Department of Justice Awards over $2.3 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 $2.3 billion to state victim assistance and compensation programs, funding thousands of local victim assistance programs across the country and providing 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 FY18 alone, VOCA grants served over 6.3 million victims (a 24 percent increase over FY17) and paid more than $400 million in compensation claims. The Fund is financed by fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders and does not include tax dollars.
“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, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs. “Backed by Attorney General William Barr, 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.”
The vast majority of the over $2.3 billion in victim assistance funding goes to approximately 6,000 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 $136 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.
“The services made available by this funding represent a lifeline for tens of thousands of survivors each month, many of whom otherwise would have no place to turn in a moment of profound crisis,” said Darlene Hutchinson, Director of OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime. “These awards will help service providers, as well as law enforcement agencies and prosecutor offices respond to the many emotional and material challenges that crime victims in our country face every day.”
The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov. For a full database of OVC awardees, visit: https://www.ovc.gov/grants/grant_award_search.html.