Enhancing Response to Victims: A Formative Evaluation of OVC's Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services Program

Enhancing Response to Victims: A Formative Evaluation of OVC's Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services Program

RTI and IACP are collaborating to conduct a multisite formative evaluation of victim services programs funded through the Office for Victims of Crime Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services (LEV) program. The evaluation will be informed by practitioners and victims to help the field better understand essential elements of the LEV program.

A formative evaluation occurs when a program is in the early stages of implementation and focuses on understanding components and activities of the program, how they are implemented, and the intended outcomes. From this evaluation, RTI and IACP will develop:

  • a comprehensive inventory and typology of all LEV sites,
  • recommendations for future outcome evaluation, and
  • an implementation guide.

More information on the LEV program can be found HERE.

Background

Why do we need the Formative Evaluation of the LEV Program?

How law enforcement responds to victims is critical for minimizing the significant and long-term consequences of victimization. The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) developed the Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services (LEV) program to support agencies to develop new or enhance existing law enforcement-based victim services. The program has the potential to transform both the agencies receiving these funds and the victims receiving assistance. However, there is a need for baseline research to inform the development of law enforcement-based victim service programs. An evaluation of the LEV program is critical because it helps us understand whether victims’ needs are being met and how these programs can be improved to help law enforcement agencies best serve victims.

The LEV Evaluation was funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), https://nij.ojp.gov/, in 2021. NIJ is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice and is dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science.

What is a formative evaluation?

Formative evaluation occurs when a program is in the early stages of implementation and focuses on understanding what components and activities make up the program, how they are implemented, and what are the intended outcomes. It is through formative evaluation, where the priority is on learning and reflecting, that we can identify implementation strengths and challenges and begin to understand which are the program’s essential elements. Formative evaluation is an important step before a program can be assessed for impact or effectiveness because, first, we must have clear understanding of what the program is (the components and activities) and what it is intended to do (the outcomes).

Who is the LEV Evaluation Team?

RTI International is leading the LEV Evaluation in partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). 

Is the LEV Evaluation the same as the LEV TTA?

IACP leads the LEV TTA Team and is also a partner to the LEV Evaluation; however, the staff who are part of the evaluation team are separate from the TTA team. The LEV Evaluation Team coordinates with the LEV TTA Team when appropriate to reduce burden on sites; however, the evaluation and TTA are independent efforts with related but distinct goals and objectives.

What types of information will the LEV Evaluation Team collect?

The LEV Evaluation consists of two phases. First, the LEV Evaluation began with a web-based survey to collect data from all LEV sites. At least one person from each site was asked to complete the survey although sites could request that multiple people participate, if needed. This included direct supervisors, technical leads, and/or LEV personnel. The web-based survey asked about topics such as the LEV project’s goals and objectives, target population, service provision, staffing, partnerships, data collection, and implementation (including challenges and successes). This information will provide a comprehensive view of the LEV program and allow us to identify similarities and differences in programmatic approaches across all LEV sites. For most sites, this is the only data collection activity they will be asked to participate in.

In the next phase, a small subset of sites will be invited to participate in voluntary follow up data collection to include one virtual (e.g., on Zoom) interview and one site visit. 

LEV Formative Evaluation Phase One Summary Results

Summary Results from Phase One of the LEV Formative Evaluation
 
Enhacing Response to Victims: A Formative Evaluation of OVC's Law Enforcement-Based Victim Services (LEV) Program — Summary Results from Phase One of the LEV Formative Evaluation 
 

The LEV program has the potential to transform both the victims receiving assistance and the agencies receiving these funds. A formative evaluation can inform the development of effective law enforcement-based victim service programs, help us understand if victims' needs are being met, and how LEV programs can help law enforcement agencies best serve victims. Learning more about law enforcement-based victim services personnel will broaden our collective understanding of this unique role and how agencies can ensure victims' access to their rights and choices in the criminal justice system.

Project Partners

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Contact

For additional information, contact Amy Durall at durall@theiacp.org or (703) 647-7234.

This project was supported by Award No. 2020-V3-GX-0074, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.

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