Colombia Mobile Victims Unit Impact Evaluation
Last registered on June 18, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
Colombia Mobile Victims Unit Impact Evaluation
Initial registration date
October 31, 2016
Last updated
June 18, 2018 3:37 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
Universidad del Rosario
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
The World Bank
PI Affiliation
The World Bank
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
CAF: 9320/16, U. Rosario: SAF 20110902
The internal armed conflict in Colombia has lasted over 52 years and left over 8 million victims. In 2011, the Government signed a progressive and comprehensive Victims and Land Restitution Law (Law 1448) that ensures the right of access to truth, justice, reparation, and no repetition to all victims. This impact evaluation estimates the effects of a national government program that serves as a front door for victims to access justice services - the Mobile Victims Unit - which brings together three public entities with different responsibilities within the provision of services to victims. Moving around the country visiting marginalized communities, the unit’s staff provide a range of services including the provision of information on victims’ rights, legal aid to enable victims to file declarations of victimhood and appeals with the State, and the provision of updated and personalized information about where victims’ cases stand in the bureaucratic process of enrollment and implementation of a variety of public reparation, assistance, and attention services. This trial estimates the short-term effects of access to these services on two levels: the individual victim level and also at the community level, by surveying program participants and a random sample of community members. The effects will be estimated on reception of reparations, knowledge of rights, access to justice, integration into the community (economic and social), and perceptions of justice and the State.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Rounseville, Megan, Jorge Silva-Mendez and Juan Vargas. 2018. "Colombia Mobile Victims Unit Impact Evaluation." AEA RCT Registry. June 18.
Former Citation
Rounseville, Megan et al. 2018. "Colombia Mobile Victims Unit Impact Evaluation." AEA RCT Registry. June 18.
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Experimental Details
The Mobile Victims Unit (MVU) is a joint strategy by the Colombian Ministry of Justice, National Victims Unit, and the Public Defender’s Office. It has been implemented nationally since 2012, visiting approximately 55 municipalities with low service coverage and a high demand for victims services each year. The services offered by the MVU include education on victims’ rights, reception of declarations, consultations on the status of a declaration, consultations on reparations and services offered, and psychological orientation and legal aid.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The individual-victims level of analysis seeks to test if the receipt of services from the MVU in a municipality leads to an increase in the following variables:
1) Victims’ knowledge of: i) the status of their own case, ii) the rights afforded to victims under Law 1448, and iii) how to access the services offered to victims;
2) Levels of material reparations and services received and access;
3) Wellbeing: i) economic, ii) employment, iii) quality of life, iv) experience of crime and violence, v) presence of depression, vi) empowerment and self-efficacy
4) Integration into society, gender norms, and intra household dynamics;
5) Victims’ self-assessed sense of truth, justice, and perception of security;
6) Perception of the state, armed groups, and the on-going peace process.
At the community level we will assess the same factors as listed above to capture spillover effects on community members.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The experimental design will address the following research question: What is the impact of delivering legal services through a mobile unit in Colombia?

To answer this question, the evaluation uses a clustered randomized phase-in trial design and conducts a panel survey with a random sample of program participants and community members.
Experimental Design Details

Randomization Method
The randomization was done using STATA. Randomization was conducted within matched pairs of municipalities. Pairs were formed using municipal level characteristics of historical violence, presence of armed groups, and municipal level demographic characteristics.

Specifically matching was conducted using strata based on three characteristics: 1) whether the MVU had visited the municipality in prior years, 2) if in the last semester of the previous year there were no armed groups present, and 3) if the municipality was part of a large governance program funded by USAID. Within each strata the following characteristics were used to match municipalities: 1) number of victims registered in the national Unique Victims Registry (RUV); 2) average annual homicide rate; 3) municipal population estimate; 4) percentage of the population poor; 5) percentage of the population that self-identified as indigenous; 6) percent of the population that self-identified as “Afro-Colombian”; and 7) percent of the population that lives outside the municipal center.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
57 municipalities
Sample size: planned number of observations
Control group: 750 community members, 2,000 individual program participants; Treatment group: 750 community members and 2,000 individual program participants.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
30-27 clusters in Control; 27 clusters in Treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The sample size of 4,000 program participants has been calculated to meet the objective of being conservatively powered to answer our primary research question. Using existing data in Colombia we estimate that the study will be powered at 0.90 or higher with an alpha of .05 or lower to observe the following changes: a. Increase by 5 percentage points in the likeliness to have reported their experience of violence (from 24 percent to 29 percent) among program participants; b. Increase in 5 percentage points of having received benefits from the Colombian Government (from 30 percent to 35 percent) among program participants; c. Increase in perceived trust in the justice system by 10 percent (along a 4 point scale) from 3.56 average response to 3.91 average response; d. Increase in the perception of security by 10 percent (along a 4 point scale) from 2.49 average response to 2.74 average response.
IRB Name
Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
WIRB Study No.: 1163456
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)