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Rural Victim Assistance: A Victim/Witness Handbook for Rural Prosecutors

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2006
26 pages
This guide was developed to assist prosecutors, victim advocates, and policymakers understand the nature of victim/witness assistance in rural communities.
An overview of the main challenges of victim-witness assistance in rural communities is presented, as are tips and strategies for overcoming them. Main challenges include geographic isolation, lack of community resources, and lack of internal resources. Strategies for overcoming these challenges include building cooperative relationships to help with transportation and purchasing discount gas cards for victims traveling long distances. Other strategies are to build community resources by involving the faith community and to build internal resources by utilizing volunteers and interns. The importance of advocacy training, education, and professionalism are discussed, as are the common characteristics and needs of specific populations, such as migrant workers, male victims of sexual assault, and minority women. Promising practices in rural prosecutors' offices for meeting the needs of crime victims are presented, such as the volunteer victim advocate program in Arizona and the collegiate advocates program in Michigan, both of which have overcome a lack of resources by utilizing volunteer or college student efforts. The report points out that community partnerships are the key to successfully meeting the needs of victims and witnesses in rural communities. Also included in the report is a discussion of the disparities between rural and urban jurisdictions and a description of a week in the life of the rural victim advocate. Figures, references, appendixes

Date Published: April 1, 2006