, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 537-571

Innovative Community Services for Rape Victims: An Application of Multiple Case Study Methodology

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Abstract

A qualitative multiple case study design was used to examine communities across the United States that have developed coordinated community-based programs to assist rape victims. Previous studies have suggested that coordinated community programs help victims obtain needed resources and services. This study provided a follow-up examination of how and why these programs are helpful to rape victims. In-depth interviews were conducted with rape victim advocates, rape crisis center directors, police officers, prosecutors, doctors, nurses, and rape survivors from 22 communities with coordinated programs. A comparison sample of 22 communities with fewer coordinated programs was also obtained. Results indicated that the high coordination communities had three types of programs to address sexual assault: coordinated service programs, interagency training programs, and community-level reform groups. Although not all of these programs directly address service delivery for rape victims, they help create a community culture that is more responsive to victims' needs. The research team and participants developed an explanatory model of why these program are effective in addressing rape victims' needs. This model hypothesizes that coordinated programs reflect an understanding of the multiple contexts of service delivery and embody that knowledge in services that are consistent with victims' needs. Narrative data from the interviews with service providers and rape survivors are used to develop and support this model.