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Vermont Victims Compensation Program: A Needs Assessment For People With Disabilities, Final Report

NCJ Number
249162
Author(s)
Marcia L. Bellas
Date Published
June 2015
Length
61 pages
Annotation
This report presents the methodology, findings, and recommendations of the Vermont Crime Victims Compensation Program Initiative, which was a needs-assessment study intended to identify ways to increase awareness of the State's crime victims compensation program among the general public and particularly underserved populations, namely, those with various types of disabilities.
Abstract
The findings of focus groups with people having disabilities, a survey of victims compensation applicants, and a survey of victim service providers indicated the need to increase knowledge of the victim compensation program among the general population. Suggestions for targeted outreach included educating service providers about effective outreach methods; using existing service provider networks; and holding educational forums, particularly among service providers who have contact with crime victims, people with disabilities, and seniors. Survey respondents recommended having a program staff member or knowledgeable community service provider available to assist with the victim-compensation application process. Other recommendations are to design a simpler application form and provide multiple ways of accommodating various disabilities in the application process. Most respondents preferred interacting with a trained staff person in applying for victim compensation, rather than relying on the use of new technologies that require computer and software knowledge and proficiency. Implementing these suggestions requires expanding the Victim Compensation Program's infrastructure, both technologically and in staff numbers This report recommends developing outreach materials and strategies as well as training programs for service providers in communities throughout the State. 16 charts and appended responses to selected questions in the focus groups