About This Series
Publication Date: January 2010
minus iconStep 3: Collect New Data
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About This GuideResources

Step 1. Formulate Needs Assessment Questions

One of the first tasks of conducting a needs assessment is to identify what you want to learn about your community. What questions do you need answered to help you develop the best program for victims in your area?

Here are some questions to consider:

  • What victim services are being provided within your community? How accessible are these services (e.g., hours, location, language capacity)?
  • How familiar are the key partners and community members with the issue you are trying to address?
  • Have providers in your area been trained on the issue? What are some additional training needs?
  • What outreach efforts are made to educate the public about the issue and the services you provide?
  • Who in your area is best suited to identify potential victims?
  • Which organizations are currently working with the victims you are trying to help?
  • What types of victims have these organizations seen? Are the victims from other countries? What languages do they speak?
  • What services do the victims need? Are you able to meet these needs? What additional support do providers need?
  • Do you have collaborations in place for working with victims? Are you able to pool your resources?
  • Are there any obstacles to accomplishing your mission? What are they? How can they be resolved?

These are just examples of some of the questions you may want answered about your community. The key partners of your initiative will play an important role in framing the issues to be addressed in the needs assessment. Clearly, understanding and articulating what it is you want to learn will help keep the needs assessment focused and purposeful.