The Initiative

The goal of the Vision 21 initiative is to permanently alter the treatment of crime victims in America.

To that end, five organizations collectively examined the current framework of the victim assistance field in the United States. Four of the organizations conducted thorough literature reviews and convened 2-day forums of 25–40 stakeholders including crime victims and representatives from federal, national, state, local, and tribal organizations and agencies that interact with, serve, or have an impact on victims of crime.

Stakeholder Forums
The Role of the Crime Victims Field in the U.S. Response to Crime and Delinquency (Participant List)
  • January 19–20, 2011, Portland, Oregon
Emerging Challenges in the Crime Victims Field (Participant List)
  • February 8–9, 2011, Jacksonville, Florida
Enduring Challenges in the Crime Victims Field (Participant List)
  • February 23–24, 2011, Nashville, Tennessee
Building Capacity in the Crime Victims Field (Participant List)
  • March 8–9, 2011, Washington, D.C.
Project Synthesis (Participant List)
  • September 14–15, 2011, Charleston, South Carolina
Each literature review and forum focused on one of these four topic areas:
  1. The role of the crime victims field
  2. Building capacity
  3. Enduring challenges
  4. Emerging challenges

Each of the four organizations compiled the data collected from the literature reviews, forums, and through other means (e.g., interviews, surveys, online feedback). A fifth contributing project synthesized the information into a document that was reviewed and discussed at the final stakeholder forum, held in September 2011 in Charleston, South Carolina. The culmination of the Vision 21 initiative is a final report that integrates all the information gathered into a summary of findings and presents a cohesive and comprehensive set of recommendations that support strategic change in the victim assistance field.

Issue Areas
1. The role of the crime victims field in the overall response to crime and delinquency in the United States. This project focused on current crime victimization, underserved and unserved communities, enhancing partnerships, and improving integration of crime victims’ rights. National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI)Project Organization:
National Crime Victim Law Institute
2. Building capacity in the crime victims field to better serve victims of crime. This project focused on the ability of networks to meet current and future crime victim needs, availability of funding, organizational flexibility, diversity in staffing and leadership, and stronger collaborations to further crime victims’ rights and services. The National Center for Victims of CrimeProject Organization:
National Center for Victims of Crime
3. Enduring challenges in the crime victims field that still are being addressed. This project focused on barriers and issues that continue to challenge the victim services field, including:
  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Elder abuse
  • Victimization in Indian Country
  • Victimization of young African American males
  • Victimization of individuals with disabilities
VERA Institute of JusticeProject Organization:
Vera Institute of Justice, Center on Victimization and Safety
4. Emerging challenges the crime victims field has yet to address. This project focused on innovative responses to new issues and challenges, including:
  • The changing demographics in the United States.
  • Advances in technology that have led to an increase in cybercrime.
  • A rise in environmental crimes.
  • Direct services for human trafficking victims.
  • The growing impact of social media.
  • Fully serving youth victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
OVC TTACProject Organization:
Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center
5. This project analyzed the information from the four issue-specific projects and synthesized the data into a comprehensive assessment. Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)Project Organization:
National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South Carolina

The organizations contributing to the Vision 21 initiative were awarded funding from the OVC HOPE III Solicitation (PDF 180 kb), which remains available online for viewing or download.