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Use of Victim Service Agencies by Victims of Serious Violent Crime, 1993-2009

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
THURSDAY, AUGUST 4, 2011             Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-0556


WASHINGTON – From 1993 to 2009, about nine percent of victims of serious violent crime―rape or other sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault―received direct assistance from a victim service agency, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today.

Victim service agencies are publicly or privately funded organizations that provide victims with support and services to aid their physical and emotional recovery, offer protection from future victimizations, guide victims through the criminal justice system, and assist in the process of obtaining restitution.

While the rate of serious violent crime in the United States declined overall from 22 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 1993 to 6 per 1,000 in 2009, the percentage of victims receiving assistance from victim service agencies remained relatively stable.

From 2000 to 2009, an annual average of 193,000 persons age 12 or older were victims of serious violent crime. A greater percentage of these a victims received direct assistance from a victim service agency when the crime was reported to the police (14 percent), compared to when the victimization was not reported (four percent). This may suggest that the police refer serious violent crime victims to victim service agencies, or that a greater percentage of victims decide to contact the police after receiving assistance. 

A greater percentage of victims who received help or advice from a victim service agency experienced some type of follow-up action from the criminal justice system. These victims were more likely to see an arrest made in the case or have contact with a non-law enforcement criminal justice official, such as a judge or prosecutor, compared to victims who did not receive assistance.

From 2000 to 2009, a greater percentage of female (15 percent) than male (six percent) victims of serious violent crime received assistance from a victim services agency. Victims age 35 or older (12 percent) were more likely to receive assistance than younger victims age 18 to 24 (nine percent).  Victims living in rural areas (12 percent) were also slightly more likely to receive assistance than those living in urban areas (nine percent).

Victims of serious violent crimes perpetrated by an intimate partner (23 percent), compared to those in which the offender was not an intimate partner (eight percent), were more likely to receive assistance from a victim service agency. Similarly, victims of crimes that resulted in an injury (15 percent) were more likely than victims who were not injured (seven percent) to receive assistance.

A greater percentage of rape or other sexual assault victims (21 percent) than victims of other types of crime received assistance from a victim service agency. Nine percent of aggravated assault victims, eight percent of robbery victims, seven percent of simple assault victims, and two percent of household property crime victims received assistance.

The report, Use of Victim Service Agencies by Victims of Serious Violent Crime, 1993-2009 (NCJ 234212), was written by BJS statistician Lynn Langton. Following publication, the report can be found at http://www.bjs.gov.

For additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical reports and programs, please visit the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/.

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.



Date Published: August 4, 2011