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Underserved Teen Victims Initiative

The UTVI project will tap into the creativity and energy of youth leaders and local organizations and support them with a national network of training and technical assistance.

Teens in the United States make-up almost half of all victims of violent crime over the age of 12. Teens from underserved populations, such as ethnic minorities and teens with disabilities, are often victimized at even higher rates than the general teen population. While most teens have limited access to qualified, age-appropriate victims services, teens from underserved populations have even fewer options. Often times, teens from underserved populations face additional challenges and barriers to accessing victim services.

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and the National Center for Victims of Crime (National Center) discovered these gaps in victim services through their work on the Youth Outreach for Victim Assistance (YOVA) project. Building on the success of YOVA, the National Partners will use the YOVA model to support organizations to develop outreach campaigns directed at populations of underserved teens.

The National Partners created the Underserved Teen Victims Initiative (UTVI) with these two goals in mind:

  • To raise awareness of teen victimization and identify promising strategies for reaching and supporting underserved populations of teen victims.
  • To build the capacity of victim service professionals to reach and support these underserved teen victims.

The UTVI project will tap into the creativity and energy of youth leaders and local organizations and support them with a national network of training and technical assistance. Local teams will generate culturally appropriate messages and strategies for raising awareness of victimization and supporting underserved populations of teens. The National Partners will select 24 sites that will commit to conducting outreach to underserved populations of young people, specifically 

  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Asian and Pacific Islander
  • American Indian
  • Muslim and Arab
  • Youth with disabilities
  • Runaway youth
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans gender, queer, and questioning youth

Each local team

  • Form a team of youth and adults to design and implement a new campaign directed at one or more of the specified underserved population of teens;
  • Attend a two-and-a-half day training to build skills in developing effective teams and explore the dynamics of victimization and the challenges faced by underserved teen victims in getting support;
  • Plan and implement a public outreach campaign to conduct outreach with information about victims’ rights and services to underserved populations of teen victims. These campaigns may be audio, video, or public service advertisements as well as producing resources, including brochures, palm cards, or tip sheets.

UTVI site location included:

Oakland, California Bronx, New York
San Luis Obispo, California Flushing, New York
Spartanburg, South Carolina Cincinnati, Ohio
Bridgeport, Connecticut Forest Grove, Oregon
Naples, Florida Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Miami, Florida Austin, Texas
Des Moines, Iowa Seattle, Washington
Choctaw, Mississippi Sedro-Woolley, Washington
Kansas City, Missouri Everett, Washington
Norfolk, Nebraska Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Manchester, New Hampshire  Fort Wayne, Indiana


For more information on UTVI, Please call the Children and Youth department at 202-466-6272.

This project is supported by Grant 2009-SZ-B9-K007, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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