Research and Special Projects

The Professionalization of Victim Assistance

Victim Services Needs Assessment:
A Study of Victim Services in the Community
by Dan Petersen and Thomas Underwood
Copyright 2000 Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies All rights rserved.  No part of this report may be reproduced or utilized in any form or means without written permission of the copyright owner.
This research was funded by Washburn University, the Shawnee County Medical Society, the Shawnee County Medical Society Alliance and Target


Victims of crime are served by a variety of organizations in the systems of social and human services, criminal justice, and health care. Unfortunately, due to the nature of these various organizational missions and systems emphasis, service may be disjointed or redundant. Victims may experience secondary victimization by the very organizations intended to serve them, thus impeding their recovery and continuing the negative impact of the crime trauma on the individual and the community. Service providers from the Topeka, Kansas community identified the potential for a comprehensive victim service center for the purpose of better coordination of services in order to reduce inter-agency competition and conflict, reduce duplication of services, and to better utilize existing services, personnel, and funding. In light of this goal, it was determined important to collect information regarding perceived needs, assessment of the current services form both provider and consumer perspectives, and a determination of actual victimization rates.The Center on Violence and Victim Studies and Victim Studies at Washburn University researched victim services in the community through a combination of approaches. These approaches include the study of practitioner perspectives, crime victim perspectives, and an assessment of services per various organizational categories.

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