Department of Justice Awards over $1.8 Billion in Grants to Assist Victims Nationwide
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), a component of the department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), has released awards totaling more than $1.8 billion to state victim assistance and compensation programs to fund thousands of local victim assistance programs across the country and to provide millions in compensation to victims of crime.
OVC’s flagship formula grant program is supported by the Crime Victims Fund (the Fund), which was established under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). The Fund supports a broad array of programs and services that focus on helping victims in the immediate aftermath of crime and continuing to support them as they rebuild their lives. In FY 2019 alone, VOCA grants served over 7 million victims and paid more than $399 million in compensation claims.
“Advocates, service providers, and law enforcement agencies from around the country stand ready to help crime victims exercise their legal rights and reclaim their lives,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “These new funding resources continue this administration’s unprecedented commitment to providing the support necessary for victims of crimes to be able to heal and recover.”
The vast majority of the over $1.6 billion in victim assistance funding goes to local direct service programs, including children’s advocacy centers, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, human trafficking and elder abuse programs, civil legal services, crime victims’ rights enforcement, as well as victim assistance positions in prosecutors’ offices and law enforcement departments.
State victim compensation programs will receive over $133 million to supplement the state funds that offset victims’ financial burdens resulting from crime. This compensation is often extremely vital to victims who face enormous financial setbacks from medical fees, lost income, dependent care, funeral expenses, and other costs.
“Building on the historic amount of victim assistance and victim compensation funding awarded last year, these new awards have the potential to alter the landscape of the victims’ field, putting services and support within reach of every crime victim in America,” said Katharine T. Sullivan, OJP's Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General. “Backed by an Attorney General whose commitment to crime victims is second to none, we are proud to make these resources available to help meet the emotional, psychological and financial needs that victims face in the aftermath of crime.”
“For crime victims, the first step toward healing and recovery is finding a place where trained, committed professionals can be counted on to provide compassionate services that meet fundamental physical and emotional needs,” said OVC Director Jessica E. Hart. “This funding, taken out of the hands of offenders and put to good use through local assistance organizations and state compensation programs, will enable advocates across the nation to support those in crisis and help victims find the justice they deserve.”
The Fund is financed by fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders and does not include tax dollars. Additional information about FY 2020 grant awards made by OVC can be found online at the OVC Awards Listing webpage.