Past Project


Law Enforcement-Based Direct Victim Services & Technical Assistance Program

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), with funding from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), partnered with the Justice Information Resource Network (JIRN) and the Center for Victim Research to carry out several research activities under the Law Enforcement-Based Direct Victim Services & Technical Assistance Program (LEV TTA). Through the LEV program, IACP supports agencies in either establishing brand new victim services programs in law enforcement agencies or enhancing existing programs. There is a dearth of research on law enforcement-based victim services, however, there is a lot of interest in this area. The research component to the LEV TTA program will help inform IACP’s work and make sure agencies are supported with data and research assistance. JIRN is very grateful to be engaged in several activities under the LEV TTA program with IACP including administering the LEV Mapping Survey, facilitating mini-grant research and evaluation projects of partnerships between LEV Grantees and research partners, and conducting six case studies of variously situated LEV Grantees.


LEV Mapping Survey

This survey was conducted in two waves. The first wave targeted law enforcement-based victim services programs funded through the OVC Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services (LEV) Program and/or OVC Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding. It was administered between June 17, 2020, and September 16, 2020. The second wave expanded the sample to all law enforcement agencies indicating they address victim services in the 2016 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS). That wave was administered between March 31, 2021, and July 16, 2021. Follow-up interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of survey respondents from both waves.

After analyzing the results of the surveys and interviews, the project team identified additional areas to be explored through focus groups of directors of law enforcement-based victim service programs. These focus groups were convened in May and June of 2022.

Wave 1 of the survey was administered via SurveyMonkey between June 17, 2020 and September 16, 2020. Wave 2 was released on March 31, 2021.

Wave 1 Infographic

Wave 1 Research Brief

Summary Report on the Survey of Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services

Final Report on the Survey of Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services

Exploration of Challenges in Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services: Focus Groups with Victim Service Directors


2022 LEV Mini-Grants

The mini-grants can support the sustainability of individual LEV programs, through the incorporation of data and evaluation through partnerships with researchers in a sample of programs and sharing the lessons learned – about data use and partnering—with other grantees. Summaries for each of the five partnerships appear below.

Auburn Police Department, Cayuga Counseling Services, Inc., and Dr. Alison J. Marganski

The Auburn, NY community has done a lot of work to ensure that victims of crime have the services they need; however, the integration of Victim Services within Law Enforcement Agencies is very new to the community and the way in which law enforcement perceives their role in the assistance to victims after a crime is an important piece of this program that warrants research. The proposed project will study the culture of the Auburn Police Department in terms of law enforcement officers’ perceptions about crime victims, their role in assisting crime victims, and also perceptions relating to victim services and victim service specialists. The current project will rely on quantitative survey data as well as qualitative data gathered from semi-structured interviews to examine perceptions of a sample of officers in Auburn Police Department in Cayuga County, NY. The project aims to learn about whether or not there are favorable attitudes toward assisting crime victims and working with victim services and victim service specialists or whether there may be issues that the agency should attend to and address. In all, this will be useful in learning about how persons served are viewed, whether officers believe serving victims is tied into their duties, and the advantages/disadvantages they see relating to the program and assisting crime victims. This information will enhance the continuation of funding plan as it will provide evidence relating to this collaborative type of service in the community and help identify issues and areas for improvement.

Auburn Police Department’s Infographic

Auburn Police Department’s Final Report

Cayuga County Sheriff's Office, Cayuga Counseling Services, Inc., and Dr. Alison J. Marganski

The Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office began providing victim services in February 2021. While data have been collected, there are many data points that have not been explored and relationships among data that have not been analyzed that could be very helpful is assisting with improving the services provided. The current project aims to: 1) examine and analyze victim-related statistical data pre- and post- integration of a victim specialist in the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office to learn about issues/patterns (and consider ways the information can shape practices including future data collection/research processes), and 2) prepare materials so that we can begin studying law enforcement officers’ perceptions about assisting crime victims. Part of this research would help identify the trends of the rural vs. non rural parts of Cayuga County and how the reported crimes and needs vary based on location. The project will make recommendations that enable complex analyses for more comprehensive understandings that can shape insights into knowing who the agency is reaching well and where there are service delivery gaps. Additionally, the project will gather information necessary for studying Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office officers’ perceptions of their roles relating to victim assistance.

Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office Infographic

Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office Final Report

Central Bucks Regional Police Department, Plumstead Township PD, Buckingham Township PD, Doylestown Township PD, and Delaware Valley University

Cultural differences and perceptions of victims of crime exist throughout the four collaborative departments funded under LEV. There are also operational differences (e.g., victim referral methods, records management systems, data sharing requirements) among the departments. The following areas have been identified for this project: 1) analysis of victim service integration within the four agencies, and 2) understanding each agency’s culture/personnel perception of their role in victim services to identify gaps in training. Quantitative victim services unit (VSU) response data will be collected from each collaborative department. Interviews with and surveys from command staff/supervisors, officers, and VSU staff will examine perception, cultural differences, and police role in victim services. Streamlining integration of VSU services across multi-agency collaboration and effecting positive police culture with appropriate training will assist this LEV site and other LEV grantees for delivery of efficient services to victims of crime; effective utilization of victim specialists with 100% focus on victims versus navigating the various police cultures/systems; and provide an avenue for attractive VSU sustainability in a seamless manner.

Central Bucks Regional Police Department’s Infographic

Central Bucks Regional Police Department’s Final Report

Houston Police Department and Collective Experience Group

Houston is facing a domestic violence epidemic that the coronavirus has only exacerbated. The Houston Police Department has addressed this through forming a Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) with funding from a VOCA grant. This research project aims to answer three questions: 1) What additional data could victim services division (VSD) be capturing to better demonstrate impact to funders to make the case for sustainment funding for Houston’s LEV program?; 2) How is the program being perceived by the staff of agencies to which victims are referred?; and 3) Are LEV/DART staff adequately managing vicarious trauma and/or is additional management intervention needed to maintain staff mental health and job satisfaction? Methods utilized will include a data inventory reviewing the data that VSD is already collecting and reporting under the LEV grant, focus groups with community partners, and focus groups with DART staff and sworn counterparts. This project will help determine if there are opportunities to improve services for crime victims. Specifically, the project will reveal what additional datasets or technologies (e.g., mapping) are readily available within the department that could be pulled and analyzed to better demonstrate the impacts of the LEV/DART program; determine if any process improvements might be needed to improve satisfaction or better serve victims; and discover how the employees perceive their role serving victims, their thoughts on the adequacy of the training they received, and the extent to which they are successfully managing their vicarious trauma exposure.

Houston Police Department’s Infographic

Houston Police Department’s Final Report

Memphis Police Department and the University of Memphis

In 2019, the Memphis Police Department received an LEV grant to develop victim services for secondary victims of homicide. The majority of clients served thus far did not complete a satisfaction survey, which leaves in question the extent to which they were satisfied with services. This project has two main goals, for research purposes and to provide a greater understanding of impact on the population served: 1) satisfaction with services and 2) to address the full scope of needs of this population. To better provide a voice to victims served, the project will conduct focus groups with secondary victims of homicide served by the program. Questions will center around victim satisfaction with services. Data will be analyzed with a word cloud generator along with a comprehensive content analysis. In gaining more feedback on work with secondary victims of homicide in the City of Memphis, the results of these focus groups will allow the victim specialist unit (VSU) opportunity for improving their scope and quality of services. Specifically, focus group findings will benefit the VSU to better their processes and policies in relation to contacting and providing assistance and referrals to secondary victims of homicide, as well as providing a foundation for a lasting program necessary in a high-crime jurisdiction.

Memphis Police Department’s Infographic

Memphis Police Department’s Final Report

2022 LEV Mini Grants Meeting

2021 LEV Mini-Grants

The mini-grants can support the sustainability of individual LEV programs, through the incorporation of data and evaluation through partnerships with researchers in a sample of programs and sharing the lessons learned – about data use and partnering—with other grantees. Summaries for each of the five partnerships appear below.

Cleveland County Sheriff's Office and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Victim Services program was established in January 2020, with funding from the Office for Victims of Crime. In order to establish the sustainability of the program after the initial grant funding period ends, the CCSO will need to provide evidence to the Cleveland County Government that the program is effectively meeting the needs of victims throughout Cleveland County. Although approximately 465 victims of crimes resulting in CCSO incident reports were eligible to receive services from the CCSO Victim Services program from January through September 2020, to date only about 130 victims were referred for services, and of those, only about one-half received some type of service. The purpose of this project is to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geographic analyses to identify underserved populations by examining gaps between the victims served by the CCSO Victim Services Program and the population of violent crime victims in the general population of Cleveland County. The focus will be on all violent crimes reported in Cleveland County through law enforcement incident reports during the 2020 calendar year, which was the first year of operation of the CCSO Victim Services Program. A demographic profile with descriptive statistics for each identified high-risk/underserved region in Cleveland County will be developed. The results will inform planned activities for prevention and outreach to segments of the Cleveland County community that are most vulnerable to interpersonal violence, ultimately leading to providing more effective services to a greater number of victims.

Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office’s Infographic

Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office’s Findings Infographic

Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office’s Final Report

Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office Non-Technical Report

Chicago Police Department and Sancent Consulting, Inc.

The Chicago Police Department is currently implementing the Crime Victims Advocacy and Support Pilot Project (CVASP) in three police districts in Chicago. The three districts have high rates of gun violence resulting in hundreds of nonfatal gun violence victims. The CVASP’s program goals are: (1) to provide timely trauma-informed crisis services to nonfatal gun violence victims; (2) increase victim participation in the criminal justice system; (3) decrease the severity of PTSD symptoms; (4) improve functioning of nonfatal gun violence victims; and (5) provide community referrals to support victims. This project will apply an exploratory, mixed-method research design to examine the immediate, comprehensive needs of nonfatal gun violence survivors. Analysis of case record assessments completed by CVASP advocates, interviews with CVASP advocates, and focus groups with nonfatal, gun violence victims will allow the project researchers to conduct an in-depth examination of presenting needs of nonfatal gun violence victims. Findings will inform CVASP advocates about the prevailing needs of the victims they are serving and inform program stakeholders about gaps in services provided and potential services that need to be developed. Additionally, CVASP stakeholders will be able to revise their intake/assessment documents to include needs they did not anticipate and understand better the needs they did find.

Chicago Police Department Infographic

Chicago Police Department Findings Infographic

Chicago Police Department Final Report

Chicago Police Department Annotative Bibliography

Brockton Police Department and Curry College

This project proposes to construct a framework of promising practices for the Brockton Police Department (BPD) to follow in building a Victim Assistance Program (VAP) with a robust language access plan and service provision strategy that provides the greatest benefit to the most crime survivors. This careful construction is essential for long-term operation that will require proof of cost-effectiveness for sustainability. Following an initial needs assessment regarding language access, service provision, and available resources, a two-stage process of literature and case study review will be used by Curry. First, a general review of crime victim advocacy programs’ language access plans and service provision will be conducted to determine promising practices. A more targeted review of case studies from jurisdictions similar in size and/or demographic makeup to Brockton will follow with qualitative interviews of other agencies to be conducted when appropriate. The case studies will be pieced together to show the promising practices most relevant to the BPD’s VAP structure and the community it serves. Combining the data from both stages, Curry will present examples of well-rounded victim service provision plans using promising practices and robust language access plans that the BPD will use to build a victim-centered outreach and assistance strategy stressing resource maximization and sustainability post-LEV award. While the deliverables from this proposal most benefit the BPD, the project will provide an evidence-based foundation upon which Curry and the BPD can build to create a lasting partnership.

Brockton Police Department Infographic

Brockton Police Department Findings Infographic

Brockton Police Department Final Report

Saginaw Police Department and Saginaw Valley State University

This project builds on a long-term relationship between the LEV program and researcher, that began during ELERV. The principal goal of this project is to expand data collection and analysis. The project plans to survey officers regarding victim-related barriers/challenges, including relating to repeat victims; and to survey partner agencies regarding LEVA referrals, gaps in services, and related issues. Some of this new data gathering will relate to issues regarding repeat victimization. They will also involve adding a few new questions to the victim survey, to identify whether they are a repeat victim, their satisfaction with services, and their utilization of services. As a second goal, the project plans to begin a process evaluation. The central task of this effort is to ask VSU staff to keep journals, or logs, of the challenges or barriers they encounter. In addition, the project plans to share their findings and experience with other law enforcement victim assistance programs, and to use this funding to further strengthen the relationship between the LEV program and researcher.

Saginaw Police Department Infographic

Saginaw Police Department Findings Infographic

Saginaw Police Department Final Report

2021 LEV Mini- Grants Meeting

Case Studies

These case studies are an exploratory look into the various ways that LEV Grantees are carrying out victim services, both in terms of structure and process. Six sites were chosen by JIRN in close consultation with IACP. The project team will document what is happening at the six sites, laying the groundwork for more extensive study in the future. The project team selected three sites each from the FY18 and FY19 LEV Grantees, including a sheriff’s office from each funding year. Sites were selected aiming to have diversity across the following areas: geographic, structure, funding, size, and victimization types served. This case study work took place between March and September 2021.

IACP LEV Case Studies Report

This work was produced under cooperative agreement number 2018-V3-GX-K049 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.