Victims will often have multiple needs but may not know the extent of these needs until they have the time and space to explore them. Professional supporters can facilitate this thinking process. To do this it takes skilled supporters who can build trust and confidence with the victim so that they feel able to discuss their worries and concerns. Victims who are entering the criminal justice system may not know what they need, so they may need help in understanding what the process looks like. This will help them begin to self-identify the needs they will have as they go through the criminal justice system.
There are different methods of needs assessment and there is no presumption that one is favoured over another. The key elements of an effective needs assessment are: that it allows the victim to identify their own needs; it is done at an appropriate time; regularly reviewed as needs change over time; it allows the breadth of needs to be identified; and good recording keeping and information transfer so as to avoid unnecessary or repetitive questioning.