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Research in Brief: Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services

NCJ Number
Police Chief Dated: December 2013
John R. Firman
Date Published
December 2013
3 pages
This article reviews the background and recommendations of the "Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report," which contains recommendations for the criminal justice system's victim services, based on the deliberations of a broad spectrum of stakeholders.
Participants in the deliberations included representatives of law enforcement, victim services providers, victim advocates, criminal justice professionals, allied practitioners, and policymakers. The Vision 21 discussions and research focused on four topics: 1) defining the role of the crime victims field in the overall response to crime and delinquency in the United States; 2) building the field's capacity to better serve victims; 3) addressing enduring issues in the field; and 4) identifying emerging issues in the field. The Vision 21 final report addresses the major challenges for the victim assistance field in integrating research into victim services; facilitating victims' access to legal assistance; incorporating technological advances; increasing globalization;, and changing demographics. There are also infrastructure issues that must be addressed to increase the capacity of the criminal justice system to serve victims. Regarding the law enforcement role in victim services, Vision 21 highlights the importance of having more law enforcement agencies report crime to the FBI's National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which contains information on the location where a crime occurs, time of day of the offense, clearance rates of forcible sex offenses, and information on the use of weapons in violent crime. This reporting provides critical data for understanding and addressing issues of crime and victimization. More data leads to more research, which in turn facilitates the development of more effective tools for law enforcement agencies in serving crime victims.