Since researchers and communities lack quantitative measures of legal needs and barriers faced by victims of family violence and other crimes and such measures could inform coordinated responses helpful for ameliorating the effects of violence and preventing revictimization, to address this gap, this article describes the development of a measure of legal service needs and barriers that can be used by researchers and community-based agencies.
In this two-phase study with convenience samples of service provider and crime victim participants, Phase 1a involved interviews with providers working with diverse crime victim populations (i.e., survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse/neglect, human trafficking, and elder abuse). Phase 1b involved focus groups with crime victims and/or those who know crime victims well (e.g., friends or family). Phase 1 informed the development of a measure of legal service needs and barriers, which was tested in Phase 2 with more than 200 crime victims and victim service providers. Qualitative data from Phase 1 identified providers’ and survivors’ descriptions of legal service needs and barriers. Phase 2 survey data provided information about measure structure (i.e., eight needs and four barriers categories) and allowed for comparisons of crime victim and service provider perspectives. This study addresses a gap in assessment measures for identifying and responding to legal needs and barriers faced by victims of family violence and other crime. Using the measure developed here, agencies and researchers may improve their capacity to mobilize coordinated responses that effectively respond to the variety of victims’ needs. (Publisher abstract provided)