Topics: Crime and Victimization

Partnering with Community Sexual Assault Response Teams: A Guide for Local Community Confinement and Juvenile Detention Facilities
Community-based sexual assault response teams, or SARTs, are considered a best practice for addressing the needs of victims and holding perpetrators accountable. The federal standards for implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) mandate the coordinated response provided by SARTs to...
Beyond Innocence: Toward a Framework for Serving All Survivors of Crime
Our media, our culture, and even some of our statutes continually reinforce the idea that in order to be deserving of care, a victim of crime has to be “innocent.” However, this idea excludes a wide range of people from services and limits the options and resources available to those who survive...
Making PREA and Victim Services Accessible for Incarcerated People with Disabilities: An Implementation Guide for Practitioners on the Adult and Juvenile Standards
The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) established a federal commission to draft national standards that address sexual abuse in confinement settings. PREA also required the U.S. Attorney General to promulgate regulations based on the standards that apply to all federal, state, and local...
Keeping Vulnerable Populations Safe under PREA: Alternative Strategies to the Use of Segregation in Prisons and Jails
Incarcerated people at risk for sexual victimization need to be housed safely without losing access to programming, mental and medical health services, and group activities. The National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape emphasize that isolation be used to protect at-risk...


Accessing Safety Initiative

Vera’s Accessing Safety Initiative (ASI) helps its partner jurisdictions—states and cities—enhance the capacity of their social services and criminal justice systems to assist women with disabilities & Deaf women who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Common Justice

Common Justice develops and advances solutions to violent crime that transform the lives of victims and foster racial equity without relying on incarceration. Locally, we operate the first alternative-to-incarceration and victim service program in the United States that focuses on violent felonies in the adult courts. Nationally, we leverage the lessons from our direct service to transform the justice system through partnerships, advocacy, and elevating the experience and power of those most impacted. Rigorous and hopeful, we build practical strategies to hold people accountable for harm, break cycles of violence, and secure safety, healing and justice for survivors and their communities.

Cultivating Evaluation Capacity: A Guide for Programs Addressing Sexual and Domestic Violence

Flower bud imageIn recent years, public and private funders have developed a keen sense of the importance of measuring the value of the programs they support. At the same time, many social service providers have started to recognize the benefit of evaluating their programs. Among grantors and grant recipients alike, economic belt-tightening and the resulting need to optimize spending allocations have fostered an appreciation for evaluation.

Evaluating LGBTQ Victims’ Access to Mainstream Victim Services

Vera's Center on Victimization and Safety (CVS) is evaluating an initiative that seeks to increase the capacity of mainstream victim service providers to effectively serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) victims of crime. The initiative, which is coordinated by the New York Anti-Violence Project on behalf of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects, is being implemented in one domestic violence center and two rape crisis centers in different parts of the United States. The findings will be shared with victim service providers nationwide to help them improve services for LGBTQ survivors.

Evaluating Organizational Capacity to Serve Survivors with Disabilities: Moving Toward Accessible and Responsive Services

Vera’s Center on Victimization and Safety is developing performance indicators for disability and domestic violence organizations, as well as rape crisis centers, to measure progress towards improving services for people with disabilities and Deaf individuals who have experienced domestic or sexual violence.

Examining Criminal Justice Responses to and Help-Seeking Patterns of Sexual Violence Survivors with Disabilities

Sexual assault against people with disabilities is a critical and neglected issue. Although empirical evidence is extremely limited, several studies based on population or convenience samples of sexual assault among people with disabilities report lifetime rates as high as 53 percent. However, few studies have examined criminal justice responses to and help-seeking patterns of diverse sexual assault survivors with disabilities (for example, gender, age, race and ethnicity, and disability type) using rigorous research methods and methods designed for this population. To address this gap, Vera’s Center on Victimization and Safety will conduct a National Institute of Justice-funded study in partnership with a large district attorney’s office and a community-based, non-residential program providing services to people with disabilities, with support from a local rape crisis center.

Impact Evaluation of the Adolescent Behavioral Learning Experience Program at Rikers Island

In 2012, the City of New York launched the nation’s first social impact bond—an innovative form of pay-for-success contracting that leverages private funding to finance public services—to fund the Adolescent Behavioral Learning Experience (ABLE) program, a large-scale initiative serving 16- to 18- year old youth detained in New York City’s Rikers Island jail.

Incarceration's Front Door: Reducing the Overuse of Jails

Local jails exist in nearly every town and city in America. While rarely on the radar of most Americans, they are the front door to the formal criminal justice system in a country that holds more people in custody than any other on the planet. Their impact is both far-reaching and profound: in the course of a typical year, there are nearly 12 million jail admissions—almost 20 times the number of annual admissions to state and federal prisons—at great cost to the people involved, their families and communities, and society at large. Through research, publications, and technical assistance to local jurisdictions, Vera aims to foster public debate and policy reform to reduce jail incarceration, repair the damage it causes, and promote safe, healthy communities.

National Qualified Representative Program

The National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP) provides legal representation for unrepresented immigrants who are detained in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and have been found by an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to be incompetent to represent themselves because of a serious mental disorder.

Sexual Assault Response Teams in Corrections Project

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) worked with the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) on a multi-year pilot project to help the adult residential and juvenile detention facilities of the Johnson County Department of Corrections (DOC) in Kansas partner with their county sexual assault response team (SART). Vera documented detailed steps for creating such partnerships, along with lessons learned from this project, in Partnering with Community Sexual Assault Response Teams: A Guide for Local Community Confinement and Juvenile Detention Facilities and its accompanying interactive web-based tool,, released in December 2015.

Supervised Visitation Initiative

The Supervised Visitation Initiative (SVI) works with supervised visitation programs funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to enhance their capacity to effectively and safely serve families who have experienced domestic violence. The initiative provides these programs with training, tailored consultation, and access to information on best practices from programs across the country.

Understanding and Preventing Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities

In March of 2012, Vera’s Center on Victimization and Safety partnered with the Ms. Foundation for Women to ensure that existing efforts to address sexual abuse of children are inclusive of children with disabilities. They also sought to increase the number and breadth of efforts that are specifically addressing sexual abuse of children with disabilities.

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In the early hours of Sunday morning, a gunman murdered 49 people and injured another 53 at a shooting during Latin Night at Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine individuals, overwhelmingly people of color, whose lives were cut...
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It’s raining today in the District of Columbia. It’s the kind of light, misty rain that persistently dusts coats and umbrellas. It’s the kind of rain that brings with it a slight chill, but pleasant freshness into the air. For most of us, the rain...
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A new study—co-authored by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control—confirms what past research and anecdotal evidence in the field of abuse of people with...
Sandra Harrell
Project Director, Accessing Safety Initiative, Center on Victimization and Safety
Charity Hope
Deputy Center Director, Center on Victimization and Safety
Danielle Sered
Director, Common Justice
Susan Shah
Chief of Staff
Nancy Smith
Director, Center on Victimization and Safety
Nicholas Turner
President and Director
Laura Simich
Research Director, Center on Immigration and Justice

About this Topic

Vera helps communities and government officials strive to reduce crime by focusing on discrete problems and crafting innovative responses that prevent crime, hold offenders accountable, and help survivors heal.