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Message From the Director

Message From the Director

In times of economic difficulty and growing demand for accountability, funders often require grantee organizations to verify or strengthen the impact of their products or services on participants. Likewise, communities are increasingly eager to support appropriate programs that meet the needs of and reflect the uniqueness of their constituencies. Too often, victim service providers rely on their own instincts and passions to conclude what victims need and whether their products or services are meeting those needs. Over time, these organizations find themselves guessing about what would be a good product or service and practicing trial and error to determine how new products or services are delivered. Further, organizations often have difficulty adapting to environmental changes and tracking shifting trends while maintaining fiscal and programmatic efficiency. Program evaluation and needs assessment can help to ensure that victim service organizations and allied professionals are able to continuously improve the quality of their programs and services.

The Office of Justice Programs has launched an initiative to improve the integration of evidence into programmatic decisionmaking and service delivery across a wide range of criminal and juvenile justice areas. The initiative emphasizes the importance of generating high-quality evidence, integrating evidence into program and policy decisionmaking, and translating evidence into practice. Performance measurement, program evaluation, and needs assessment are all important aspects of this effort to better integrate evidence into victim services.

To further this effort in the victims’ field, the Office for Victims of Crime developed the Technical Assistance Guides for Victim Service Providers and Allied Professionals to help victim-serving organizations participate in and realize the benefits of needs assessment and program evaluation. The four guides in this series, Guide to Performance Measurement and Program Evaluation, Guide to Conducting a Needs Assessment, Guide to Hiring a Local Evaluator, and Guide to Protecting Human Subjects, are designed for victim-serving organizations of all sorts. We hope these guides will help you to improve your program’s performance and, ultimately, foster victim recovery.

Joye E. Frost
Acting Director
Office for Victims of Crime