This project was a process and outcome evaluation of the
Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Enforcement Grant Program, which was a discretionary program administered by the Office of Justice Programs, Violence Against Women Office and designed to implement
certain provisions of the Violence Against Women Act, Title IV of the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The Rural Program was developed to enhance the safety of abused women and children living in rural areas. It provided funding to states, local and tribal governments, and private or public entities in rural states to create or improve collaborations among criminal justice agencies, service providers, and community organizations to
enhance services and the response to women and children who were victims of domestic violence. The program reflected the Department of Justice's commitment to improve the criminal justice system's response to battered women
and sexually and physically abused children living in isolated rural communities and to enhance the response of rural communities to these victims.
The process evaluation (Parts 1-8) assessed the implementation of grant activities for the 89 grantees funded in fiscal years 1996 to 1998. The process evaluation was designed to answer the following research questions: (1) Who were the rural grantees? (2) What was the community context of grant
activity? (3) What populations did the grantees serve? (4) What types of priority areas and objectives did the grantees pursue? (5) What was the nature of grant activity? (6) What progress did the grantees report in their progress
reports? (7) What was the nature of the grantees' valuation activity? and (8) What were the grantees' overall impressions?
The purpose of the outcome evaluation (Parts 9-35) was to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the Rural Program by identifying and assessing measurable outcomes. These outcomes were derived from grant activities at multiple levels of a nested ecology defined by: (1) social
and cultural norms, (2) institutional policies and practices, (3) linkages between systems, (4) social networks, and (5) individuals. Using this model
as a framework, the following questions were addressed: (1) What were the desirable outcomes associated with the Rural Program? (2) What obstacles did the grantees encounter to achieving desirable outcomes? (3) What rival hypotheses served as alternative explanations for the outcomes achieved by the Rural grantees? and (4) What were the lessons learned from the Rural program?
The National Rural Evaluation consisted of two phases: a process evaluation and an outcome evaluation. The process evaluation was conducted prior to the outcome evaluation to describe the 89 grantees funded in fiscal years 1996 to 1998 and the context and nature of grant activity. The outcome evaluation conducted an in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis of the Rural Program by identifying and assessing outcomes for nine grantees.
The process evaluation assessed the implementation of grant activities for the 89 grantees funded in fiscal years 1996 to 1998. The process evaluation included review of
grant documentation, phone interviews with all 89 grantees, interviews with Violence Against Women Office (VAWO) grant managers, and site visits to 16 grantee programs. The grantees were selected for process evaluation site visits from information obtained during the phone interviews and
interviews with VAWO grant managers. The purpose of the site visits was to further assess program implementation, relevant community context affecting problems or needs
being addressed by the grantee, the expected results of grant funding, and the feasibility of conducting an outcome evaluation of the project during the outcome evaluation phase of the National Rural Evaluation.
The outcome evaluation phase of the National Rural Evaluation used a combination of methods to identify the results of the Rural grantees' efforts in addressing domestic violence and child victimization. Methods included site visits and data collection through review of documentation and archival records, interviews, and direct observation. Data analysis included both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Nine grantees were selected for the outcome evaluation. All of the selected grantees were among the 16 sites that had received a site visit during the process evaluation and had received continuation funding in fiscal year 2000. The selection process included a review of grant documentation and process evaluation site visit reports to determine whether data sources were available to document long-term outcomes and whether program activities were sufficiently mature to warrant an outcome evaluation. A group of sites that
represented the range of organizational types, program activities, priority areas being addressed, and targeted groups being served by the grantees was selected. The nine
grantees selected for the outcome evaluation were:
Florida Department of Children and Families
Inter-Tribal Council of California
Iowa's Office of Drug Control Policy
Lower Umpqua Victims' Services
Missoula County Office of Planning and Grants
North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services
Oregon's State Office for Services to Children and Families
South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services.
Site visits were conducted from November 2000 to May 2001. The visits were two to three days in length and were conducted by two-person teams. The purpose of the site
visits was three-fold: (1) to conduct interviews and focus groups to collect qualitative data regarding changes in services, policies and practices, interagency collaboration, and the lives of victims, (2) to examine whether the grant intervention or other factors (rival hypotheses) may have contributed to these changes, and (3) to collect quantitative data from criminal justice, health, and social service agencies to examine changes and trends relevant to grant activities.
Data was collected through review of documentation and archival records, interviews, and direct observation.
Review of Documentation
Documentation was reviewed for each of the grantees and included administrative documents, such as grant applications and progress reports; grant award documents; minutes of meetings conducted by the grantees; memoranda of
understanding; evaluation reports and qualitative data compiled by local evaluators; a monograph, and newspaper clippings and articles appearing in the local media of the
Review of Archival Records
Archival records reviewed for the grantees included
service records indicating the number of clients served; service data indicating the number of protection orders issued; a statewide database of child welfare cases;
organizational records, such as organization charts and budgets; membership lists; census data; data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System, where available; and data from the National Court Information System, where available.
Interviews conducted were of several types: open-ended, focused, and survey. Interviews were conducted with grant managers with the Violence Against Women Office, grantee program staff, agency staff, medical personnel, school personnel, law enforcement officers, attorneys, members of the judiciary system, community service providers, community members, service recipients, and elected officials. Interviews were conducted in-person and by telephone. Additionally, one survey was administered
Direct observation was made throughout the two site visits
conducted with the grantees to assess the socioeconomic conditions in the communities in which the grantees operated and to observe community settings where grant activities took place.
Data analysis included qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative methods included the use of logic models. The nested ecological model served as a guiding
framework in categorizing components of the logic model.
The National Rural Evaluation used the case study design as the primary analytic tool. The case study design was selected because activities being evaluated were complex, community-wide interventions implemented in sites with very diverse characteristics. Differences in activities, target populations, and community characteristics make it difficult to find comparison or control groups.
A logic model depicted graphically the theory of each program in a way that linked program activities to program results. Logic models included the following elements: (1) relevant context in which grant activities were implemented;
(2) key assumptions that formed the foundation of grant activities; (3) program activities of the grantees; and (4) outcomes achieved by the grantees following implementation of program activities.
The Nested Ecological Model as a Guiding Framework
An overriding conceptual framework for the evaluation was the nested ecological model, first developed by Urie
Bronfenbrenner (1979) to explain human behavior in the context of larger systems in which the individual functions. The concept of "nested" interconnected systems provided a framework for viewing the activities of the Rural program as "transforming experiments [which involve] the systematic alternating and restructuring of existing
ecological systems in ways that challenge the forms of social organization, belief systems and lifestyles prevailing in a particular culture or subculture" (Bronfenbrenner, 1979).
A combination of open-ended and focused interviews was conducted with grantee staff. Open-ended interviews were used to gather qualitative evidence of the changes grantee staff had observed in the community before and after funding was received from the Rural grant program. Open-ended interviews also were conducted with grant managers from the Violence Against Women Office prior to the site visits to obtain any relevant information about the site, to be alerted to any potential problems experienced by the site, and to obtain any information about specific issues that might be particularly helpful in conducting a successful outcome evaluation with the site.
Focused interviews were conducted with grantee staff to refine the logic model. Specifically, interviews were conducted to confirm community context information,
identify actual versus planned activities, anticipated outcomes from grant activity, and identify possible rival factors that may account for outcomes achieved by the grantees.
Data analysis was conducted using the Statistical Program for Social Science (SPSS) and Microsoft Excel. Summary statistics were generated to compare the frequency of
correct responses to pre- and post-tests conducted by one of the grantees to assess increased knowledge of domestic violence as a result of receiving training. Summary
statistics also were used to compare the number of hours and percentage of time technology was used by member programs at two points in time.
A statistical examination of 2,217 child welfare cases in the state of Oregon was conducted by data analysts at the Oregon State Office for Services to Children and
Families (SCF) and the Child Welfare Partnership at Portland State University for the Rural evaluators to identify outcomes for cases that had domestic violence advocate involvement.
For Parts 1-8, all 89 agencies which received grants funded in fiscal years 1996 to 1998 were interviewed.
For Parts 9-35, nine grantees were selected for the outcome evaluation. All of the selected grantees were among 16 sites that had received a site visit during the process evaluation phase of the National Rural Evaluation and
had received continuation funding in fiscal year 2000. The selection process occurred in the following steps:
Step 1: The evaluation team reviewed grant documentation and grant applications for fiscal years 1999 and 2000 for the 16 sites that received site visits during the process
evaluation phase. One grantee that had not received continuation funding was eliminated from the selection process.
Step 2: The evaluation team reviewed the process evaluation site visit reports to determine whether data sources were available to document long-term outcomes and whether program activities were sufficiently mature to warrant an outcome evaluation. Three sites without data sources or mature program activities were eliminated from
Step 3: The evaluation team categorized the grantees by: (1) organization type; (2) rural versus non-rural state; (3) priority areas being addressed; and (4) types of data the grantees reported having access to.
Step 4: The evaluation team further categorized the grantees by types of evaluation-related activities the grantees had conducted. Types of evaluation-related activities included: (1) used an independent evaluator; (2) conducted a needs assessment prior to grant activities; (3) collected baseline data; (4) conducted any internal or external assessments, such as client surveys; (5) consistently tracked activities; (6) submitted up-to-date
progress reports; and (7) had identified possible outcomes.
Step 5: The evaluation team met with the National Institute of Justice and the Violence Against Women Office to discuss the pool of twelve candidates to participate in the outcome evaluation. It was agreed to select a group of sites that represented the range of organizational types, program activities, priority areas being addressed, and targeted groups being served by the grantees. Initially, 10 grantees were selected for the outcome evaluation. However, one of the sites, a fiscal year 1999 grantee, was unable to obtain funding to continue program activities when their Rural grant was exhausted and subsequently did not participate in the outcome evaluation due to the termination of program activities, resulting in a final group of nine grantees.
Longitudinal: Trend / Repeated Cross-section
Grantees of the Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Enforcement Grant Program in fiscal years 1996 to 1998.
administrative records data,
Part 1 (Grant Application Data) contains information related to the 89 grantees including such information as type of agency, grantee partners, groups targeted by the grantee, program activities provided by the grantee, products offered by the grantee, barriers and needs addressed by the grant, potential concerns for victim safety resulting from grant activities, context and setting of grant activities, problem areas addressed by grant, priorities outlined for the grant, objectives of the grant,
and additional sources of funding.
Part 2 (Administrative Data) contains administrative data including size of grant and a breakdown of costs for fiscal years 1996, 1997, and 1998.
Part 3 (Documents Data) contains information related to the grant application such as report types and progress reports.
Part 4 (Survey Data) contains descriptive information for the grantees, grantee partners, groups targeted by the grantee,
program activities provided by the grantee,
potential concerns for victim safety resulting from grant activities,
barriers addressed by grant,
objectives of the grant,
products offered by the grantee,
grantee access to domestic violence and child abuse data,
and additional sources of funding.
Part 5 (Context Data) includes information related to the context of the grant and grantee.
Part 6 (Population Data) contains information related to the population of the area of the grantee broken down
by age, race, and sex.
Part 7 (Unemployment Data) contains unemployment data.
Part 8 (Housing Data) contains estimates of people living in poverty as well as an estimate of median household income.
Part 9 (Florida Arrest Data -- 1998), Part 10 (Florida Arrest Data -- 1999) and Part 11 (Florida Arrest Data -- Merged 1998-1999) contain information related to Arrests made in Florida in 1998 and 1999 for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, attempted rape, forcible sodomy, forcible fondling, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, simple assault, threat/intimidation, and simple stalking.
Part 12 (Florida Offense Data -- County Level 1992), Part 13 (Florida Offense Data -- County Level 1993), Part 14 (Florida Offense Data -- County Level 1994), Part 15 (Florida Offense Data -- County Level 1995), Part 16 (Florida Offense Data -- County Level 1996), Part 17 (Florida Offense Data -- County Level 1997), Part 18 (Florida Offense Data -- County Level 1998), Part 19 (Florida Offense Data -- County Level 1999), Part 20 (Florida Offense Data -- County Level 2000), and Part 21 (Florida Offense Data -- County Level Merged 1992-2000) contain information related to Florida offense data from 1992-2000 by county for offenses such as murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, and include rates per 100,000 population.
Part 22 (Florida Offense Data -- Jurisdictional Level 1996),
Part 23 (Florida Offense Data -- Jurisdictional Level 1997),
Part 24 (Florida Offense Data -- Jurisdictional Level 1998),
Part 25 (Florida Offense Data -- Jurisdictional Level 1999),
Part 26 (Florida Offense Data -- Jurisdictional Level 2000), and
Part 27 (Florida Offense Data -- Jurisdictional Level Merged 1996-2000) contain information related to Florida offense data from 1992-2000 by jurisdiction for offenses such as murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, and aggravated assault.
Part 28 (Florida Meals on Wheels Data) contains true/false responses from 85 Meals On Wheels volunteers in the state of Florida to 30 questions both before and after the volunteers received training including topics such as understanding the dynamics of domestic violence, how domestic violence can affect pregnancy outcomes or nutrition, how to assess domestic violence in clients, and how to make referrals to available resources.
Part 29 (Florida Women, Infants, and Children Data) contains true/false responses from 94 Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program staff in the state of Florida to 30
questions both before and after the volunteers received training including topics such as understanding the dynamics of domestic violence, how domestic violence can affect pregnancy outcomes or nutrition, how to assess domestic violence in clients, and how to make referrals to available resources.
Part 30 (Iowa Convictions Data -- 1998),
Part 31 (Iowa Convictions Data -- 1999), and
Part 32 (Iowa Convictions Data -- Combined 1998-1999) contain the number of convictions in Iowa in 1998 and 1999 by offense code.
Part 33 (Iowa Dispositions Data -- 1998),
Part 34 (Iowa Dispositions Data -- 1999), and
Part 35 (Iowa Dispositions Data -- Combined 1998-1999) contain the number of dispositions in Iowa in 1998 and 1999 by offense code.