How State VOCA Administrators Can Use GIS
State VOCA administrators can use GIS in many ways. As an analytical tool, GIS can identify trends and patterns not discernible by tabular inquiries. An example would be exploring the relationship between addresses of applicants for crime victim compensation and locations of crime to learn whether an appropriate number of applications is being submitted from neighborhoods with high crime rates.
GIS facilitates data-driven decisionmaking. By using multiple-source data, administrators can analyze problems in greater depth. For example, integrating information on subgrants funded by VOCA victim assistance, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions Rape Prevention and Education Grant Program, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Family Violence Prevention Funds into one data warehouse can be key to developing a statewide financial plan for victim services. GIS can be used in operations by using its funding data to determine which organizations will receive VOCA victim assistance grants.
Because GIS can track changes over time, it can evaluate strategies. If a VOCA victim assistance administrator responds to requests for increased services in African-American communities by developing plans for delivering services and awarding grants to appropriate organizations, the administrator can track the use of services from those grants on a regular basis. If certain programs are accessed as expected and others are not, the administrator can use this information to ask questions about the patterns of use and explore further options.
Administrators can use GIS to disseminate information to advisory groups and the public and to conduct legislative analysis. GIS can be used to coordinate services with other agencies and organizations, as in child abuse investigation and treatment teams that include cross-jurisdictional involvement of law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, and health and mental health services.
In summary, GIS can be a valuable tool in helping administrators implement a comprehensive and seamless service delivery system for crime victims.