Vision 21 was a collaborative effort among the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), the Vera Institute of Justice, and four other project partners. Our collective goal was to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the crime victims’ field in the United States, with each project partner conducting a critical portion of the analysis.

Vera's Center on Victimization and Safety explores the barriers and issues that continue to challenge the victim services field. The other partners are conducting analyses of the role of the crime victims’ field in efforts to address crime and delinquency in the United States; new trends and issues the field is beginning to address; and how the field can increase its capacity to better serve victims of crime. Through this effort, the partners will create a document, including comprehensive recommendations, that serves as a philosophical and strategic framework for moving the field forward.

Vera staff worked closely with practitioners, policymakers, researchers, victims, survivors, and other experts in victim services. With their critical input, Vera conducted an analysis of the enduring challenges in victims’ services in order to better understand their causes and to identify practical strategies to overcome them in order to advance the field. Examples of these challenges include meeting the needs of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and stalking, as well as meeting the needs of specific populations including adolescent victims, victims with disabilities, older adult victims, and victims in Indian country. Our analysis included conducting a comprehensive literature review, interviewing a variety of representatives from the field, and convening a two-day stakeholder forum.

Why the Project is Needed

We must critically assess these enduring challenges to fully understand their underlying causes and to strategize possible solutions. By reflecting upon the past 15 years of victim services and looking ahead, this analysis will challenge the victim services field and the nation to renew and refocus its efforts in meeting the needs of crime victims and survivors. Not until all victims and survivors have access to adequate and appropriate services and are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect will the ideals of this movement be realized. 

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