All the work required for collection and analysis of performance management and outcome data will not be worth the effort if it is not used to help improve the system’s response to sexual violence. The findings from the data collection, analysis, and reporting can be used to:
- Help develop, and subsequently justify, budget and staffing recommendations.
- Identify overall progress and trends based on changes in outcome data over time.
- Identify problem areas that need attention and corrective action.
- Identify victim subgroups with significant differences in outcomes, such as groups with selected characteristics (g., age, race/ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, local resident/tourist).
- Assess outcomes that follow from changes in sexual violence case processing policies and practices.
- Identify characteristics of cases for which victims do not report incidents to law enforcement or do not participate in the investigation — indicating a need for new practices or changes to existing practices.
- Identify patterns among cases to determine: (a) which types of cases law enforcement did not refer for prosecution; and (b) which types of cases prosecutors declined to prosecute —thereby permitting an examination of why such cases were not referred or were declined so that any obstacles can be alleviated.
- Encourage partnerships and increased cooperation and coordination among law enforcement, advocates, medical forensic examiners, and prosecutors by providing linkages for sharing data (while protecting victim confidentiality) and holding regular “How Are We Doing” meetings.
- Identify staff training and technical assistance needs.
- Motivate personnel to continuously improve their response to sexual violence.
- Encourage innovation.
- Adjust staff work allocations by identifying the types of cases that appear to need the most effort and resources; forecast workload based on case complexity levels and frequencies of sexual violence crimes g., to support training and resource requests.
All partners responding to sexual violence cases – not just prosecutors’ offices – would be able to use the data in these ways to inform their work and improve practices.