The U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) funded the University of Massachusetts Lowell, School of Criminology and Justice Studies, along with partners from the University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and University of Massachusetts Medical School to develop innovative, multi-disciplinary education models that address victimization issues and responses to crime victims. The project is designed to broaden college and university students’ awareness of crime victims’ issues and knowledge of appropriate responses, to increase the number and diversity of students exposed to and educated in crime victims’ issues and to give victim issues a new level of prominence in university and college curricula.
According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, in 2010 there were an estimated 3.8 million violent victimizations and 14.8 million property victimizations in the United States. Victims and those who are a part of their lives can experience physical, psychological, emotional and financial consequences from these crimes. Communities are also impacted by victimization. For students, experiences with their own, a close friends’ or family members’ victimization or residing in communities with high rates of crime can lead to a host of negative outcomes that may in turn negatively impact academic performance including class completion and achievement of class objectives and goals. Whether we are faculty, employers, employees, students, family members, advocates or friends we will encounter crime victims in our everyday lives and knowing the appropriate response is critical. One of OVC’s aims is to increase the role of educators and educational institutions in addressing the issues that crime victims face.