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Reconsidering Juvenile Life Sentences

OVC, OJJDP Leaders Support Ending Mandatory Life Sentences Without Parole for Juveniles

In two recent U.S. Supreme Court cases, Miller v. Alabama and Montgomery v. Louisiana, the Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for juveniles are unconstitutional and states must apply the Miller ruling retroactively.

This opens the door to the possibility of a new trial, resentencing or parole for hundreds of men and women across the country.

In a blog post titled, Reconsidering Juvenile Life Sentences, OVC Director Joye E. Frost and Robert L. Listenbee, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, discuss the importance of implementing juvenile justice reforms that take into account the developmental states of youth while holding them accountable for their actions. At the same time, state policymakers and practitioners must think about how they will meet the needs of victims and their loved ones who may relive some of the most traumatic events and profound losses of their lives.

Read the blog post to learn more about these Supreme Court rulings, their impact on the justice system, and how state and local stakeholders can incorporate evidence-based resources for meeting victims’ post-conviction needs.


(Posted August 22, 2016)

Apply Today for Elder Justice Fellowship Opportunities

Elder Justice AmeriCorps Project Equal Justice Works is accepting applications for fellows to work on the Elder Justice AmeriCorps project in over 20 locations across the country.

Fellows will provide legal services to older adults who have been victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. In addition to representing clients, fellows will work to create and support multidisciplinary teams of social workers, medical professionals, and law enforcement; lead “know your rights” sessions at senior centers, nursing homes, assisted living communities, and other community-based settings; and recruit and train pro bono attorneys.

This fellowship program is supported through a collaboration between OVC, The Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Visit the Equal Justice Works website to learn more and apply.


(Posted August 17, 2016)

Guidance about Services to Immigrant Victims of Crime

Recently, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Secretary Julián Castro of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a letter (PDF 1.06 mb) to recipients of federal funding to provide more information on access to services for immigrant victims. The letter explains that immigrants cannot be denied access to certain services necessary to protect life or safety on the basis of their immigration status.

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) know that immigrant survivors of abuse need access to vital services and assistance so that they can successfully escape abuse, find safety, and start the healing process, as well as obtain assistance to pursue special immigration remedies that Congress enacted through the Violence Against Women Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

The purpose of this letter is to clarify that service providers should not turn away immigrant victims, on the basis of their immigration status, from certain services necessary for life or safety – services such as emergency shelter, short-term housing assistance (including transitional housing), crisis counseling, and intervention programs.

The letter from the Attorney General and the Secretaries of HHS and HUD is not a new policy. It reiterates and consolidates the long-standing policies of all three Departments, and reminds federal funding recipients that federal law restricting immigrant access to certain public benefits includes exceptions to protect life or safety.

Specifically, federal law does not restrict immigrant access to programs that –

  1. are necessary for the protection of life or safety;
  2. deliver in-kind services at the community level; and
  3. do not condition the provision of assistance, the amount of the assistance, or the cost of assistance on an individual’s income or resources.

These programs must be made available to eligible persons without regard to citizenship, nationality, or immigration status.

The tri-agency letter (PDF 1.07 mb) should resolve questions that recipients of federal funding may have about their ability to serve all victims with OVC or OVW funds. OVC and OVW also hope that it will be a useful tool when working with community partners to ensure that all victims have access to services necessary to protect their lives or safety.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your OVC and OVW program specialists for assistance.

Sincerely,

Joye E. Frost
Director
Office for Victims of Crime
                   Bea Hanson, Ph.D.
Principal Deputy Director
Office on Violence Against Women

(Posted August 12, 2016)

OVC Releases Model Standards To Enhance Crime Victim Support

Achieving Excellence: Model Standards for Serving Victims & Survivors of CrimeOVC is pleased to announce the release of Achieving Excellence: Model Standards for Serving Victims & Survivors of Crime, which is an update to victim assistance standards published with OVC support in 2003 by the University of South Carolina and the National Victim Assistance Standards Consortium. This important e-publication is intended to enhance victim service providers’ competency and capacity to provide ethical, high-quality responses to crime victims and to meet the demands facing the field today. It includes three sets of standards:

  • The Program Standards recommend guidelines, policies, and procedures that victim-serving organizations should have in place, and identify ways of documenting and administering services.
  • The Competency Standards describe general attitudes, knowledge, and skills that demonstrate professional competency in the crime victims field, and how services providers can achieve these competencies.
  • The Ethical Standards identify the ethical expectations of service providers, based on core values for the field.

(Posted August 11, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Vision 21 Law Enforcement and the Communities They Serve: Supporting Collective Healing in the Wake of Harm

OVC will make one award of up to $7 million to further the goals of Vision 21 by supporting law enforcement agencies, crime victims, and communities. The award will be used to develop, implement, and assess evidence-based and trauma-informed law enforcement response strategies, protocols, and interventions (PDF 220 kb) that promote community engagement and healing prior to and in the wake of law enforcement-involved shootings and other high-profile incidents of violence (including those featuring differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or immigration status), whether the victim of the incident is a member of the community or an officer.

This project will provide comprehensive, expert technical assistance to law enforcement and the communities they serve to promote trauma-informed culture and practice to address the impact of trauma and community harm. Additionally, the project aims to help communities develop both a preventative and a remedial focus that will address the needs of those directly impacted by high-profile incidents, reduce tensions, maximize communication, and promote problem-solving between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

The grantee will in turn competitively select and fund at least six law enforcement demonstration sites, provide oversight and technical assistance to them, and provide rapid response to other communities that experience law-enforcement involved shootings, death, or other crisis incidents.

Apply by September 7, 2016.


(Posted August 8, 2016)

Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Formula Victim Assistance Rule

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) announces that the final rule for its Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Formula Victim Assistance Grant Program became effective on August 8, 2016. The final rule sets forth the parameters for the use of funds under OVC’s Victim Assistance Program. OVC consulted extensively with the crime victim services field in developing the rule, and published a notice of proposed rulemaking (78 FR 52877) on August 27, 2013, which solicited public comments. OVC has taken these comments, as well as comments received during the inter-agency review process, into consideration in this final rule.

  • It applies to any OVC Formula Victim Assistance Program grants awarded by OVC after the effective date.
  • However, FY16 grant funding obligated by a state before the award date AND before the effective date (i.e., pre-award costs incurred before the effective date) are not subject to the rule, and remain under the VOCA Assistance Guidelines, though a state may choose to apply the rule to those funds.
  • Funds under grants awarded by OVC before the rule’s effective date continue to be subject to the Guidelines, but a state may choose to apply the rule to any unobligated funding at the state or subrecipient levels under such a grant.
  • Such discretionary decisions to apply the rule should be documented to facilitate monitoring and audit.

The final rule provides greater clarity and more flexibility to state VOCA victim assistance administering agencies to support a continuum of services to crime victims, including:

  • comprehensive legal assistance,
  • transitional housing,
  • expanded coverage of relocation expenses, and
  • the use of funds for forensic interviews and medical examinations.

The rule clarifies the requirements regarding services to underserved victims, and continues to provide that victims of elder abuse, human trafficking, and other crimes are eligible for VOCA-funded assistance. The rule removes existing language that restricts the use of VOCA funding to support services to victims in detention and correctional facilities.

OVC will publish a summary of changes made by the rule, as well as questions and answers as they arise, on the OVC website.


(Posted August 8, 2016)

Innovative Strategies for Crime Victim Compensation Programs

Crime Victims Compensation Initiatives Program Fact SheetCrime victim compensation programs help victims recover from financial losses resulting from their victimization. The new OVC Crime Victim Compensation Program Initiative Fact Sheet highlights efforts to further the Department of Justice's mission to provide crime victims with the services they need to recover from their victimization.

In Fiscal Year 2013, OVC awarded funds through this initiative to the Iowa, California, and Vermont state crime victim compensation programs. These states used this funding to develop or enhance innovative strategies to increase program efficiency, responsiveness, and accessibility for crime victims. This fact sheet highlights the work that these three programs implemented which other state programs can use as a model for replication.


(Posted July 20, 2016)

Condolences for the Victims of the Baton Rouge Shooting

We at OVC extend our deepest condolences to the victims of the shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, their friends, families, and fellow officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office. We honor the sacrifices made by these brave law enforcement officers and mourn the loss of officers Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald, and Brad Garafola.

And we share the sentiments of President Barack Obama and his Administration.

“The death of these three brave officers underscores the danger that police across the country confront every single day. And we as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies violence against law enforcement. Attacks on police are an attack on all of us and the rule of law that makes society possible.” (President Barack Obama, July 17, 2016).


(Posted July 19, 2016)

Support for Victims of the Shooting in Dallas, Texas

“Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families who have lost loved ones... we share your pain and your loss. To our brothers and sisters who wear the badge: I want you to know that I am deeply grateful for the difficult and dangerous work you do every day to keep our streets safe and our nations secure. I am heartbroken at this loss. And the Department of Justice will do all we can to support you in the days ahead” (Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, July 8, 2016).

We at OVC express our condolences to the victims of the shooting at a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas, their friends, families, and officers of the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police. OVC presents resources which may be able to help victims and their families, as well as victim service providers, including law enforcement leaders, who are providing support to them during this difficult time.


(Posted July 12, 2016)

Clarification of Allowable Costs for Victim Assistance Programs

Posted on behalf of Joye E. Frost, OVC Director

Dear VOCA Assistance Administrators:

OVC has received communication from a number of people in the victim assistance field about state Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) assistance administering agencies’ interpretation of the current VOCA Assistance Final Program Guidelines on expenses related to transitional housing and civil legal assistance, as well as the federal definition of “supplanting” for VOCA purposes.

OVC anticipates that it will upload the final VOCA formula victim assistance rule during the first week of July. It will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. In the interim, OVC is sending this communication to VOCA Administrators to again clarify what is allowable under the current guidelines for transitional housing and legal assistance.

Regarding legal assistance, victim assistance programs can provide emergency legal assistance such as filing restraining orders and obtaining emergency custody/visitation rights when such actions are directly connected to family violence cases and are taken to ensure the health and safety of the victim. See 1997 VOCA Victim Assistance Program Guidelines, Section IV.E.1.a. Other allowable legal assistance expenses under the current guidelines include, but are not limited to: advocacy on behalf of crime victims during criminal proceedings; assistance in recovering restitution on behalf of crime victims; asserting crime victims’ rights in criminal proceedings directly related to the victimization; and advocacy to protect victims’ safety, privacy, or other interests as a victim in criminal proceedings. Additionally, in the civil proceeding context, services may include those that are reasonably needed as a direct result of the victimization, but do not include tort actions, criminal defense, divorce, or civil restitution efforts. Please note, however, that upon finalization of the Rule, allowable legal assistance will be further expanded, as long as it is tied to the victimization of the crime victim. Allowable legal assistance includes the funding of legal clinics. See attached June 7, 2010 listserv message to VOCA Administrators, “VOCA Victim Assistance Formula Funding for Legal Clinics.”

Regarding transitional housing, victim assistance programs can provide shelter (including emergency, short-term nursing home shelter for elder abuse victims for whom no other safe, short-term residence is available). See 1997 VOCA Victim Assistance Program Guidelines, Section IV.E.1.a. OVC interprets the Guidelines as including transitional housing that is needed in order to protect the health and safety of victims and for whom no other safe, short-term residence is available. VOCA funds may be used to support staff time in locating resources to assist victims with these expenses. See 1997 VOCA Victim Assistance Program Guidelines, Section IV.E.3.i.

Finally, pursuant to the VOCA statute (Section 1404(a)(2)(C), codified at 42 U.S.C. 10603(a)(2)(C)), VOCA Administrators must certify that funds awarded to eligible crime victim assistance programs will not be used to supplant State and local funds otherwise available for crime victim assistance. The 2015 Department of Justice (DOJ) Grants Financial Guide defines “supplanting” as the deliberate reduction of “State or local funds because of the existence of Federal Funds.” For example, when state funds are appropriated for a stated purpose and federal funds are awarded for that same purpose, the state replaces its state funds with federal funds, thereby reducing the total amount available for the stated purpose.

We realize that some states may choose to impose a more restrictive definition of supplanting than the DOJ Grants Financial Guide. We strongly urge reconsideration of more restrictive definitions of supplanting, given that such more restrictive definitions may limit capacity building and stabilization of service providing organizations and also impede a state’s ability to obligate all of the available funding, ultimately limiting available services for crime victims.

OVC realizes that many of these issues will not be relevant once the new Rule is finalized. Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to working with the states in using the new Rule to support the funding of new and expanded services for many crime victims, and institutionalizing capacity in the victim assistance programs in your states. In the interim, OVC will post this communication on its website to ensure the greatest transparency on current, allowable uses of funding.

(Posted July 6, 2016)

Support for Victims of the Shooting in Orlando, Florida

OVC extends its deepest condolences to the victims of the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and to their friends and families. OVC presents resources which may be able to help victims and their families, and victim service providers that are providing support to them during this difficult time: www.ovc.gov/news/orlando-florida.html.

(Posted June 16, 2016)

Past Announcements

August 2016

Vision 21 Talks: Supporting Young Male Survivors of Violence

To lessen the traumatic impact experienced by young male survivors of violence, and to stop the cycle of retaliation, communities must recognize the need to intervene and provide opportunities and supports to help survivors heal and recover.

Please join us to learn more about three exciting intervention models currently in use to Support Young Male Survivors of Violence, a webinar in a series in which we engage with experts on trending topics.

Date: August 25, 2016
Time: 11:00–12:30 p.m. (EDT)
Register: https://ovcttac.wufoo.com/forms/vision-21-talks-82516/

During this 90-minute session, panelists will provide an overview of their innovative programs and initiatives:

  • Healing Hurt People is a community-focused, trauma-informed, hospital-based program designed to reduce PTSD, re-injury, and retaliation among youth ages 8–30.
  • Make It Happen is a community program that provides young men who have experienced violence with the tools necessary to overcome traumatic experiences and enable them to succeed in spite of those experiences.
  • Caught in the Crossfire is a hospital-based peer intervention program that hires young adults who overcame violence in their own lives to work with youth who are recovering from violent injuries.

(Posted August 12, 2016)

July 2016

Nominate a Colleague for the 2017 National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

The 2017 National Crime Victims’ Service Awards nomination period has been extended through August 15, 2016. Each year, OVC recognizes extraordinary individuals, organizations, teams, and programs that demonstrate outstanding achievements in supporting victims and victim services. The recipients are honored at the National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC.

OVC has created a video to provide you with tips and tools for the 2017 National Crime Victims’ Service Awards application. This video includes information about submission requirements, a short demo of the online nomination form, and tips for submitting a noteworthy nomination.

Watch the video and submit your nomination today.

Submissions close Monday, August 15, 2016.


(Posted July 29, 2016)

Read About New Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Formula Victim Assistance Rule

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) published the final rule for its Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Formula Victim Assistance Grant Program in the Federal Register today, July 8, 2016. The final rule goes into effect thirty days after publication, and sets forth the parameters for the use of funds under OVC’s Victim Assistance Program. OVC consulted extensively with the crime victim services field in developing the rule, and published a notice of proposed rulemaking (78 FR 52877) on August 27, 2013, which solicited public comments. OVC has taken these comments, as well as comments received during the inter-agency review process, into consideration in this final rule.

The rule goes into effect on August 8, 2016.

  • It applies to any OVC Formula Victim Assistance Program grants awarded by OVC after the effective date.
  • However, FY16 grant funding obligated by a state before the award date AND before the effective date (i.e., pre-award costs incurred before the effective date) are not subject to the rule, and remain under the VOCA Assistance Guidelines, though a state may choose to apply the rule to those funds.
  • Funds under grants awarded by OVC before the rule’s effective date continue to be subject to the Guidelines, but a state may choose to apply the rule to any unobligated funding at the state or subrecipient levels under such a grant.
  • Such discretionary decisions to apply the rule should be documented to facilitate monitoring and audit.

The final rule provides greater clarity and more flexibility to state VOCA victim assistance administering agencies to support a continuum of services to crime victims, including:

  • comprehensive legal assistance,
  • transitional housing,
  • expanded coverage of relocation expenses, and
  • the use of funds for forensic interviews and medical examinations.

The rule clarifies the requirements regarding services to underserved victims, and continues to provide that victims of elder abuse, human trafficking, and other crimes are eligible for VOCA-funded assistance. The rule removes existing language that restricts the use of VOCA funding to support services to victims in detention and correctional facilities.

OVC will publish a summary of changes made by the rule, as well as questions and answers as they arise, on the OVC website.

(Posted July 8, 2016)

June 2016

Funding Opportunity: Using Telemedicine Technology to Enhance Access to Sexual Assault Forensic Exams

OVC will make awards under two purpose areas to develop or enhance statewide telemedicine programs (PDF 224 kb) to deliver expert Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner guidance and support to medical professionals conducting sexual assault forensic exams in state correctional facilities, institutions of higher education, and rural and tribal communities. OVC will make one award of up to $1.2 million under purpose area one for the demonstration project to develop or enhance access, within their state, to sexual assault forensic exams for adult and adolescent victims of sexual assault using telemedicine technology in underserved communities. Under purpose area two, OVC will make one award of up to $300,000 to one technical assistance (TA) provider to support the demonstration site.

Apply by July 28, 2016.

(Posted June 14, 2016)

Submit your 2017 National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Nomination

OVC has created a video to provide you with tips and tools for the 2017 National Crime Victims’ Service Awards application. This video includes information about submission requirements, a short demo of the online nomination form, and tips for submitting a noteworthy nomination.

Watch the video and submit your nomination today.

Submissions close Sunday, July 31, 2016.

(Posted June 13, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Building and Enhancing Partnerships to Support Incarcerated Survivors of Sexual Abuse

OVC seeks applicants for funding up to $300,000 to support the development and enhancement of partnerships between correctional agencies and community-based victim service providers with the goal of increasing access to outside support services for incarcerated survivors of sexual abuse (PDF 218 kb). Eligible applicants shall be nonprofit organizations (including tribal nonprofit organizations) with demonstrated knowledge of and experience with providing support services to victims of sexual abuse and/or rape crisis coalitions and a strong desire to provide victim support services to incarcerated survivors of sexual abuse.

Apply by July 25, 2016.

(Posted June 10, 2016, Updated June 27, 2016)

Integrating Victim Services into Planning and Response to Mass Violence Events

OVC’s Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resources toolkit is designed to help communities prepare for and respond to victims of mass violence and terrorism in the most timely, effective, and compassionate manner possible. View the new four-part companion video series which highlights –

  • Integrating victims’ issues into emergency plans and considering volunteers and donation funds in planning.
  • Response to a mass violence incident should be well-organized, timely, multidisciplinary, and respectful of victims.
  • Victims experience recovery and resilience at their own pace and in their own ways, and recovery approaches can be varied depending on victims’ needs.

The OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center has also launched a new multimedia web training series to introduce the web-based toolkit to civic, government, and business sectors that are interested in developing a comprehensive victim assistance plan. Learn more and register for the web-based training which is being held on multiple dates throughout June.

(Posted June 9, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Develop Support Materials for Child Victims and Witnesses Going to Court

OVC will award one cooperative agreement of $1 million to develop a package of resource materials to support young victims and witnesses (PDF 250 kb) during their participation in the court process. The applicant, working with subject matter experts and partnering with a national stakeholder group, will develop materials that can readily be used by criminal justice personnel, advocates, and others that work with young victims and witnesses. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with OVC and will include the design, development, pilot, publishing (online and print), and dissemination of the resource materials.

Apply by July 15, 2016.

(Posted June 1, 2016)

May 2016

Tribute to Teresa Scalzo

Teresa Scalzo, a dedicated advocate for domestic and sexual assault victims, passed away May 23, 2016, following a courageous battle with cancer. She was 47.

Teresa was a leader in the national movement to protect women from abusers and spent much of her professional life advocating for the legal rights of victims when they were unable to fight for themselves. Read the tribute.

(Posted May 27, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Establish National Resource Centers for Victim Research, Evaluation, and Reaching Underserved Victims

OVC will make awards under two purpose areas to establish two national resource centers (PDF 251 kb) to promote practices and strategies to increase the evidence base in the victims field and promote evidence-based knowledge and tools to address crime victim needs. The main goal of these centers is to ensure that survivors, providers, government leaders, and other members of the field have access to up-to-date information on best practices, policies, victim-related research, evaluation, and victim resources.

Apply by July 11, 2016.

(Posted May 27, 2016)

New Informational Videos Available on OVC and Crime Victims Fund

OVC has developed two videos that provide information about OVC and the Crime Victims Fund:

  • What is the Office for Victims of Crime? This video describes OVC's mission and major responsibilities to enhance victims' rights and services for all victims across the U.S.
  • What is the Crime Victims Fund? This video describes the Crime Victims Fund, a major funding source for victim services throughout the Nation that is made up of fines, special assessments, and forfeited bail paid by people who are convicted of federal crimes in U.S. courts around the country.

Watch or download the videos and share them as an educational tool.

(Posted May 26, 2016)

If You're a Victim of Crime, Help is Available

The new OVC video, If You're a Victim of Crime, Help is Available, describes the help that is available for victims of crime. The video recognizes that being a victim of a crime can be a devastating experience for survivors and their families, identifies certain victims' rights that are guaranteed in most states, and describes services available from state victim compensation and assistance programs. If you or someone you know is a victim of crime, help is available.

Watch or download the video and share it as an educational tool. For more information on how to obtain help, visit www.ovc.gov/help.

(Posted May 26, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Fellowship Programs to Further the Goals of Vision 21

OVC seeks fellowship proposals in nine purpose areas that further the goals of Vision 21 (PDF 397 kb) by supporting OVC's efforts to provide training, technical assistance, capacity building, assessment, or strategic planning. Through these cooperative agreements, OVC will make one award for each of the nine purpose areas of up to $150,000 to individuals to work with OVC in the below purpose areas -

  • Purpose Area 1: Human Trafficking Task Forces
  • Purpose Area 2: Human Trafficking Survivor-Informed Services
  • Purpose Area 3: Mass Violence and Terrorism
  • Purpose Area 4: Post-Conviction Victim Services
  • Purpose Area 5: Underserved Victims of Sexual Assault
  • Purpose Area 6: Victim Services in Law Enforcement and Prosecution
  • Purpose Area 7: Services for Male Victims
  • Purpose Area 8: Model Standards for Victim Assistance
  • Purpose Area 9: Child Sexual Exploitation

Apply by July 11, 2016.

(Posted May 26, 2016)

Fact Sheets Highlight Current Crime and Victimization Trends

The 2016 National Crime Victims' Right Week (NCVRW) Crime and Victimization Fact Sheets, available in both English and Spanish, are a resource for victim service providers and allied professionals to continue to raise awareness of victims' issues beyond NCVRW and throughout the year

Use statistics and compelling graphics from these Fact Sheets in email and social media marketing, presentations, and on your website to help raise awareness and help demonstrate why crime victims' rights matter. View the Communicating Your Message (PDF 355 KB) section of the 2016 NVCRW Resource Guide for additional resources and ways to enhance your organization's public awareness campaigns.

(Posted May 20, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Addressing Polyvictimization in a Family Justice Center Setting Demonstration Initiative

OVC will make awards under two purpose areas to develop a special polyvictimization initiative within Family Justice Centers (FJC) (PDF 361 kb). and other co-located domestic violence and sexual assault service centers.

Under Purpose Area #1, OVC will make up to six awards of up to $666,666 each to demonstration sites to create and offer a specialized polyvictimization screening tool for both adults and children receiving services at the FJC followed by the provision of the wide range of services needed to address a survivor's full history of current and past traumas. The initiative may require the identification of new on-site and/or off-site partners to deliver the full–range of services needed.

Under Purpose Area #2, OVC will make one award of up to $1 million to an organization to provide comprehensive technical assistance to the demonstration sites. Apply by June 27, 2016.

(Posted May 12, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Enhancing Access and Attitudinal Changes in Domestic Violence Shelters for Individuals With Disabilities

OVC will award up to two cooperative agreements of up to $1.2 million each to make physical, operational, and attitudinal changes in domestic violence shelters for individuals with disabilities (PDF 320.75 kb). Through these cooperative agreements, state (including territories and the District of Columbia), tribal, and regional domestic violence coalitions will undertake demonstration projects that encourage their member organizations to make physical and operational changes to facilities and operating practices (e.g., accessible bathrooms, interpreter services, plain language forms, action plans), as well as attitudinal changes through training and mentorship. Funding will include a research partner to conduct a program evaluation to identify bases for evidence-based practice, as well as gaps and resources. Apply by June 20, 2016.

(Posted May 6, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Victims

OVC will make one award of up to $5 million to improve police response to domestic violence and sexual assault with a special emphasis on minority and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LQBTQ) communities (PDF 182 kb). The aim of the Initiative will be to integrate the Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims strategy and the principles outlined in the Department of Justice guidance to Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (PDF 563 kb) to reduce gender bias in police response to these crimes. Apply by June 20, 2016.

(Posted May 4, 2016)

Nominations Now Being Accepted for the 2017 Crime Victims' Service Awards

2017 NominationsSubmit Your Nominations for the 2017 National Crime Victims' Service Awards by July 31, 2016. Every year, OVC recognizes extraordinary individuals, organizations, teams, and programs that demonstrate outstanding achievements in supporting victims and victim services. The recipients are honored at the National Crime Victims' Service Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

View past recipients and, if you know a similarly deserving individual, group, team, or program, submit a nomination by July 31, 2016.

Visit the National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) website for details about the 2017 NCVRW observance, April 2-8, 2017, and the Awards Ceremony as they become available.

(Posted May 2, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Multidisciplinary Responses to Families and Communities in Complex Homicide Cases

OVC will make awards under two purpose areas to identify promising multidisciplinary approaches to addressing the needs of families and communities in extremely complex homicide cases (PDF 445 kb).

Under Purpose Area #1, OVC will make up to six awards of up to $600,000 each to organizations that demonstrate experience in responding to complex homicide cases and have capacity to implement multidisciplinary responses that are victim-centered and trauma-informed. OVC will place a priority in funding projects that can respond to specific types of homicide cases within the first 24–48 hours after a death has occurred. Funding under Purpose Area #1 will also support researcher/practitioner partnerships at each site to conduct program evaluation and identify evidence-based practices that can be replicated in other communities.

Under Purpose Area #2, OVC will make one award of up to $1.5 million to one technical assistance (TA) provider who will identify TA needs of the six direct service sites, convene grantee meetings and compile a compendium of promising practices that can be developed as a web-based resource and disseminated to the field. Apply by June 20, 2016.

(Posted May 2, 2016)

April 2016

Funding Opportunity: Improving Outcomes for Child and Youth Victims of Sex and Labor Trafficking

OVC will make up to two awards between $1 million and $3 million to develop, enhance, and coordinate programs and activities geared toward improving outcomes for child and youth victims of sex and labor trafficking (PDF 255 kb). The purpose of this grant is to identify a state or federally recognized Indian tribe’s greatest challenge in addressing trafficking of children and youth and to improve jurisdiction-wide coordination and multidisciplinary collaboration to address human trafficking involving children and youth. Apply by June 29, 2016.

(Posted April 29, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Training and Resources to Better Respond to Victims of Cyberviolence

One award of up to $1,500,000 will be made to fund training and resources to better respond to victims of cyberviolence (PDF 225 kb). This Vision 21 national-scope initiative includes an assessment of cyberviolence training currently available to and training needs of judicial professionals, an assessment of the needs of victims of cyberviolence, and the development and dissemination of training and technical assistance to be published and delivered by the grantee and/or project partners. Apply by June 7, 2016.

(Posted April 27, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Expand the National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network

OVC will make up to one award of up to $1,500,000 for a national training, technical assistance and network expansion effort that builds upon the existing National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network (NITVAN) program. Under the Vision 21 NITVAN II solicitation (PDF 212 kb), a national victim-serving organization will be awarded funding to expand the outreach and capacity of the existing ten, previously-funded, NITVAN coalitions with sub-award funding of up to $50,000 each to up to 20 new coalitions in years two and three of the three year program.

NITVAN II will help continue to build upon and improve the current policy development, training and service delivery portfolios at the local, state, and regional levels to address the needs of victims of identity theft now with additional emphasis on cybercrime. Apply by June 9, 2016.

(Posted April 26, 2016)

Funding Opportunities: Increasing Services for Urban American Indian and Alaska Native Victims of Sex Trafficking

OVC announces two grant opportunities to increase services for urban American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) victims of sex trafficking. The FY 2016 Project Beacon: Increasing Services to American Indian and Alaska Native Victims of Sex Trafficking (PDF 237 kb) funding opportunity will award up to $450,000 to eligible applicants whose primary mission is to provide services and assistance to AI/AN individuals who reside in urban population centers to develop their organizational capacity to provide direct services to AI/AN sex trafficking victims. Apply by June 21, 2016.

The FY 2016 Project Beacon Training and Technical Assistance Project (PDF 184 kb) funding opportunity will award up to $450,000 to one eligible applicant to provide training and technical assistance to award recipients under the FY 2016 Project Beacon: Increasing Services to American Indian and Alaska Native Victims of Sex Trafficking (Project Beacon) solicitation. The recipient of this award will provide ongoing education, training, support, and guidance to Project Beacon grantees. Apply by June 21, 2016.

(Posted April 22, 2016)

Get to know the Individuals and Organizations Recognized at the 2016 National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony

Attorney General Loretta Lynch honored nine individuals, programs, teams, and organizations during the April 12th National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony. Karol Mason, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, and Joye Frost, OVC Director, also addressed attendees at this annual event that honors extraordinary service to crime victims. If you missed the event or would like to learn more, visit:

(Posted April 12, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Update the VOCA Victim Assistance Administrators’ Toolkit and Crime Victim Compensation Manager’s Guidebook

Two separate competitive 24-month cooperative agreements of up to $150,000 each will be awarded to enhance the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Assistance toolkit and Victim Compensation guidebook by using field-generated comments and suggestions to shape these two tools to reflect technological changes in the field since their creation and include new regulations, and performance and grant requirements. These tools are invaluable resources for new state VOCA administrators and managers. Awards will be made to entities who demonstrate a deep understanding of the relationship between VOCA formula funding, VOCA State Administrating Agencies and VOCA subrecipients. Apply by May 23, 2016.

(Posted April 6, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: Self-Help Group for American Indian and Alaska Native Survivors of Homicide Facilitator’s Guide Project

One award of up to $475,000 will be made to provide support and healing to American Indian and Alaska Native survivors of homicide through development of a comprehensive facilitator’s guide for individuals who are interested in starting a self-help support group for American Indian and Alaska Native survivors of homicide; development and delivery of a two-day training curriculum to train peers and mental health professionals on how to use the guide to start and sustain local self-help groups for the target population; and ongoing technical assistance to facilitators. Apply by June 6, 2016.

(Posted April 4, 2016)

March 2016

Funding Opportunity: FY 2016 Specialized Services for Victims of Human Trafficking

Awards of up to $600,000 will be made to enhance the quality and quantity of specialized services available to assist all victims of human trafficking (PDF 247 kb), including services for underserved or unserved populations. Funding will also support efforts to increase the capacity of communities to respond to human trafficking victims through the development of interagency partnerships, professional training, and public awareness activities. Apply by May 12, 2016.

(Posted March 28, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: FY 2016 Comprehensive Services for Victims of All Forms of Human Trafficking

Awards of up to $750,000 will be made to enhance the quality and quantity of comprehensive services available to assist all victims of human trafficking by enhancing interagency collaboration and the coordinated community response to victims of human trafficking, and through the provision of high-quality services that address the individual needs of trafficking victims. Funding will also aid efforts to increase the capacity of communities to respond to human trafficking victims through the development of interagency partnerships, professional training, and public awareness activities. Apply by May 2, 2016.

(Posted March 16, 2016)

Funding Opportunity: FY 2016 Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking

OVC and BJA will award between $600,000 and $900,000 to law enforcement agencies and victim service providers to work collaboratively to develop and enhance multidisciplinary human trafficking task forces (PDF, 398 kb) that combat sex and labor trafficking of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens of all sexes and ages. Eligible applicants are law enforcement agencies and victim service providers who submit separate but coordinated proposals that outline how the funding will be used to implement the human trafficking task force specified within the application. Deadline: May 10, 2016.

(Posted March 8, 2016)

February 2016

Support for Victims of the Mass Shooting in Hesston, Kansas

OVC extends its deepest condolences to the victims of the mass shooting in Hesston, Kansas, and to their friends and families. OVC offers the following resources which may be able to help victims and their families, and victim service providers that are providing support to them during this difficult time: http://ovc.gov/news/Hesston_Kansas.html.

(Posted February 29, 2016)

2016 NCVRW Resource Guide is Now Available Online

2016 National Crime Victims’ Rights WeekOVC is pleased to announce the release of its 2016 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide. The Guide is an extensive online resource, providing all of the materials necessary to promote NCVRW within your community.

It provides a variety of campaign materials in both English and Spanish, including planning tips, a theme poster and video, artwork, and more. These materials can also be downloaded for use offline.

Please join OVC to help communities and victim assistance providers promote crime victim issues and services. Access the Resource Guide today.

(Posted February 26, 2016)

Support for Victims of the Shootings in Kalamazoo, Michigan

We at OVC express our condolences to the victims of the shootings in Kalamazoo, Michigan, their families and friends, the people of Michigan, and everyone across the Nation who joins in the grief felt by this community. OVC presents the following resources which may be able to help victims and their families, and victim service providers that are providing support to them during this difficult time: http://ovc.gov/news/Kalamazoo_Michigan.html.

(Posted February 23, 2016)

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Sample Proclamation

A primary goal of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) is to raise public awareness of victims’ rights and the services available to victims of crime. An effective way of doing that is providing local and state leaders with a sample proclamation, currently available, recognizing April 10-16, 2016, as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

Communities are encouraged to customize and share the proclamation with local and state leaders to highlight accomplishments, inspire the community and address unmet needs.

Learn more about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

(Posted February 18, 2016)

Register to Attend the National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony

The National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony will be held April 12, 2016, in Washington, DC. During the ceremony, OVC will recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding service in supporting crime victims and victim services. The event is free and open to the public; however, registration is required.

  • When: 2:00–3:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on April 12, 2016
  • Where: National Archives—William G. McGowan Theater
  • 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
  • Washington, DC 20408
  • Attendee Entrance: Constitution Avenue, between 7th and 9th Street, NW.

For more information about this event and to register, visit www.ncvrw.org by Friday, April 8, 2016.

(Posted February 10, 2016)

Victim-Centered, Trauma-Informed Victim Notification

Victim-Centered, Trauma-Informed Victim Notification

HTV Television, ©Bonnie
Jacobs/iStock LP,
©Jose AS Reyes/iStock LP
(see NIJ reuse policy).

OVC has partnered with the National Institute of Justice to inform practitioners about lessons learned in sexual assault kit research projects. A new publication, Notifying Sexual Assault Victims After Testing Evidence (PDF, 1.06 mb), explores the victim-centered approach that teams in Houston and Detroit used to develop victim notification protocols about the results of sexual assault kit (SAK) testing. These protocols may help other jurisdictions both in situations where a large number of previously untested SAKs are now being tested and in the investigation and prosecution of current cases.

Read the brochure to learn more.

(Posted February 2, 2016)

January 2016

Victims’ Voices Guide the New OVC Resources on Human Trafficking

The Faces of Human Trafficking video series and resource guide raises awareness of the seriousness of human trafficking, the many forms it takes, and the important role that everyone can play in identifying and serving victims. This new multidisciplinary resource includes:

  • Nine videos in English with Spanish subtitle
  • Public Service Announcements (PSAs) offered in English, Spanish, Thai, Hindi, and Tagalog
  • A discussion guide
  • Four OVC fact sheets
  • Four posters designed for service providers and allied professionals, law enforcement, the general public, and victims/survivors

Learn more about OVC’s human trafficking programs.

(Posted January 19, 2016)

 

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