim service agencies have been faced historically with a lack of resources. Needs assessments and ongoing service evaluation have not been considered a priority equal to direct services.

VS2000 found the 1996 Nebraska Crime Commission's statewide needs assessment a particularly useful guide. The Nebraska project developed and tested three assessment instruments to evaluate the state of services for victims across Nebraska. VS2000 was fortunate to have access to the Nebraska tools, survey results, comments, and recommendations on the assessment process written by professional researchers.

After a review of these materials, a three-pronged approach to needs assessment was developed by the Needs Assessment Team to generate information on current services:

  • Client satisfaction with services.

  • Unmet needs and gaps in service as perceived by service providers.

  • Unmet needs and gaps in service as perceived by clients and unserved and underserved victims of crime.

The Needs Assessment Team met twice and organized into three committees: the Agency Survey Committee, the Client Satisfaction Survey Committee, and the Focus Group Committee. These groups met monthly for 5 months to design the measurement tools and implementation methods for each component of the needs assessment. VS2000 staff attended each meeting and drafted the tools according to the recommendations of committee members, printed and mailed the surveys, coordinated the focus groups, and analyzed the results of the assessment efforts. Descriptions of the efforts in each of the three areas follow.

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OVC Bulletin, October 2000
Denver Victim Services 2000 Needs Assessment
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