S. A. F. E. N. E. T. is a victim assistance program being coordinated by the Buncombe County Sheriff's Department. It stands "Sheriff's Assistance for Empowerment Through Networking, Education and Training".
A Victim's Assistance Program addresses the emotional, physical and financial impact of crime. It provides services and support to aid the victim in recovering some sense of normalcy after the crisis. It does not perform the role of the investigator. Rather if focuses on the emotional needs of the victim. A Victim Liaison Officer plays a key role in a victim's assistance program. This officer is the main point of contact with the victim in addition to the investigating officer. The role of the Victim Liaison Officer consists of the following:
- Assisting with referrals to services/resources.
- Evaluating the effectiveness of the services/resources in the community.
- Performing a follow-up meetings or telephone calls for evaluation of services or questions from the crime victim.
- Notification on status of case.
- My senior project involved developing an application for project S.A.F.E.N.E.T. which would assist a Victim Liaison Officer in the collection of information regarding a crime victim. I developed this application using Visual Basic 6.0 and Microsoft Access 2000 as the backend database.
The major needs of my client consisted of an application which could enabled her to collect information regarding the victim and the crime. This would include case information and notification and a description of the crime. She would also need to keep track of additional contacts for the victim in the case of expiration or relocation. Also, she would need a mechanism for listing the services and resources which are available in our community and recommending those agencies to the victim based on the type of crime the victim was involved in. Finally, she needed a mechanism for recording the results of follow-up communications with the victim.
The development of this application went very well except for one thing: I tended to give my client too much data collection capability. There were many times when I would create forms for her to enter data regarding service information and victim information and she would tell me she did not need it. In addition, many of the reports she initially requested were not needed toward the completion of the application.
Another challenge to this project involved the design of the interface. My client was not familiar with using a windows driven application and my goal was to create an interface where she could easily enter and find the information she needed. I soon found out that this is not as easy as it sounds.
Advisor: Dr. Wayne Lang