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Notifying and Informing Victims of Crime: An Evaluation of North Carolina's SAVAN System

NCJ Number
Carolyn Larson; Douglas L. Yearwood
Date Published
February 2004
10 pages
This report presents findings from a process and impact evaluation of North Carolina's Statewide Automated Victim Assistance and Notification system created to inform of offender movement to victims of crime.
The Statewide Automated Victim Assistance and Notification (SAVAN) system is a product of the Appriss Company located in Kentucky and allows for information to be received about any offender behind bars in the majority of the State's county jails or all Department of Correction facilities located in North Carolina. It is operational in 98 of the State's 100 counties and has been assisting victims of crime for 4 years. Victims can call the network for offender information or register for immediate notification when an offender moves. To evaluate the process and impact of the SAVAN system a 22-question survey was developed and administered. There were 9 process questions and 13 questions related to the perceived impact of SAVAN. The findings clearly demonstrated a less than adequate awareness of the SAVAN system among both members of the criminal justice community and the general public. Only 34 percent of the surveyed criminal justice practitioners described the awareness as being solid or strong. Among the registered SAVAN users over 80 percent were not aware of this notification system prior to becoming involved in the criminal justice system. Three recommendations are presented and include: (1) implement a more aggressive public relations campaign to increase SAVAN's visibility; (2) draft and introduce legislation which would in effect provide sustained funding for the statewide SAVAN system; and (3) conduct an in-depth study to further identify and explore technical problems within the system, as well as the mechanical aspects of better informing SAVAN users on the system and its operations.