The impact of victim services cannot be understated – from improved health and financial stability to a faster return to normal routines – victim services are essential.
ICYMI on our other page – Victim advocates help in a number of areas. Starting with listening and then helping to access the programs, services and tools that are needed for a safe and healthy recovery. These are the immediate impacts of victim assistance. Looking at the long-term outcomes, we see a number of positive benefits of our work:
- Improved physical and mental health
- Improved financial stability, including housing and food security
- Improved personal safety planning and outcomes
- Shortened timeline before returning to normal routines (work, school, social activities)
- More active participation in the justice system
- More access to programs and services that aid in recovery
And this has a broad impact on our communities and justice system:
- Reduced hospital stays and medical interventions
- Reduced instances of homelessness and poverty among victims
- Reduced rates of repeat victimization
- Education graduation rates consistent with peers
- Active participation in economic activities like working, learning, and shopping
- Improved rates of prosecution, resulting in reduced recidivism
- Improved community outcomes
There is a lot of research available on how people recover and heal from victimization.
A justice department review of victim assistance programs found key outcomes that are reliably present with victim serving organizations:
- Increased access to justice and participation in the justice system
- Linking victims to other services
- Contributing to victims’ safety
- Increased public knowledge and awareness of impact of victimization
An American study of a victim assistance program called STOP and geared toward women found that “women benefit from the services of private nonprofit victim service agencies, and the benefit of these services is enhanced when those agencies work in collaboration with the legal system and other relevant agencies in their community. … Specifically, when community agencies worked together to address domestic violence and sexual assault women found them to be more helpful and effective and were more satisfied with the treatment they received by the legal system and their case outcome. Legal system outcomes of arrests and convictions also happened more frequently when community agencies worked together. In addition, women were more satisfied with the legal system outcomes of their cases.“
As you can see, our work is important and impactful. And let’s not forget cost-effective.