V. Diversity of Services for the Diverse Population of Violent Crime Victims
Social services, victim programs, and crisis centers were largely devised to deal with female victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault and as such may not reflect the needs of all crime victims nor accommodate the types of coping strategies typical of male victims (see Wallace, 1998). Yet, over the last 40 years there has been increased public attention to the diversity of victims of crime, and this has translated into a number of services to attend to the needs of this population.
In the early part of 2000, the federal and state governments directed an initiative to attend to previously underserved victims of crime. Victim assistance programs received increased funding and began to direct resources to victims of elder abuse, child exploitation, child witnesses to domestic violence, cybercrime, hate crime, and stalking. Attention has also been directed to tailoring programs to previously underserved populations including immigrants, visible minorities, and rural and disabled victims. This includes improving programs to be more culturally relevant to the populations they serve, physically accessible, and in close geographic proximity to the victims of crime.
An example of the recognition of the diversity of victimization includes the legislation, advocacy, and services for the victims of hate/bias crimes, which have been important milestones within the evolution of victim services. The Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1990 and the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act are notable in that they laid out the definition of bias crimes and extended federal law to allow state and local authorities to take advantage of federal investigative resources and personnel in bringing cases based on state law. Yet, it has been the advocacy of local service agencies that has most often assisted victims of crime motivated by bias, which less often comes to the attention of law enforcement. Since the late 1980s, local community organizations have run 24-hour crisis lines and have offered victims referrals to attorneys, counselors, and therapists. These agencies have also served as court advocates for victims who press criminal charges. Prevention and education are also at the forefront of victim services within the hate crime arena. Some of these projects include training residents how to protect themselves from the risk of violence and providing training for local law enforcement on how to respond to hate crime incidents.
- California Attorney General’s Office. (1998). Crime victims’ handbook. Crime andViolence Prevention Center. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://caag.state.ca.us/publications/victimshandbk/pdf/handbook.pdf
- Cohen, M., & Miller, T. (1998). The cost of mental health care for victims of crime. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 13, 93–110.
- Elias, R. (1986). Politics of victimization—Victims, victimology, and human rights. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Elias, R. (1992). Which victim movement? The politics of victim policy. In E. Fattah (Ed.), Towards a critical victimology (pp. 130–152). New York: St. Martin’s Press.
- Hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary on the 2002 Victims’ Rights Amendment, House of Representatives, 107d Cong., 2 (2002).
- Jerin, R. A., Moriary, L. J., & Gibson, M. A. (1995). Victim service or self service: An analysis of prosecution based victim witness assistance programs and providers. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 7(2), 142–154.
- Kempe, C. H., Silverman, F. N., Steele, B. F., Droegemueller, W., & Silver, H. K. (1984). The battered-child syndrome. Journal of the American Medical Association, 251(24), 3288–3294. (Original work published 1962)
- Logan, T. K., Stevenson, E., Evans, L., & Leukefeld, C. (2004). Rural and urban women’s perceptions of barriers to health, mental health, and criminal justice services: Implications for victim services. Violence and Victims, 19(1), 37–62.
- Marion, N. C. (1995). The federal response to crime victims, 1960– 1992. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10(4), 419–436.
- McGagin, K. (2005, February). From the desk of Karen McGagin. Victim Compensation Connection. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://vcgcb.ca.gov/docs/newsletters/2005/02-VCC.pdf
- Miller, T. R., Cohen, M. A., &Wiersema, B. (1996). Victim costs and consequences: a new look (NCJ 155282). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
- Newmark, L. C. (2006). Crime victims’ needs and VOCA-funded services: Findings and recommendations from two national studies (NCJ 214263).Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
- Office of the Press Secretary, the White House. (1996, June 25). Remarks by the president at announcement of Victims’ Rights Constitutional Amendment. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from https://www.ncjrs.gov/ovc_archives/nvaa/supp/c-ch4.htm
- Office for Victims of Crime. (2004). The history of the crime victims’ movement in the United States. A component of the Office for Victims of Crime Oral History Project. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from https://www.ncjrs.gov/ovc_archives/ncvrw/2005/pg4c.html
- Pahl, J. (1985). Private violence and public policy—the needs of battered women and the response of the public services. Boston: Routledge/Kegan Paul.
- Wallace, H. (1998). Victimology: Legal, psychological, and social perspectives. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
- Zweig, J. M., Burt, M. R., & Van Ness, A. (2003). The effects on victims of victim service programs funded by the STOP formula grants program. Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/410645_VictimServicePrograms.pdf