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Large scale, statewide coalitions or stakeholder groups should plan for and execute a gap analysis across systems to understand fully how each system identifies, refers, and/or delivers services to victims of crime and violence. In addition, a gap analysis should determine how systems are already communicating, where there are gaps in communication, and how and when information is shared between different agencies (including which agencies share information and which agencies don’t). This goes beyond statistical aggregation of interventions and outcomes. These tasks include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Service provider survey development
  • Mapping current screening, referral, and assessment processes
  • Identifying current treatment service models
  • Understanding geographic disparities
  • Ascertaining barriers and access to treatment
  • Isolating service gaps for Medicaid enrollees

A Gap analysis maps current protocols and procedures that agencies and services providers are following and then identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and barriers across systems and can be used to improve information sharing and service delivery for young victims and families. This step in the process is critically important to  implement successfully enhanced or expanded services, policies, protocols, and procedures. Below are two systematic information gathering techniques that can assist with fully understanding a statewide system of service delivery from both the direct service and users’ perspective.

Resources for Conducting a Gap Analysis

Each state’s collection of resources and systems is specific and unique. Therefore a gap analysis must be created that specific to the community and project. But, there are a number of places to turn for help in conducting a gap analysis.

NCJFCJ – contact NCJFCJ to discuss the types of technical assistance available to assist with gap analysis.

Local University – local universities can often provide research support free of charge. When contacting your local university consider the school of social work or criminal justice as possible partners in the development of a gap analysis.

Victims of Crime Act Administrators (VOCA) – contact the VOCA administrative office to determine if there is VOCA funding to support a gap analysis. VOCA offices are also great resources to determine what work has already been completed in this area.

Examples of Gap Analyses

Direct Service Provider Survey

The Illinois demonstration site developed and conducted a statewide service provider-informed online survey to to gain an understanding of the services and processes of agencies and programs that serve children, youth, and their families and provide insight into the service landscape in Illinois and subsequently inform the Illinois HEALS initiative. This survey, in combination with other activities, provided a wealth of information and allowed the demonstration site to garner several themes across multiple systems. These themes were then used to narrow the scope of the implementation phase and further design pilot site activities. Illinois used an online service to administer the survey. Below are two good options to choose from:

  • Qualtrics – This online service has a section on the website dedicated to using the service in the public sector: Qualtrics For Public Sector
  • Survey Monkey – This online service has several pages related to creating an effective survey: 10 tips to improve your online surveys

The Illinois HEALS team designed a snowball, non-probability survey to reach the widest service provider audience as possible. This type of survey can be helpful in attempting to understand complex systems that have complex policies and procedures. Click here for a copy of the service provider survey created by the Illinois research team.

Victim Interviews

The Illinois demonstration site developed an interview protocol to interview victims across several age groups and systems. This data is used to create a richer understanding of victim needs and the barriers to accessing services. It documents the lived experience of victims and/or their families who must navigate various systems of care.. Using the interview protocol results helps the Illinois HEALS team in considering the unique needs, gaps in services, and barriers that exist throughout Illinois so that strategies for responding to victimization can be adapted to meet the unique victim needs and service provision challenges of Illinois’ diverse communities. Click here to review a copy of the interview protocol and interview questions.

Examples from Demonstration Sites