To fill a gap in research on crime victims in the United States, a Center for Victim Research has been launched by three Washington, D.C.-based organizations, the Justice Research and Statistics Association, the National Center for Victims of Crime and the Urban Institute.
Crime victims are one of the relatively under-researched areas in criminal justice, Susan Howley, the project director, told the American Society of Criminology’s annual convention in Atlanta on Thursday.
She observed that some congressional staff members who handle justice issues have grown tired of hearing only anecdotes from and about victims, and increasingly are demanding to know “where are the data?”
The new center’s website includes a growing library of research on victim-related subjects, and the project is encouraging criminologists to do more work in the victim area. As an example of the center’s early work, it distributed a research paper on “homicide co-victimization.”
It declares that about one in ten Americans will lose a loved one to homicide during their lifetime,” and says that there are few services that address the needs of homicide “co-victims,” and even fewer have been evaluated.
The new effort is funded by the Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime.
In recent years, Congress has made much more money available for programs that assist crime victims and their survivors from a fund set up for that purpose in the 1980s that is comprised of criminal fines paid to federal courts. The center is offering a webinar Nov. 27 on its new programs; details are available on its website.