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Victims of Gang Violence: A New Frontier in Victim Services; A Report, Recommendations, and Action Plan of the Victims of Gang Violence Planning Group

NCJ Number
Date Published
60 pages
This report of the Victims of Gang Violence Planning Group presents a plan of needed services and mechanisms for implementing comprehensive new programs to assist gang violence victims.
The Planning Group was convened by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Victims of Crime. It is composed of diverse professionals, victims, and volunteers who respond daily to the aftermath of gang activity around the Nation. The Planning Group identified a number of unique aspects of gang violence victimization. Gang violence victims often live among the perpetrators of their victimization, so they experience a complex reaction to their victimization; further, victims and witnesses fear the entire gang, not just the perpetrator. Victims and witnesses are often intimidated into not cooperating with the criminal justice system. In some cases, victims of gang violence are confronted with a lack of sympathy and services from the criminal justice system because of inferences that they have contributed to the crime in some way. Most communities do not provide any funding, such as relocation assistance, to help ensure the safety of gang violence victims and do not have effective victim assistance programs for them. Descriptions of promising victim assistance programs for victims of gang violence include a comprehensive victim assistance program, a hospital- based intervention and prevention program, a school-based violence prevention and victim assistance program, community anti-violence programs sponsored by victims of gang violence, and a public-private partnership to reduce gang violence. Among the 10 Planning Group recommendations are the establishment of a national network of professionals and volunteers concerned with victims and witnesses of gang violence to provide vision, support, and direction to Federal, State, tribal, and local initiatives. Appended list of Planning Group participants; Planning Group methodology; overview of a comprehensive community approach to gang prevention, intervention, and suppression; and points of contact for promising practices