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Notifying and Informing Victims of Crime: An Evaluation of North Carolina's SAVAN System, Executive Summary and Full Report

NCJ Number
Caroline Larsen; Douglas L. Yearwood
Date Published
February 2004
106 pages
Results are presented on a process and impact evaluation of the North Carolina Statewide Automated Victim Assistance and Notification (SAVAN), a computer network created to provide knowledge of offender movement to victims of crime.
The research findings clearly demonstrate a less than adequate awareness of the SAVAN system among both members of the criminal justice community and the general public. While 93 percent of the criminal justice practitioners noted some awareness of SAVAN within their respective communities, only 34 percent described this 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. In addition, survey respondents documented the strong utility of SAVAN and the research demonstrates its cost effectiveness when compared to establishing and maintaining notification programs at the local level. However, despite the reported benefits of SAVAN, and its strong utility for assisting crime victims, over half of the respondents noted the existence of technical problems in the system and in the mechanics of notifying victims about SAVAN and how to use it to its maximum potential. Recommendations in follow-up to each finding are presented. The SAVAN 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. This report presents the findings of a process and impact evaluation of the SAVAN system. The SAVAN evaluation was conducted to receive information on network activity and usage and to gather information concerning the process of establishing and maintaining the system, as well as document the extent of its impact upon victims of crime, law enforcement and jail operations, and prosecutors' offices. Figures