Victims of crime have a great need for information surrounding their offender's case. Court schedules, release and parole dates, and other information can reduce the risk of repeat incidents and help prevent further victimization.
With limited resources, law enforcement and court officials face considerable obstacles to maintaining efficiency and reliability in victim notification. BJA has worked to overcome these obstacles, helping states create or improve automated victim notification systems. To this end, the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) program was created to assist states in building, implementing, and improving victim notification capacity.
From FY 2005-2008, BJA awarded over $33 million in SAVIN grants to eligible states. Through this program support, states work to increase victim safety by developing policies, practices, and technology solutions for the timely and accurate dissemination of information about offenders and their cases. This information-sharing capability is extended to court, corrections, and law enforcement officials, thereby enhancing national information sharing capacity and further working to prevent crime.
Eligible states may use grant funds either to develop notification capacity by creating a statewide victim notification system, or in the case of states with existing notification capacity, to enhance features or availability of the current system.
BJA, in coordination with the Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS) Institute, developed minimum program guidelines and standards to help ensure interoperability between systems across the country. This document, Planning, Implementing and Operating Effective Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) Programs, was published October 2006. Participating states adhere to justice information data sharing standards, specifically the U.S. Department of Justice's Global Justice eXtensible Markup Language (XML) Data Model (GJXDM) and the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), as well as standards for program management, training, reporting, and assessment.
SAVIN helps states obtain effective technology to manage critical information about offenders in near real-time. For states implementing the SAVIN program, victims have unprecedented access to information. They may:
- Register to be notified via telephone, email, Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD), or written letter each time the status of their offender or case changes.
- Access critical case information through a website or toll-free number with support from a live operator 24 hours a day.
- Access information about their offender's arrest, initial incarceration, pretrial release, judicial process, final disposition, post-conviction incarceration, and community supervision. Crime victims live under the threat of further incidents and repeat crime. SAVIN informs victims about the justice processes and affords opportunities to use this vital information to make important decisions.
Pub. L. 110-5, emb. secs. 101-104; Pub. L. No. 109-108, 119 Stat. 2290, 2299; 28 U.S.C. 530C(a)(1).