Currently, there is an expansive body of victimization literature within the criminal justice field, which covers a number of essential topics such as victimization trends and patterns, short-and long-term effects of victimization, as well as specific effects of intimate partner violence and sexual assault victimization. Despite the variety of topics examined by empirical research, there is a noticeable lack of discourse pertaining to civil legal services for crime victims. This study is among the first to take a close look at civil legal services for victims by exploring three uncharted areas including: (a) service providers’ knowledge of civil legal services, (b) the legal needs of crime victims and available services, and (c) barriers between victims and accessing civil legal services. Using quantitative and qualitative data from interviews with service providers, policy implications and future research recommendations are discussed.
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Nine of the 47 original respondents did not qualify as direct service providers and were subsequently excluded from the analyses. These included state and local advocacy organizations. These agencies were included in the broader project to assess policy considerations in meeting the legal service needs of crime victims. For the purposes of this study, we were specifically interested in the views of those who interact with victims on a daily basis and have experience assessing their needs and barriers.
Quotes used throughout the results section reflect comments provided by respondents during the interview.
This service would be provided if/when victims needed to be in contact with the defense attorney representing the perpetrator in their case.
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This project was conducted with funds from Grant 20120VF-GX-K019 provided by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U. S. Department of Justice.
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Bouffard, L.A., Nobles, M.R., Goodson, A. et al. Service Providers’ Knowledge and Perceptions of the Legal Service Needs of Crime Victims. Am J Crim Just 42, 589–609 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12103-016-9374-2