This brief – the first of seven toolkit resources resulting from the Urban Institute’s formative evaluation of the VictimConnect Resource Center – describes the foundational theory and literature relevant to VictimConnect’s operations and explains why and how the field of victim services could benefit from a nationwide, technology-based resource center that supports all types of crime victims.
VictimConnect is a national helpline designed to increase access to and delivery of high-quality information about services to crime victims. Given the variety of Americans’ victimization experiences and the diversity of crime victims’ needs, VictimConnect has the potential to fill a gap in hotline services because of its focus on multiple types of victimization. By providing services through multiple channels (phone and online communication), VictimConnect enables visitors to connect with its resources through whatever channel is most comfortable for them. Victim Assistance Specialists (VASs) help victims, their families, and providers who contact the resource center. VASs use a multistage response that ensures visitors’ safety, focuses on collaborative problemsolving, and empowers victims with information and options for responding to their needs. Services are trauma-informed, victim-centered, and strengths-based to reduce re-traumatization and facilitate each victim’s recovery in the way that is most meaningful and supportive for the victim. Major sections of this brief discuss the need for VictimConnect and its core theoretical perspectives and approaches that inform its operations. 48 references