Understanding how survivors respond to criminal victimization, and the impact, cost, and consequences on their lives, is essential for ensuring that there are criminal justice and community resources and services available to meet their needs and aid in their recovery. To build knowledge about victimization experiences and the reach and effectiveness of programs designed to address victim needs, RTI researchers design and conduct large-scale surveys of victims and at risk populations; evaluate the outcomes and fidelity of programs and services; conduct needs assessments related to increasing access to services; carry out environmental scans of best practices; develop tools and technologies to help service providers better assist victims; and provide training and technical assistance to support implementation and capacity building efforts. The results of these efforts are used by stakeholders, practitioners, and policymakers to enhance service programs, justify and demonstrate the need for funding and resources, and shape policies and practices related to identifying victim needs and that they receive support and assistance. 

Project Highlight

Measuring the Impact of COVID-19 on North Carolina’s Victim Service Providers

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way community members are able to interact and has caused temporary and permanent closures of businesses and social institutions. For victim service providers (VSPs) who provide a range of service to victims of crime—from forensic interviews to mental health care and beyond—the need to adapt is critical. This project involves a rapid assessment of VSPs across North Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic to understand the challenges they faced in continuing their service delivery and the strategies they utilized to overcome those challenges to remain available and responsive to clients’ needs. Findings from this project will enhance community and policymaker understanding of the presenting needs of VSPs and provide tangible measures to support the necessary adaptation efforts of these agencies. Further, this study provides a framework for supporting victim service provision during other socially disruptive crises.

Project findings

Project Highlight

Measuring the Impact of Victim Services

To continue to advance the victim services field, victim service providers (VSPs) must move from measuring outputs to outcomes, from anecdote to evidence in demonstrating the impact of their programs on victims’ lives. RTI’s Victim Outcome and Satisfaction Survey and platform for administration is a significant step propelling that advancement. The objective of the project is to develop and validate a trauma-informed, low-burden survey instrument and methodology that victims service providers can use to measure victim perceptions of the quality of services and the extent to which services and referrals effectively addressed their needs. RTI’s open-source, freely available, customizable survey application Tangerine® is being used for survey administration, data collection, and easy back-end data visualization and export.

Project Highlight

Mass Marketing Fraud

Mass marketing scams are some of the most common frauds striking older adults. These scams convince susceptible targets that they have won bogus sweepstakes, merchandise, free vacations, and lotteries, but they first need to pay money to claim their winnings. For older adults who fall victim to these scams the financial, emotional, and physical consequences can be devastating. This project offers a unique opportunity to assist the US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) in preventing the repeated victimization of older adults through mass marketing scams. Project findings will directly inform how the USPIS responds to and notifies victims of mass marketing.