State Survey Hopes to Improve Services for Victims of Crime

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 | 1:20pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Tennessee agency is looking for information from victims of crime in an effort to better meet their needs. The state has created an online survey that officials hope crime victims will respond to. The website address is: www.TNsurvivorsurvey.org, and the survey will be available until February 1, 2016.  

“People who have been victims of crime have a range of service needs, from emotional or psychological recovery to more tangible needs as well as assistance in navigating the justice system,” Office of Criminal Justice Programs (OCJP) Director Bill Scollon said. “Improving services for crime victims starts with identifying unmet needs so that services can be developed to better meet these types of needs and to make sure people are aware of and have access to them.”

The OCJP, part of the Department of Finance and Administration, created the survey specifically to identify any needs for service expansion and/or outreach to underserved victims. The survey is part of a larger strategic planning process, which has included victim service providers, law enforcement, prosecution, judges, and other community partners.

Once needs and gaps are identified, OCJP can consider how funding could positively impact the response to victims of crime in communities throughout Tennessee. 

“The importance of community-level coordination among agencies who serve victims of crime cannot be overstated,” Scollon said. “While stakeholder input is important, information directly from victims is an integral part of this strategic planning process.”

OCJP functions as a strategic planning agency that secures, distributes, and manages federal and state funds for Tennessee, including Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds and STOP Violence Against Women Program (STOP) funds. OCJP uses a structured process to look three to five years ahead of daily grant management activities at the changing needs of Tennessee’s justice system and the needs of its victims of violent crime. To address crime and victimization in Tennessee, OCJP manages a systematic, year-round cycle for determining the communities’ needs, identifying the justice system’s problems, setting program priorities, making grant allocation decisions, managing those funded projects, and evaluating the results of those decisions.

Finance & Administration