Chapter 4: Evaluation
Objective: To evaluate victim service strategies to determine their effectiveness in meeting the needs of crime victims.
Evaluation is an essential component in determining the effectiveness and efficiency of programs that serve victims of crime. Since 1996, OVC has been authorized under VOCA to fund program evaluation. OVC has undertaken a number of major evaluation projects, often in partnership with NIJ, to improve the programs and services funded with VOCA dollars. This chapter discusses four evaluation projects that OVC initiated during the past biennium.
In 1984, VOCA established CVF to supplement state victim compensation and assistance programs. Between 1986 and 2001, OVC disbursed more than $3.2 billion in formula grants to these programs. OVC and NIJ commissioned The Urban Institute and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to evaluate state victim compensation and assistance programs. The goal of this multiyear evaluation, which is still ongoing, is to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs at delivering a seamless web of support to help victims in their struggle to recover from the financial, emotional, physical, and psychological effects of criminal victimization.
The evaluation has several phases and gathers information from state administrators, advocates, members of advisory bodies, local service providers, and victims who have accessed compensation and assistance services. In the projects first phase, which is now complete, The Urban Institute and SANDAG surveyed all state administrators regarding current policies, practices, contentious issues, and areas needing improvement.
Overall, findings in the first phase indicate that state programs are generally functioning well but could improve operations in planning, training, outreach, and coordination. Survey results show that the most pressing problem facing state administrators of assistance programs is the difficulty in long-range planning given the fluctuations in funding levels from year to year, due to variations in deposits into CVF. Survey results also indicate the need to develop policies for future uses of funds collected but not available for distribution for victim programs.
OVC is doing a number of things in response to the issues raised by the first phase of the evaluation. For example, OVC used the evaluation to formulate ideas for revising the victim compensation and victim assistance program guidelines (see chapter 1). OVC also used this information for planning future discretionary grants and training and technical assistance efforts. OVC has undertaken a major effort to work with states on strengthening their management capabilities, strategic and financial planning, and training and technical assistance.
Figure 7. Crime Victims Fund Allocations
Total CVF Allocations
Total Assistance Allocations
Total Compensation Allocations
OVC developed the Victim Services 2000 concept in 1997 with the goal of improving the range, quality, and accessibility of services for victims of crime. Since that time, OVC has funded four VS2000 demonstration sites representing both urban and rural communities across the country (see chapter 1 for more details on VS2000). Two of these sites have been successful in implementing their planning strategy while the other two have not. To determine whether VS2000 was successful in developing integrated victim services models that provide a template for planning and implementing comprehensive, coordinated, and accessible services to victims, an evaluation of the program was necessary. Through NIJ, a contract was awarded to Caliber Associates to conduct the evaluation. This evaluation will produce the following:
Process Evaluation of VS2000. To better understand why some communities are successful with planning and others are not and to identify the impact of strategic planning on agencies, communities, and individuals, a process evaluation of the planning phase of VS2000 is under way. All four original sites are included in the evaluation even though only two were successful. The findings will help OVC and the VS2000 sites develop effective, but realistic, assistance for communities nationwide that want to adopt the program model.
Assessment Instrument Development. Caliber Associates will develop, test, and implement an assessment instrument or instruments to evaluate whether the service provider training components are achieving their intended or desired outcomes.
Logic Model Training. Caliber Associates will provide a 1-day training session to help representatives from the two successful sites develop logic models of their programs. The logic model is an exercise that can guide both program design and refinement and evaluation design. The logic model training is also another tool that enables OVC and VS2000 sites to assist communities nationwide.
In May 2000, the Scottish court in the Netherlands began the mass murder trial against two Libyans accused of the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. One of OVCs major efforts in FYs 1999 to 2000 was to provide trial support and victim assistance services to surviving family members of the victims who died in the bombing (see chapter 1 for more information). In FY 2000, OVC funded the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center to evaluate whether surviving family members used and were satisfied with OVCs services and other services offered by the Scottish court and police.
Three hundred adult relatives of the Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie case were interviewed during the first phase of this evaluation. Preliminary results indicate that most family members were satisfied with the treatment by the Scottish police and with the quality of OVC services. Specifically, 77 percent of family members were very satisfied with the services offered by OVC and fewer than 3 percent reported being somewhat or very dissatisfied. When family members were asked about specific services provided by OVC, the majority were aware of the international telephone line, Web site, family liaison officers, a secure waiting area at Kamp von Zeist, Netherlands (where the trial was held), case brief meetings with the Lord Advocate and his team, closed-circuit viewing of the trial proceedings, and the Lockerbie Trial Briefing Handbook. However, only 43 percent of relatives knew that OVC had made funds available to pay for mental health counseling and only 8 percent had used these funds. A second wave of interviews is under way. Recommendations will be made based on the complete findings after further data analyses are completed.
OVC recently transferred funds to NIJ to document promising approaches to ensuring victims rights in Indian Country. An indepth study of victims rights and services will be done at one tribal site to determine what progress has been made toward establishing victims rights and providing services to American Indians. The study will serve as a model that can be used by OVC and others to collect similar information at other tribal sites. It will include an analysis of what services are provided to victims; victims perceptions of their rights; the services they think should be provided and what services they think are provided; an identification of factors that enhance and hinder the delivery of comprehensive services to victims; and recommendations of promising strategies for improving services for American Indian victims.