FINAL PROGRAM GUIDELINES
Victims of Crime Act Victim Assistance Grant Program
Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime, Department of Justice
SUMMARY: The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), Office of
Justice Programs (OJP), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), is
publishing Final Program Guidelines to implement the victim
assistance grant program as authorized by the Victims of
Crime Act of 1984, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 10601, et seq.
(hereafter referred to as VOCA).
EFFECTIVE DATE: These guidelines are effective from October 1, 1996 (Federal
Fiscal Year 1997 VOCA grant program), until further revised by OVC.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VOCA authorizes federal financial
assistance to states for the purpose of compensating and
assisting victims of crime, providing funds for training and
technical assistance, and assisting victims of federal
crimes. These Program Guidelines provide information on the
administration and implementation of the VOCA victim
assistance grant program as authorized in Section 1404 of
VOCA, Public Law 98-473, as amended, codified at 42 U.S.C.
10603, and contain information under the following headings:
Summary of the Comments to the Proposed Program Guidelines;
Background; Allocation of VOCA Victim Assistance Funds; VOCA
Victim Assistance Application Process; Program Requirements;
Financial Requirements; Monitoring; and Suspension and
Termination of Funding. The Guidelines are based on the
experience gained and legal opinions rendered since the
inception of the grant program in 1986, and are in
accordance with VOCA. These Final Program Guidelines are
all inclusive. Thus, they supersede any Guidelines
previously issued by OVC.
OVC, in conjunction with DOJ's Office of Policy Development,
and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within
the Office for Management and Budget (OMB), has determined
that these Guidelines do not represent a "significant
regulatory action" for the purposes of Executive Order 12866
and, accordingly, these Program Guidelines were not reviewed
In addition, these Program Guidelines will not have a
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small
entities; therefore, an analysis of the impact of these
rules on such entities is not required by the Regulatory
Flexibility Act, codified at 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq.
The program reporting requirements described in the Program
Requirements section have been approved by OMB as required
under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3504(h). (OMB
Approval Number 1121-0014).
SUMMARY OF THE REVISIONS TO THE 1997 FINAL PROGRAM
As a result of comments from the field, recent legislative
amendments, and modifications of applicable federal
regulations, substantive changes were made to four sections
of the Proposed Program Guidelines, including: the
Availability of Funds, the Application Process, the Program
Requirements, and the Financial Requirements. These changes
are summarized in the paragraphs below, and incorporated
into the complete text of the Final Program Guidelines for
Crime Victim Assistance Grants. The Final Program
Guidelines also include several technical corrections that
are not listed in this summary because they do not affect
policy or program implementation.
A. Comments from the Field
In the interest of reaching a more diverse audience and making the review and comment process more convenient for victim service advocates and providers, OVC took several steps. In April, 1996, OVC asked the state VOCA victim assistance program administrators for their comments on the effective edition of the VOCA Victim Assistance Final Program Guidelines (published in October 27, 1995). On the basis of their comments and the suggestions of several other victim advocates, OVC developed Proposed VOCA Victim Assistance Program Guidelines. Throughout the year, the OVC Director and staff met individually and in groups with VOCA administrators and subgrantees to discuss revisions to the Guidelines. In November of 1996, OVC mailed copies of the Proposed Guidelines directly to all of the state VOCA victims assistance and victim compensation program administrators, as well to the representatives of approximately 20 national crime victim advocacy organizations. In early December, the Proposed Guidelines were posted on the OVC Website for review and comment by all interested parties. Finally, the Proposed Guidelines were published in the Federal Register on February 18, 1997.
Since last Spring, OVC has received approximately 90
recommendations, comments, and questions from VOCA
administrators, victim service providers, representatives of
national victim organizations, and other victim advocates
via telephone, mail, fax, and e-mail. The vast majority of
the comments supported the proposed changes to the
OVC received comments from experts in elder services that helped OVC redefine
"elder abuse" and include specific direction regarding respite care for elders,
emergency nursing home shelter for victims of elder abuse, and inclusion of
adult care providers in community cooperation efforts. These comments were made
by state and national organizations, including the US Department of Health and
Human Services Administration on Aging and the National Association of State
Units on Aging.
OVC also received comments from state and national domestic
violence organizations, such as the Pennsylvania Coalition
Against Domestic Violence and AYUDA, supporting the proposal
to expand VOCA-funded emergency legal assistance to include
child custody and visitation when such assistance is from
providers with a demonstrated history of advocacy on behalf
of domestic violence victims.
All of the comments received were invaluable in helping OVC
prepare the Final Victim Assistance Program Guidelines. A
summary of the changes occurring as a result of comments
from the field are listed below in the order in which they
appear in the Final Program Guidelines.
1. Definition of Crime Victim to Include Financial Harm. In Section I., Background, the definition of crime victim has been modified to specifically include victims of financial exploitation. Although VOCA-funded programs cannot restore the financial losses suffered by victims of fraud, victims are eligible for the counseling, criminal justice advocacy, and other support services offered by VOCA-funded victim assistance programs.
2. Training of Adult Protective Services Personnel. The
section on the VOCA Victim Assistance Application Process
(III.B.2.c.), which lists allowable uses of the
administrative cost provision, has been modified to
specifically include training for aging and adult
protective service providers.
3. Submission of Administrative Cost Provision Budget.
Previous editions of the Guidelines required state
grantees to submit a budget itemizing projected
administrative fund expenditures and a statement
describing the types of activities they would support and
how the expenditure was expected to improve the
administration of the VOCA program.
The State Grantee Application Process section (III.B.2.),
which describes the administrative cost provision, has
been modified to lessen the burden on state grantees.
Those states that use administrative funds must submit a
statement to OVC that reports only the amount of the total
grant that will be used as administrative funds. A
special condition will be added to the award document, and
periodic OJP financial reviews will be conducted to ensure
states' compliance with the Program Guidelines and OJP
Financial Guide to determine whether administrative funds
have been used for allowable purposes.
4. Training for Non-VOCA Funded Personnel. The State
Grantee Application Process section (III.C.), which
outlines the allowable use of training funds, has been
expanded to specifically include non-VOCA funded staff in
addition to VOCA-funded personnel.
5. Submission of Training Cost Provision Budget. In
previous editions of the Guidelines, state grantees were
required to submit a budget itemizing projected training
expenses and a statement describing the needs of the
providers and the goals of the training. The section on
the State Grantee Application Process (III.C.), has been
modified to lessen the burden on states. States using the
VOCA training funds must only report the amount of the
total grant that will be used for training. States still
must comply with OVC the 20% match requirement and other
guidance defining allowable uses for training funds.
6. Definition of Victims of Federal Crime. In response
to requests for clarification, the Program Requirements
section (IV.A.4.), has been modified to include a
definition of "victims of federal crime." For the
purposes of this program, a victim of federal crime is a
victim of an offense that violates a federal criminal
statute or regulation. Federal crimes also include crimes
that occur in an area where the federal government has
jurisdiction, such as Indian reservations, some national
parks, some federal buildings, and military installations.
7. Definition of Elder Abuse. The Program Requirements
section (IV.A.4.) describing grantee eligibility
requirements, has been modified so that the definition of
"elder abuse" now focuses on describing the offense,
rather than on characterizing the victim. Hence, the
definition, "abuse of vulnerable adults," has been
expanded to include "the mistreatment of older persons
through physical, sexual, or psychological violence;
neglect; or economic exploitation and fraud."
8. Identifying Underserved Victims of Crime. The Program
Requirements section (IV.A.4.) describing the state
grantee eligibility requirements, has been modified to
encourage states to identify gaps in available services,
not just by the types of crimes committed, but also by
victims' demographic characteristics. Thus, these Final
Guidelines ask grantees to examine the possibility that in
a given state, "underserved" victims may also be defined
by demographic characteristics such as their status as
senior citizens, non-English speaking residents, disabled
persons, members of racial or ethnic minorities, or by
virtue of the fact that they are residents of rural or
remote areas, or inner cities.
9. Funding New Programs. There was confusion about OVC's
intention regarding the funding of new crime victim
programs. Hence, language has been added to Section IV,
the Program Requirements (IV.B.3.), clarifying that new
programs that have not yet demonstrated a record of
providing services may be eligible to receive VOCA funding
if they can demonstrate that 25-50 percent of their
financial support comes from non-federal sources. States
are responsible for establishing the base level of non-federal support required within the 25-50 percent range.
10. Funding Unfunded Mandates. Recently, many state
legislatures have passed laws establishing important new
rights for crime victims. OVC wishes to clarify that VOCA
funds may be used for the purpose of implementing these
laws. Therefore, restrictive language from the previous
Guidelines has been eliminated. Please note that VOCA
crime victim assistance funds still may not be used to
supplant state and local funds that would otherwise be
available for crime victim services.
11. Child Abuse and Adult Protective Service Agencies.
Section IV., the Program Requirements section (IV.C.),
which describes the criteria for eligible subrecipient
organizations, has been modified to specifically include
child abuse programs and treatment facilities and adult
protective service agencies.
12. Legal Service Agencies or Programs with Records of
Serving Victims of Domestic Violence. The Program
Requirements section (IV.C.5.), which lists the local
public agencies eligible to receive VOCA subgrant funds,
has been modified to specifically include legal service
agencies or programs with a demonstrated history of
advocacy on behalf of domestic violence victims, including
13. State Grantees as Subrecipients. Section IV., the
Program Requirements (IV.C.5), has been modified with
regard to subgrants to state grantees. Since the
intention of the VOCA grant program is to support and
enhance the crime victim services provided by community
agencies, state grantees that meet the definition of an
eligible subrecipient organization may not award
themselves more than 10 percent of their annual VOCA
award. This limitation applies to all states and
territories, except for the Northern Mariana Islands,
Guam, American Samoa, and the Republic of Palau.
14. Nursing Homes as Emergency Shelters. Under the
Program Requirements section (IV.E.1.a.), which lists the
allowable costs for direct services, the Guidelines have
been modified to clarify that emergency shelter includes
short-term nursing home shelter for elder abuse victims
for whom no other safe, short-term residence is available.
15. Emergency Legal Assistance. The Program Requirements
section (IV.E.1.a.), which lists the allowable services,
activities, and costs at the subrecipient level, has been
modified to allow subgrantees discretion in providing
victims of domestic violence with legal assistance such as
child custody and visitation proceedings "when such
actions are directly connected to family violence cases
and are taken to ensure the health and safety of the
victim." The allowable "Contracts for Professional
Services" section (IV.E.2.g.) also has been modified to
include assistance with emergency custody and visitation
proceedings from providers with a demonstrated history of
advocacy on behalf of domestic violence victims.
16. Cost of Respite Care. The Program Requirements,
section (IV.E.1.c.), has been modified to specifically
state that assistance with participation in criminal
justice proceedings may include the cost of caring for a
dependent adult when this enables a victim to attend
17. Cost of Restitution Advocacy on Behalf of Individuals. The Program Requirement
section (IV.E.1.c.), Has been modified to state clearly that restitution advocacy
on behalf of specific crime victims is an allowable activity.
18. Restorative Justice. In many cases, victims are not familiar with the
nature and availability of restorative justice programs. Therefore, the Program
Requirements section (IV.E.1.h.), Has been modified to clarify that restorative
justice opportunities, where crime victims meet with perpetrators, are allowable,
if such meetings are requested "or voluntarily agreed to" by the victim. In
addition, since it is impossible to guarantee the therapeutic value of any activity,
this section of the Guidelines has been further modified to state that restorative
justice programs must have "possible beneficial or" therapeutic value to crime
19. Allowable Costs for Making Services Accessible to Victims with Disabilities. The Program Requirements section (IV.E.2.d.), listing allowable "non-direct" costs and services, has been modified to clarify that VOCA funds may be used to purchase items such as Braille equipment for the blind or TTY/TTD machines for the deaf, or to make minor building improvements that make services more accessible to victims with disabilities. Additional guidance can be found in the Office of Justice Programs, Office of the Comptroller, Financial Guide.
20. Advanced Technologies. In the Program Requirements
section (IV.E.2.f.), OVC offers the states clarification
that all subrecipients receiving VOCA funds for advanced
technologies such as computers and victim notification
systems must meet the usual program eligibility
requirements as set forth in the Guidelines.
21. Electronic Submission of Subgrant Award Reports. In the interest of meeting
OVC's mandate to collect and maintain accurate and timely information on the
disbursal of VOCA funds, the section describing the subgrant award report requirements
(V.A.) has been modified. Beginning with the Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 1997 VOCA
grant award, state grantees are required to transmit their Subgrant Award Report
information to OVC via the automated subgrant dial-in system within 90 days
of the date of the subaward. Grantees can access the system without incurring
a long distance telephone charge by utilizing the subgrant dial-in 1-800 number.
OVC will no longer accept manual submission of the Subgrant Award Reports. States
and territories outside of the continental US are exempt from the requirement
to use the subdial system, but these grantees must complete and submit the Subgrant
Award Report form, OJP 7390/2A, for each VOCA subrecipient.
B. Legislative Changes
1. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-132). The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-132) (hereafter, "The Antiterrorism Act"), was signed into law on April 24, 1996. This legislation contained a number of victim related provisions that amended VOCA, including four provisions concerning the "Availability of (VOCA victim assistance) Grant Funds."
a. Higher Base Award (II.C.). The Antiterrorism Act increases the base amount
for victim assistance grants from $200,000 to $500,000. The territories of Northern
Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa will continue to receive a base amount
of $200,000, with the Republic of Palau's share governed by the Compact of Free
Association between the US and the Republic of Palau.
b. OVC Reserve Fund (II.B.2.). The Antiterrorism Act authorizes the OVC Director
to establish a reserve fund, up to $50 million. Reserve fund monies may be used
for supplemental grants to assist victims of terrorist acts or mass violence
occurring within or outside the US The OVC Director may award reserve funds
to the following entities:
1) States for providing compensation and assistance to their state residents,
who, while outside of the borders of the US, become victims of a terrorist act
or mass violence. The beneficiaries, however, cannot be persons who are already
eligible for compensation under the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism
Act of 1986. Individuals covered under the Omnibus Diplomatic Security Act include
those who are taken captive because of their relationship with the US government
as a member of the US Civil Service, as well as other US citizens, nationals,
or resident aliens who are taken captive while rendering service to the US similar
to that of civil servants. Dependent family members of such persons also are
covered under the Act.
2) Eligible state crime victim compensation and assistance programs for providing
compensation and emergency relief for the benefit of victims of terrorist acts
or mass violence occurring within the US
3) US Attorneys' Offices for use in coordination with state victim compensation
and assistance efforts in providing relief to victims of terrorist acts or mass
violence occurring within the US
4) Eligible state compensation and assistance
programs to offset fluctuation in the funds during
years in which the Fund decreases and additional
monies are needed to stabilize funding for state
c. Unobligated Grant Funds (II.B.4.). Beginning with
FY 1997 VOCA grants, funds not obligated by the end of
the grant period, up to an annual national maximum of
$500,000, will be returned to the Fund, and not to the
General Treasury, as was the practice in previous
years. Returned funds in excess of $500,000 in a given
year shall be returned to the Treasury. Once any
portion of a state's grant is returned to the Fund, the
funds must be redistributed according to the formula
established by VOCA and the Proposed Program
Guidelines. States are encouraged to monitor closely
the expenditure of VOCA funds throughout the grant
period to avoid returning grant monies to OVC and/or
d. Grant Period Extended (II.B.3.). The Antiterrorism Act extended the VOCA victim assistance grant period from the year of award plus one, to the year of award plus two. Subsequent legislation further extended the grant period to the year of award plus three.
2. Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1997. The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1997 (P.L. 104-208) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in September, 1996. This Act further extended the grant period to the year of award plus three. This change is effective for all FY 1997 grants. The Final Program Guidelines clarify that funds are available for obligation beginning October 1 of the year of the award, through September 30 of the FY three years later. For example, grants awarded in November, 1996 (FY 1997) are available for obligation beginning October 1, 1996 through September 30, 2000. This modification is contained in the "Availability of Funds" section (II.B.3) of the Final Program Guidelines.
C. Changes in Applicable Federal Regulations
1. Mandatory Enrollment in US Treasury Department's Automated Clearing House
(ACH) Vendor Express Program. In accordance with the Debt Collection Improvement
Act of 1996, the US Treasury Department revised its regulations regarding federal
payments. The Final Program Guidelines have been modified to require that, effective
July 26, 1996, all federal payments to state VOCA victim assistance and compensation
grantees must be made via electronic funds transfer.
States that are new award recipients or those that have previously received
funds in the form of a paper check from the US Treasury must enroll in the Treasury
Department's ACH Vendor Express program through OJP before requesting any federal
funds. This means that VOCA grantees can no longer receive drawdowns against
their awards via paper check mailed from the Treasury. Grant recipients must
enroll in ACH for Treasury to electronically transfer drawdowns directly to
their banking institutions. States that are currently on the Letter of Credit
Electronic Certification System (LOCES) will be automatically enrolled in the
ACH program. Enrollment forms will be included in the award packet. Enrollment
in ACH need only be completed once. This modification is included in the "Application
Process" section (III.A.6.) of the Final Program Guidelines.
2. Higher Audit Threshold. In response to suggestions
made by many recipients of federal grant awards,
including VOCA grant recipients, OMB Circular A-133 is
being revised. Until the revisions are final, state
and local government agencies that receive $100,000 or
more in federal funds during their state fiscal year
are required to submit an organization-wide financial
and compliance audit report. Recipients of $25,000 to
$100,000 in federal funds are required to submit a
program- or organization-wide audit report as directed
by the granting agency. Recipients receiving less than
$25,000 in federal funds are not required to submit a
program- or organization-wide financial and compliance
audit report for that year. Nonprofit organizations
and institutions of higher education that expend
$300,000 or more in federal funds per year shall have
an organization-wide financial and compliance audit.
Grantees must submit audit reports within 13 months
after their state fiscal year ends.
Previously, states that received $100,000 or more in federal financial assistance
in any fiscal year were required to have a single audit for that year. States
and subrecipients receiving at least $25,000, but less than $100,000, in a fiscal
year had the option of performing a single audit or an audit of the federal
program, and state and local governments receiving less than $25,000 in any
fiscal year were exempt from audit requirements. This modification is contained
in the "Financial Requirements" section (IV.A.) Of the Proposed Program Guidelines.
GUIDELINES FOR CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE GRANTS
In 1984, VOCA established the Crime Victims Fund (Fund) in the US Treasury
and authorized the Fund to receive deposits of fines and penalties levied against
criminals convicted of federal crimes. This Fund provides the source of funding
for carrying out all of the activities authorized by VOCA.
OVC makes annual VOCA crime victim assistance grants from
the Fund to states. The primary purpose of these grants is
to support the provision of services to victims of crime
throughout the Nation. For the purpose of these Program
Guidelines, services are defined as those efforts that (1)
respond to the emotional and physical needs of crime
victims; (2) assist primary and secondary victims of crime
to stabilize their lives after a victimization; (3) assist
victims to understand and participate in the criminal
justice system; and (4) provide victims of crime with a
measure of safety and security such as boarding-up broken
windows and replacing or repairing locks.
For the purpose of the VOCA crime victim assistance grant
program, a crime victim is a person who has suffered
physical, sexual, financial, or emotional harm as a result
of the commission of a crime.
VOCA gives latitude to state grantees to determine how VOCA
victim assistance grant funds will best be used within each
state. However, each state grantee must abide by the
minimal requirements outlined in VOCA and these Program
II. ALLOCATION OF VOCA VICTIM ASSISTANCE FUNDS
A. Distribution of the Crime Victims Fund
OVC administers the deposits made into the Fund for programs
and services, as specified in VOCA. The amount of funds
available for distribution each year is dependent upon the
total deposits into the Fund during the preceding Federal
Fiscal Year (October 1 through September 30).
Pursuant to Section 1402 (d) of VOCA, deposits into the Fund
will be distributed as follows:
1. The first $3,000,000 deposited in the Fund in each fiscal year is available
to the Administrative Office of the US Courts (AOUSC) for administrative costs
to carry out the functions of the judicial branch under Sections 3611 and 3612
of Title 18 US Code. (Legislation is being drafted to repeal this provision.
If passed by Congress and signed by the President, AOUSC will no longer receive
an allocation from the Fund.)
2. Of the next $10,000,000 deposited in the Fund in a
particular fiscal year,
a. 85% shall be available to the Secretary of
Health and Human Services for grants under Section
4(d) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment
Act for improving the investigation and
prosecution of child abuse cases;
b. 15% shall be available to the Director of the
Office for Victims of Crime for grants under
Section 4(d) of the Child Abuse Prevention and
Treatment Act for assisting Native American Indian
tribes in developing, establishing, and operating
programs to improve the investigation and
prosecution of child abuse cases.
3. Of the remaining amount deposited in the Fund in a
particular fiscal year,
a. 48.5% shall be available for victim
b. 48.5% shall be available for victim assistance
c. 3% shall be available for demonstration
projects and training and technical assistance
services to eligible crime victim assistance
programs and for the financial support of services
to victims of federal crime by eligible crime
victim assistance programs.
B. Availability of Funds
1. VOCA Victim Assistance Grant Formula. All states, the District of Columbia,
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa,
Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau (hereinafter referred to as "states") are
eligible to apply for, and receive, VOCA victim assistance grants. See Section
1404(d)(1) of VOCA, codified at 42 U.S.C. 10603(d)(1).
2. Reserve Fund. As the result of provisions in the
Antiterrorism Act amending VOCA, the OVC Director is
authorized to retain funds in a reserve fund, up to $50
million. The Director may utilize the reserve funds in
a. Award supplemental grants to assist victims of terrorist acts or mass violence
outside or within the US The OVC Director may grant reserve funds for such purposes
to the following entities:
1) States for providing compensation and assistance to their state residents,
who while outside of the US become victims of a terrorist act or mass violence.
The beneficiaries, however, cannot be persons who are already eligible for compensation
under the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986.
Individuals covered under the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act include persons who are taken captive because of their relationship with the US Government as a member of the US Civil Service, as well as other US citizens, nationals, or resident aliens who are taken captive while rendering service to the US similar to that of civil servants. Dependent family members of such persons also are covered under the Omnibus Diplomatic Security Act.
2) Eligible state crime victim compensation and assistance programs for providing
emergency relief, including crisis assistance, training, and technical assistance
for the benefit of victims of terrorist acts or mass violence occurring within
3) US Attorney's Offices for use in coordination with state victim compensation
and assistance efforts in providing relief to victims of terrorist acts or mass
violence occurring within the US
b. Offset Fluctuations in Fund. The Director of
OVC may also use the reserve fund to offset
fluctuations in Fund deposits for state
compensation and assistance programs in years in
which the Fund decreases and additional monies are
needed to stabilize programs.
3. Grant Period. Federal legislation passed in 1996
also makes victim assistance grant funds available for
expenditure throughout the FY of award as well as in
the next three fiscal years. The FY begins on October
1 and ends on September 30. For example, grants
awarded in December, 1996 (FY 1997) are available for
obligation beginning October 1, 1996 through September
4. Grant Deobligations. VOCA grant funds not obligated at the end of the award period will be returned to the Crime Victims Fund. In a given fiscal year, no more than $500,000 of the remaining unobligated funds can be returned to the Fund. Amounts in excess of $500,000 shall be returned to the Treasury. Once any portion of a state's grant is returned to the Fund, the funds must be redistributed according to the rules established by VOCA and the Final Program Guidelines, so states are encouraged to monitor closely the expenditure of VOCA funds throughout the grant period to ensure that no funds are returned.
C. Allocation of Funds to States
From the Fund deposits available for victim assistance grants, each state grantee
receives a base amount of $500,000, except for the territories of Northern Mariana
Islands, Guam, and American Samoa, which are eligible to receive a base amount
of $200,000. The Republic of Palau's share is governed by the Compact of Free
Association between the US and the Republic of Palau. The remaining Fund deposits
are distributed to each state, based upon the state's population in relation
to all other states, as determined by current census data.
D. Allocation of Funds within the States
The Governor of each state designates the state agency that
will administer the VOCA victim assistance grant program.
The designated agency establishes policies and procedures,
which must meet the minimum requirements of VOCA and the
VOCA funds granted to the states are to be used by eligible
public and private nonprofit organizations to provide direct
services to crime victims. States have sole discretion for
determining which organizations will receive funds, and in
what amounts, as long as the recipients meet the
requirements of VOCA and the Program Guidelines.
State grantees are encouraged to develop a VOCA program
funding strategy, which should consider the following: the
range of victim services throughout the state and within
communities; the unmet needs of crime victims; the demographic profile of crime victims; the coordinated,
cooperative response of community organizations in
organizing services for crime victims; the availability of
services to crime victims throughout the criminal justice
process; and the extent to which other sources of funding
are available for services.
State grantees are encouraged to expand into new service
areas as needs and demographics of crime change within the
state. For example, when professional training, counseling,
and debriefings are made available to victim assistance
providers, dispatchers, and law enforcement officers in
rural or other remote areas, services to victims in these
areas improve dramatically. Victim services in rural or
remote areas can also be improved by using VOCA funds to
support electronic networking through computers, police
radios, and cellular phones.
Many state grantees use VOCA funds to stabilize victim
services by continuously funding selected organizations.
Some state grantees end funding to organizations after
several years in order to fund new organizations. Other
state grantees limit the number of years an organization may
receive VOCA funds. These practices are within the state
grantee's discretion and are supported by OVC, when they
serve the best interests of crime victims within the state.
State grantees may award VOCA funds to organizations that
are physically located in an adjacent state, when it is an
efficient and cost-effective mechanism available for
providing services to victims who reside in the awarding
state. When adjacent state awards are made, the amount of
the award must be proportional to the number of victims to
be served by the adjacent-state organization. OVC
recommends that grantees enter into an interstate agreement
with the adjacent state to address monitoring of the VOCA
subrecipient, auditing federal funds, managing noncompliance
issues, and reporting requirements. States must notify OVC
of each VOCA award made to an organization in another state.
III. VOCA VICTIM ASSISTANCE APPLICATION PROCESS
A. State Grantee Application Process
Each year, OVC issues a Program Instruction and Application Kit to each designated state agency. The Application Kit contains the necessary forms and information required to apply for VOCA grant funds, including the Application for Federal Assistance, Standard Form 424. The amount for which each state may apply is included in the Application Kit. At the time of application, state grantees are not required to provide specific information regarding the subrecipients that will receive VOCA victim assistance funds.
Completed applications must be submitted on or before the
stated deadline, as determined by OVC.
In addition to the Application for Federal Assistance, state
grantees shall submit the following information:
1. Single Audit Act Information, specifically, the
name and address of the designated cognizant federal
agency, the federal agency assigned by OMB, and the
dates of the state fiscal year.
2. Certifications Regarding Lobbying, Debarment,
Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters; Drug-Free
Workplace requirements; Civil Rights Compliance, and
any other certifications required by OJP and OVC. In
addition, states must complete a disclosure form
specifying any lobbying activities that are conducted.
3. An assurance that the program will comply with all
applicable nondiscrimination requirements.
4. An assurance that in the event a federal or state
administrative agency makes a finding of discrimination
after a due process hearing, on the grounds of race,
color, religion, origin, sex, or disability against the
program, the program will forward a copy of the finding
to OJP, Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
5. The name of the Civil Rights contact person who
has lead responsibility for ensuring that all
applicable civil rights requirements are met and who
shall act as liaison in civil rights matters with OCR.
6. Enrollment in Automated Clearing House (ACH). State agencies that are new
award recipients, or those that have previously received funds in the form of
a paper check from the US Treasury, must enroll in the Treasury Department's
ACH Vendor Express program through OJP before any federal funds will be disbursed.
States that are currently on the Letter of Credit Electronic Certification System
(LOCES) will be automatically enrolled in the ACH program. Enrollment in ACH
need only be completed once.
7. Administrative Cost Provision Notification. States must indicate in a letter transmitting their annual grant application whether they intend to use the administrative cost provision. Additional information about the administrative cost provision is set forth in the following section.
B. Administrative Cost Provision for State Grantees
Each state grantee may retain up to, but not more than, 5%
of each year's grant for administering the VOCA victim
assistance grant at the state grantee level with the
remaining portion being used exclusively for direct services
to crime victims or to train direct service providers in
accordance with these Program Guidelines, as authorized in
Section 1404(b)(3), codified at 42 U.S.C. 10603 (b)(3).
Administrative funds must be expended during the project
period for which the grant was awarded. States are not
authorized to roll-over administrative funds from one
project period to the next. The administrative cost
provision is available only to the state grantee and not to
VOCA subrecipients. State grantees are not required to
match the portion of the grant that is used for
administrative purposes. The state administrative agency
may charge any federally approved indirect cost rate to this
grant. However, any indirect costs requested must be paid
from the 5 percent administrative funds.
This administrative cost provision is to be used by the
state grantee to expand, enhance, and/or improve the state's
previous level of effort in administering the VOCA victim
assistance grant program at the state level and to support
activities and costs that impact the delivery and quality of
services to crime victims throughout the state. Thus,
grantees will be required to certify that VOCA
administrative funds will not be used to supplant state
funds. This information will assist OVC in evaluating
requests to use administrative funds.
State grantees will not be in violation of the
nonsupplantation clause if there is a decrease in the
state's previous financial commitment towards the
administration of the VOCA grant programs in the following
situations: 1) A serious loss of revenue at the state level,
resulting in across-the-board budget restrictions. 2) A
decrease in the number of "state-supported" staff positions
used to meet the state's "maintenance of effort" in
administering the VOCA grant programs.
States are required to notify OVC if there is a decrease in
the amount of its previous financial commitment to the cost
of administering the VOCA program.
State grantees are not required to match the portion of the
grant that is used for administrative purposes.
1. The following are examples of activities that are
directly related to managing the VOCA grant and can be
supported with administrative funds:
a. Pay salaries and benefits for staff and
consultant fees to administer and manage the
financial and programmatic aspects of VOCA;
b. Attend OVC-sponsored and other relevant
technical assistance meetings that address issues
and concerns to state administration of victims'
c. Monitor VOCA Victim Assistance subrecipients,
and potential subrecipients, provide technical
assistance, and/or evaluation and assessment of
d. Purchase equipment for the state grantee such
as computers, software, fax machines, copying machines;
e. Train VOCA direct service providers;
f. Purchase memberships in crime victims organizations and victim-related materials such as curricula, literature, and protocols; and
g. Pay for program audit costs;
h. Pay for indirect costs at a federally approved
indirect cost rate that when applied, does not
exceed the 5 percent administrative cost
2. The following activities impact the delivery and
quality of services to crime victims throughout the
state and, thus, can be supported by administrative
a. Develop strategic plans on a state and/or
regional basis, conduct surveys and needs
assessments, promote innovative approaches to
serving crime victims such as through the use of
b. Improve coordination efforts on behalf of
crime victims with other federally funded programs
and with federal, state, and local agencies and
c. Provide training on crime victim issues to
state, public, and nonprofit organizations that
serve or assist crime victims such as law
enforcement officials, prosecutors, judges,
corrections personnel, social service workers,
child and youth service providers, aging and adult
protective service providers, and mental health
and medical professionals;
d. Purchase, print, and/or develop publications
such as training manuals for service providers,
victim services directories, and brochures;
e. Coordinate and develop protocols, policies,
and procedures that promote systemic change in the
ways crime victims are treated and served; and
f. Train managers of victim service agencies.
Each state grantee that chooses to use administrative funds
is required to submit a statement to OVC reporting the
amount of the total grant that will be used as
administrative funds. State grantees may notify OVC when
the decision is made to exercise this option or at the time
the Application for Federal Assistance is submitted. In
addition, the grantee must maintain adequate documentation
to support the expenditure of these funds.
A state may modify projections set forth in their
application by notifying OVC, in writing, of the revised
amount of the total grant that will be used as
administrative funds. Failure to notify OVC of
modifications will prevent the state from meeting its
obligation to reconcile its State-wide Report with its Final
Financial Status Report.
Administrative grant funds can only support that portion of
a staff person's time devoted to the VOCA assistance
program. If the staff person has other functions, the
proportion of their time spent on the VOCA assistance
program must be documented using regular time and attendance
records. The documentation must provide a clear audit trail
for the expenditure of grant funds.
State grantees may choose to award administrative funds to a
"conduit" organization that assists in selecting qualified
subrecipients and/or reduces the state grantee's
administrative burden in implementing the grant program.
However, the use of a "conduit" organization does not
relieve the state grantee from ultimate programmatic and
C. Use of Funds for Training
State grantees have the option of retaining a portion of their VOCA victim
assistance grant for conducting statewide and/or regional trainings of victim
services staff. The maximum amount permitted for this purpose is one percent
of the state's grant. State grantees that choose to sponsor statewide or regional
trainings are not precluded from awarding VOCA funds to subrecipients for other
types of staff development.
Statewide or regional training supported with training funds
should target a diverse audience of victim service providers
and allied professionals, including VOCA funded and non-VOCA
funded personnel, and should provide opportunities to
consider issues related to types of crime, gaps in services,
coordination of services, and legislative mandates.
Each training activity must occur within the grant period,
and all training costs must be obligated prior to the end of
the grant period. VOCA grant funds cannot be used to
supplant the cost of existing state administrative staff or
related state training efforts.
Each state grantee that chooses to use training funds is
required to submit a statement to OVC reporting the amount
of the total grant that will be used to pay for training.
Grantees must maintain adequate documentation to support the
expenditure of these funds.
A state may modify projections set forth in their application by notifying
OVC of the revised amount of the total grant that will be used as training funds.
Failure to notify OVC of modifications will prevent the state from meeting its
obligation to reconcile its Statewide Report with its Final Financial Status
The VOCA funds used for training by the state grantee must
be matched at 20 percent of the total project cost, cash or
in-kind, and the source of the match must be described. For
further information regarding match requirements, see the
section on Subrecipient Organization Eligibility
IV. PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
A. State Grantee Eligibility Requirements
When applying for the VOCA victim assistance grant, state
grantees are required to give assurances that the following
conditions or requirements will be met:
1. Must Be an Eligible Organization. States should ensure that only eligible organizations receive VOCA funds, and that these funds are used only for services to victims of crime, except those funds that the state grantee uses for training victim service providers and/or administrative purposes, as authorized by Section 1404(b) codified at 42 U.S.C. 10603(b). See section E. Services, Activities, and Costs at the Subrecipient Level for examples of direct services to crime victims.
2. Nonsupplantation. VOCA crime victim assistance
grant funds will be used to enhance or expand services
and will not be used to supplant state and local funds
that would otherwise be available for crime victim
services. See Section 1404(a)(2)(c), codified at 42
U.S.C. 10603(a)(2)(C). This supplantation clause
applies to state and local public agencies only.
3. Priority Areas. Priority shall be given to victims
of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and child abuse.
Thus, a minimum of 10% of each FY's grant (30% total)
will be allocated to each of these categories of crime
victims. This grantee requirement does not apply to
Each state grantee must meet this requirement, unless
it can demonstrate to OVC that: (1) a "priority"
category is currently receiving significant amounts of
financial assistance from the state or other funding
sources; (2) a smaller amount of financial assistance,
or no assistance, is needed from the VOCA victim
assistance grant program; and (3) crime rates for a
"priority" category have diminished.
4. "Previously Underserved" Priority Areas. An
additional 10% of each VOCA grant will be allocated to
victims of violent crime (other than "priority"
category victims) who were "previously underserved."
These underserved victims of either adult or juvenile
offenders may include, but are not limited to, victims
of federal crimes; survivors of homicide victims; or
victims of assault, robbery, gang violence, hate and
bias crimes, intoxicated drivers, bank robbery,
economic exploitation and fraud, and elder abuse.
For the purposes of this program, a victim of federal
crime is a victim of an offense that violates a federal
criminal statute or regulation. Federal crimes also
include crimes that occur in an area where the federal
government has jurisdiction, such as Indian
reservations, some national parks, some federal
buildings, and military installations.
For the purposes of this program, elder abuse is
defined as the mistreatment of older persons through
physical, sexual, or psychological violence, neglect,
or economic exploitation and fraud.
To meet the underserved requirement, state grantees must identify crime victims
by the types of crimes they have experienced (e.g., drunk driving, sexual assault,
or domestic violence). States are encouraged to also identify gaps in available
services by victims' demographic characteristics. For example, in a given state,
"underserved" victims may be best defined according to their status as
senior citizens, non-English speaking residents, persons with disabilities,
members of racial or ethnic minorities, or by virtue of the fact that they are
residents of rural or remote areas, or inner cities. Each state grantee has
latitude for determining the method for identifying "previously underserved"
crime victims, which may include public hearings, needs assessments, task forces,
and meetings with statewide victim services agencies.
Each state grantee must meet this requirement, unless it can justify to OVC that (a) services to these victims of violent crime are receiving significant amounts of financial assistance from the state or other funding sources; (b) a smaller amount of financial assistance, or no assistance, is needed from the VOCA victim assistance grant program; and (c) crime rates for these victims of violent crime have diminished.
5. Financial Record Keeping and Program Monitoring.
Appropriate accounting, auditing, and monitoring
procedures will be used at the grantee and subrecipient
levels so that records are maintained to ensure fiscal
control, proper management, and efficient disbursement
of the VOCA victim assistance funds, in accordance with
the OJP Financial Guide, effective edition.
6. Compliance with Federal Laws. Compliance with all
federal laws and regulations applicable to federal
assistance programs and with the provisions of Title 28
of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) applicable to
7. Compliance with VOCA. Compliance by the state grantee and subrecipients with the applicable provisions of VOCA and the Final Program Guidelines.
8. Required Reports Submitted to OVC. Programmatic
and financial reports shall be submitted. [See Program
Requirements (Section IV.) and Financial Requirements
(Section V.) for reporting requirements and timelines.]
9. Civil Rights. Prohibition of Discrimination for
Recipients of Federal Funds. No person in any state
shall, on the grounds of race, color, religion,
national origin, sex, age, or disability be excluded
from participation in, be denied the benefits of, be
subjected to discrimination under, or denied employment
in connection with any program or activity receiving
federal financial assistance, pursuant to the following
statutes and regulations: Section 809(c), Omnibus
Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as amended,
42 U.S.C. 3789d, and Department of Justice
Nondiscrimination Regulations, 28 CFR Part 42, Subparts
C, D, E, and G; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000d, et seq.; Section 504
of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29
U.S.C. 794; Subtitle A, Title II of the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. 12101, et seq. and
Department of Justice regulations on disability
discrimination, 28 CFR Part 35 and Part 39; Title IX of
the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, 20 U.S.C.
1681-1683; and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as
amended, 42 U.S.C. 6101, et seq.
10. Obligation to Report Discrimination Finding. In
the event a federal or state court or administrative
agency makes a finding of discrimination on the grounds
of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or
disability against a recipient of VOCA victim
assistance funds, state grantees are required to
forward a copy of the finding to the Office for Civil
Rights (OCR) for OJP.
11. Obligation to Report Other Allegations/Findings.
In the event of a formal allegation or a finding of
fraud, waste, and/or abuse of VOCA funds, state
grantees are required to immediately notify OVC of said
finding. State grantees are also obliged to apprise
OVC of the status of any on-going investigations.
12. Coordination with State VOCA Compensation Program and Federal Law Enforcement.
OVC encourages state grantees to coordinate their activities with their state's
VOCA compensation program and the US Attorneys' Offices and FBI Field Offices
within their state. Only with an emphasis on coordination will a continuum of
services be ensured for all crime victims. Coordination strategies could include
inviting Compensation Program Directors and Federal Victim-Witness Coordinators
to serve on subgrant review committees; providing Compensation Program Directors
and Federal Victim-Witness Coordinators with a list of VOCA-funded organizations;
attending meetings organized by Compensation Program Directors and Federal Victim-Witness
Coordinators regarding the provision of victim assistance services; providing
training activities for subrecipients to learn about the compensation program;
developing joint guidance, where applicable, on third-party payments to VOCA
assistance organizations; and providing training for compensation program staff
on the trauma of victimization, particularly for victims of economic crime and
survivors of homicide victims.
B. Subrecipient Organization Eligibility Requirements
VOCA establishes eligibility criteria that must be met by
all organizations that receive VOCA funds. These funds are
to be awarded to subrecipients only for providing services
to victims of crime through their staff. Each subrecipient
organization shall meet the following requirements:
1. Public or Nonprofit Organization. To be eligible
to receive VOCA funds, organizations must be operated
by public or nonprofit organization, or a combination
of such organizations, and provide services to crime
2. Record of Effective Services. Demonstrate a record
of providing effective services to crime victims. This
includes having the support and approval of its
services by the community, a history of providing
direct services in a cost-effective manner, and
financial support from other sources.
3. New Programs. Those programs that have not yet demonstrated a record of
providing services may be eligible to receive VOCA funding, if they can demonstrate
that 25-50 percent of their financial support comes from non-federal sources.
It is important that organizations have a variety of funding sources besides
federal funding in order to ensure their financial stability. States are responsible
for establishing the base level of nonfederal support required within the 25-50
4. Program Match Requirements. The purpose of matching contributions is to
increase the amount of resources available to the projects supported by grant
funds. Matching contributions of 20% (cash or in-kind) of the total cost of
each VOCA project (VOCA grant plus match) are required for each VOCA-funded
project and must be derived from nonfederal sources, except as provided in the
OJP Financial Guide, effective edition (Part III. Post Award Requirements,
Chapter 3. Matching or Cost Sharing). All funds designated as match are restricted
to the same uses as the VOCA victim assistance funds and must be expended within
the grant period. Match must be provided on a project-by-project basis. Any
deviation from this policy must be approved by OVC.
For the purposes of this program, in-kind match may include donations of expendable equipment, office supplies, workshop or classroom materials, work space, or the monetary value of time contributed by professionals and technical personnel and other skilled and unskilled labor, if the services they provide are an integral and necessary part of a funded project. The value placed on donated services must be consistent with the rate of compensation paid for similar work in the subrecipient's organization. If the required skills are not found in the subrecipient's organization, the rate of compensation must be consistent with the labor market. In either case, fringe benefits may be included in the valuation. The value placed on loaned or donated equipment may not exceed its fair market value. The value of donated space may not exceed the fair rental value of comparable space as established by an independent appraisal of comparable space and facilities in privately-owned buildings in the same locality.
a. Record Keeping. VOCA recipients and their subrecipients must maintain records that clearly show the source, the amount, and the period during which the match was allocated. The basis for determining the value of personal services, materials, equipment, and space must be documented. Volunteer services must be documented, and to the extent feasible, supported by the same methods used by the subrecipient for its own paid employees. The state has primary responsibility for subrecipient compliance with the requirements. State grantees are encouraged not to require excessive amounts of match.
b. Exceptions to the 20% Match. OVC sets a lower
match requirements for:
1) Native American Tribes/Organizations Located on Reservations. The match
for new or existing VOCA subrecipients that are Native American tribes/organizations
located on reservations is 5% (cash or in-kind) of the total VOCA project. For
the purpose of this grant, a Native American tribe/organization is defined as
any tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, which is recognized
as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the US to Native
Americans because of their status as Native Americans. A reservation is defined
as a tract of land set aside for use of, and occupancy by, Native Americans.
2) The US Virgin Islands, and all other territories and possessions of the
US, except Puerto Rico, are not required to match VOCA funds. See 48
3) OVC may waive the match requirement if extraordinary need is documented by State VOCA administrators.
5. Volunteers. Subrecipient organizations must use
volunteers unless the state grantee determines there is
a compelling reason to waive this requirement. A
"compelling reason" may be a statutory or contractual
provision concerning liability or confidentiality of
counselor/victim information, which bars using
volunteers for certain positions, or the inability to
recruit and maintain volunteers after a sustained and
6. Promote Community Efforts to Aid Crime Victims.
Promote, within the community, coordinated public and
private efforts to aid crime victims. Coordination may
include, but is not limited to, serving on state,
federal, local, or Native American task forces,
commissions, working groups, coalitions, and/or multi-disciplinary teams. Coordination efforts also include
developing written agreements that contribute to better
and more comprehensive services to crime victims.
Coordination efforts qualify an organization to receive
VOCA victim assistance funds, but are not activities
that can be supported with VOCA funds.
7. Help Victims Apply for Compensation Benefits. Such
assistance may include identifying and notifying crime
victims of the availability of compensation, assisting
them with application forms and procedures, obtaining
necessary documentation, and/or checking on claim
8. Comply with Federal Rules Regulating Grants.
Subrecipients must comply with the applicable
provisions of VOCA, the Program Guidelines, and the
requirements of the OJP Financial Guide, effective
edition, which includes maintaining appropriate
programmatic and financial records that fully disclose
the amount and disposition of VOCA funds received.
This includes: financial documentation for disbursements; daily time and attendance records specifying
time devoted to allowable VOCA victim services; client
files; the portion of the project supplied by other
sources of revenue; job descriptions; contracts for
services; and other records which facilitate an
9. Maintain Civil Rights Information. Maintain
statutorily required civil rights statistics on victims
served by race, national origin, sex, age, and
disability, within the timetable established by the
state grantee; and permit reasonable access to its
books, documents, papers, and records to determine
whether the subrecipient is complying with applicable
civil rights laws. This requirement is waived when
providing a service, such as telephone counseling,
where soliciting the information may be inappropriate
or offensive to the crime victim.
10. Comply with State Criteria. Subrecipients must
abide by any additional eligibility or service criteria
as established by the state grantee including
submitting statistical and programmatic information on
the use and impact of VOCA funds, as requested by the
11. Services to Victims of Federal Crimes. Subrecipients must provide services to victims of federal crimes on the same basis as victims of state/local crimes.
12. No Charge to Victims for VOCA-Funded Services.
Subrecipients must provide services to crime victims,
at no charge, through the VOCA-funded project. Any
deviation from this provision requires prior approval
by the state grantee. Prior to authorizing subreci-pients to generate income, OVC strongly encourages
administrators to carefully weigh the following
considerations regarding federal funds generating
income for subrecipient organizations.
a. The purpose of the VOCA victim assistance grant program is to provide services to all crime victims regardless of their ability to pay for services rendered or availability of insurance or other third-party payment resources. Crime victims suffer tremendous emotional, physical, and financial losses. It was never the intent of VOCA to exacerbate the impact of the crime by asking the victim to pay for services.
b. State grantees must ensure that they and their
subrecipients have the capability to track program
income in accordance with federal financial
accounting requirements. All VOCA-funded program
and match income, no matter how large or small,
the VOCA grant.
Program income can be problematic because of the
required tracking systems needed to monitor VOCA-funded income and ensure that it is used only to
make additional services available to crime
victims. For example: VOCA often funds only a
portion of a counselor's time. Accounting for
VOCA program income generated by this counselor is
complicated, involving careful record keeping by
the counselor, the subrecipient program, and the
13. Client-Counselor and Research Information Confidentiality. Maintain confidentiality of client-counselor information, as required by state and federal law.
14. Confidentiality of Research Information. Except
as otherwise provided by federal law, no recipient of
monies under VOCA shall use or reveal any research or
statistical information furnished under this program by
any person and identifiable to any specific private
person for any purpose other than the purpose for which
such information was obtained in accordance with VOCA.
Such information, and any copy of such information,
shall be immune from legal process and shall not,
without the consent of the person furnishing such
information, be admitted as evidence or used for any
purpose in any action, suit, or other judicial,
legislative, or administrative proceeding. See Section
1407(d) of VOCA codified at 42 U.S.C. 10604.
These provisions are intended, among other things, to ensure the confidentiality of information provided by crime victims to counselors working for victim services programs receiving VOCA funds. Whatever the scope of application given this provision, it is clear that there is nothing in VOCA or its legislative history to indicate that Congress intended to override or repeal, in effect, a state's existing law governing the disclosure of information which is supportive of VOCA's fundamental goal of helping crime victims. For example, this provision would not act to override or repeal, in effect, a state's existing law pertaining to the mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse. See Pennhurst School and Hospital v. Halderman, et al., 451 US 1 (1981). Furthermore, this confidentiality provision should not be interpreted to thwart the legitimate informational needs of public agencies. For example, this provision does not prohibit a domestic violence shelter from acknowledging, in response to an inquiry by a law enforcement agency conducting a missing person investigation, that the person is safe in the shelter. Similarly, this provision does not prohibit access to a victim service project by a federal or state agency seeking to determine whether federal and state funds are being utilized in accordance with funding agreements.
C. Eligible Subrecipient Organizations
VOCA specifies that an organization must provide services to
crime victims and be operated by a public agency or
nonprofit organization, or a combination of such agencies or
organizations in order to be eligible to receive VOCA
funding. Eligible organizations include victim services
organizations whose sole mission is to provide services to
crime victims. These organizations include, but are not
limited to, sexual assault and rape treatment centers,
domestic violence programs and shelters, child abuse
programs, centers for missing children, mental health
services, and other community-based victim coalitions and
support organizations including those who serve survivors of
In addition to victim services organizations, whose sole
purpose is to serve crime victims, there are many other
public and nonprofit organizations that have components
which offer services to crime victims. These organizations
are eligible to receive VOCA funds, if the funds are used to
expand or enhance the delivery of crime victims' services.
These organizations include, but are not limited to, the
1. Criminal Justice Agencies. Such agencies as law enforcement organizations, prosecutors' offices, courts, corrections departments, and probation and paroling authorities are eligible to receive VOCA funds to help pay for victims' services. For example, prosecutor-based victim services may include victim-witness programs, victim notification, and victim impact statements, including statements of pecuniary damages for restitution. Corrections-based victim services may include victim notification, restitution advocacy, victim-offender mediation programs, and victim impact panels. Police-based victim services may include victim crisis units or victim advocates, victim registration and notification, and cellular phone and alarm services for domestic abuse victims. In general, VOCA funds may be used to provide crime victim services that exceed a law enforcement official's normal duties. Regular law enforcement duties such as crime scene intervention, questioning of victims and witnesses, investigation of the crime, and follow-up activities may not be paid for with VOCA funds.
2. Religiously-Affiliated Organizations. Such
organizations receiving VOCA funds must ensure that
services are offered to all crime victims without
regard to religious affiliation and that the receipt of
services is not contingent upon participation in a
religious activity or event.
3. State Crime Victim Compensation Agencies.
Compensation programs, including both centralized and
decentralized programs, may receive VOCA assistance
funds if they offer direct services to crime victims
that extend beyond the essential duties of compensation
staff such as claims investigations, distribution of
information about compensation and referral to other
sources of public and private assistance. Such
services would include assisting victims in identifying
and accessing needed services and resources.
4. Hospitals and Emergency Medical Facilities. Such organizations must offer
crisis counseling, support groups, and/or other types of victim services. In
addition, state grantees may only award VOCA funds to a medical facility for
the purpose of performing forensic examinations on sexual assault victims if
(1) the examination meets the standards established by the state, local prosecutor's
office, or statewide sexual assault coalition; and (2) appropriate crisis
counseling and/or other types of victim services are offered to the victim in
conjunction with the examination.
5. Others: State and local public agencies such as
mental health service organizations, state/local public
child and adult protective services, state grantees,
legal services agencies and programs with a
demonstrated history of advocacy on behalf of domestic
violence victims, and public housing authorities that
have components specifically trained to serve crime
victims. Since the intention of the VOCA grant program
is to support and enhance the crime victim services
provided by community agencies, state grantees that
meet the definition of an eligible subrecipient
organization may not subaward themselves more than 10
percent of their annual VOCA award. This limitation
applies to all states and territories, except for the
Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the
Republic of Palau.
D. Ineligible Recipients of VOCA Funds
Some public and nonprofit organizations that offer services
to crime victims are not eligible to receive VOCA victim
assistance funding. These organizations include, but are
not limited to, the following:
1. Federal Agencies. This includes US Attorneys Offices and FBI Field Offices.
Receipt of VOCA funds would constitute an augmentation of the federal budget
with money intended for state agencies. However, private nonprofit organizations
that operate on federal land may be eligible subrecipients of VOCA victim assistance
2. In-Patient Treatment Facilities. For example, those designed to provide treatment to individuals with drug, alcohol, and/or mental health-related conditions.
E. Services, Activities, and Costs at the Subrecipient
1. Allowable Costs for Direct Services. The following
is a listing of services, activities, and costs that
are eligible for support with VOCA victim assistance
grant funds within a subrecipient's organization:
a. Immediate Health and Safety. Those services
which respond to the immediate emotional and
physical needs (excluding medical care) of crime
victims such as crisis intervention; accompaniment
to hospitals for medical examinations; hotline
counseling; emergency food, clothing,
transportation, and shelter (including emergency,
short-term nursing home shelter for elder abuse
victims for whom no other safe, short-term
residence is available); and other emergency
services that are intended to restore the victim's
sense of security. This includes services which
offer an immediate measure of safety to crime
victims such as boarding-up broken windows and
replacing or repairing locks. Also allowable is
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
b. Mental Health Assistance. Those services and
activities that assist the primary and secondary
victims of crime in understanding the dynamics of
victimization and in stabilizing their lives after
a victimization such as counseling, group
treatment, and therapy. "Therapy" refers to
intensive professional psychological/psychiatric
treatment for individuals, couples, and family
members related to counseling to provide emotional
support in crises arising from the occurrence of
crime. This includes the evaluation of mental
health needs, as well as the actual delivery of
c. Assistance with Participation in Criminal
Justice Proceedings. In addition to the cost of
emergency legal services noted above in section a.
"Immediate Health and Safety", there are other
costs associated with helping victims participate
in the criminal justice system that also are
allowable. These services may include advocacy on
behalf of crime victims; accompaniment to criminal
justice offices and court; transportation to
court; child care or respite care to enable a
victim to attend court; notification of victims
regarding trial dates, case disposition
information, and parole consideration procedures;
and assistance with victim impact statements.
State grantees may also fund projects devoted to
restitution advocacy on behalf of specific crime
victims. VOCA funds cannot be used to pay for
non-emergency legal representation such as for
divorces, or civil restitution recovery efforts.
d. Forensic Examinations. For sexual assault
victims, forensic exams are allowable costs only
to the extent that other funding sources (such as
state compensation or private insurance or public
benefits) are unavailable or insufficient and,
such exams conform with state evidentiary
collection requirements. State grantees should
establish procedures to monitor the use of VOCA
victim assistance funds to pay for forensic
examinations in sexual assault cases.
e. Costs Necessary and Essential to Providing
Direct Services. This includes pro-rated costs of
rent, telephone service, transportation costs for
victims to receive services, emergency
transportation costs that enable a victim to
participate in the criminal justice system, and
local travel expenses for service providers.
f. Special Services. Services to assist crime
victims with managing practical problems created
by the victimization such as acting on behalf of
the victim with other service providers,
creditors, or employers; assisting the victim to
recover property that is retained as evidence;
assisting in filing for compensation benefits; and
helping to apply for public assistance.
g. Personnel Costs. Costs that are directly
related to providing direct services, such as
staff salaries and fringe benefits, including
malpractice insurance; the cost of advertising to
recruit VOCA-funded personnel; and the cost of
training paid and volunteer staff.
h. Restorative Justice. Opportunities for crime
victims to meet with perpetrators, if such
meetings are requested or voluntarily agreed to by
the victim and have possible beneficial or
therapeutic value to crime victims.
State grantees that plan to fund this type of
service should closely review the criteria for
conducting these meetings. At a minimum, the
following should be considered: (1) the safety
and security of the victim; (2) the benefit or
therapeutic value to the victim; (3) the
procedures for ensuring that participation of the
victim and offender are voluntary and that
everyone understands the nature of the meeting,
(4) the provision of appropriate support and
accompaniment for the victim, (5) appropriate
"debriefing" opportunities for the victim after
the meeting or panel, (6) the credentials of the
facilitators, and (7) the opportunity for a crime
victim to withdraw from the process at any time.
State grantees are encouraged to discuss proposals
with OVC prior to awarding VOCA funds for this
type of activity. VOCA assistance funds cannot be
used for victim-offender meetings which serve to
replace criminal justice proceedings.
2. Other Allowable Costs and Services. The services, activities, and costs listed below are not generally considered direct crime victim services, but are often a necessary and essential activity to ensure that quality direct services are provided. Before these costs can be supported with VOCA funds, the state grantee and subrecipient must agree that direct services to crime victims cannot be offered without support for these expenses; that the subrecipient has no other source of support for them; and that only limited amounts of VOCA funds will be used for these purposes. The following list provides examples of such items:
a. Skills Training for Staff. VOCA funds
designated for training are to be used exclusively
for developing the skills of direct service
providers including paid staff and volunteers, so
that they are better able to offer quality
services to crime victims. An example of skills
development is training focused on how to respond
to a victim in crisis.
VOCA funds can be used for training both VOCA-funded and non-VOCA-funded service providers who work within a VOCA recipient organization, but VOCA funds cannot be used for management and administrative training for executive directors, board members, and other individuals that do not provide direct services.
b. Training Materials. VOCA funds can be used to
purchase materials such as books, training
manuals, and videos for direct service providers,
within the VOCA-funded organization, and can
support the costs of a trainer for in-service
staff development. Staff from other organizations
can attend in-service training activities that are
held for the subrecipient's staff.
c. Training Related Travel. VOCA funds can
support costs such as travel, meals, lodging, and
registration fees to attend training within the
state or a similar geographic area. This
limitation encourages state grantees and
subrecipients to first look for available training
within their immediate geographical area, as
travel costs will be minimal. However, when
needed training is unavailable within the
immediate geographical area, state grantees may
authorize using VOCA funds to support training
outside of the geographical area. For example,
VOCA grantees may benefit by attending national
conferences that offer skills building training
workshops for victim assistance providers.
d. Equipment and Furniture. VOCA funds may be used to purchase furniture and equipment that provides or enhances direct services to crime victims, as demonstrated by the VOCA subrecipient.
VOCA funds cannot support the entire cost of an
item that is not used exclusively for victim-related activities. However, VOCA funds can
support a prorated share of such an item. In
addition, subrecipients cannot use VOCA funds to
purchase equipment for another organization or
individual to perform a victim-related service.
Examples of allowable costs may include beepers;
typewriters and word processors; video-tape
cameras and players for interviewing children;
two-way mirrors; and equipment and furniture for
shelters, work spaces, victim waiting rooms, and
children's play areas.
The costs of furniture, equipment such as Braille equipment or TTY/TTD machines
for the deaf, or minor building alterations/improvements that make victims services
more accessible to persons with disabilities are allowable. Refer to the OJP
Financial Guide, effective edition, before these types of decisions are
e. Purchasing or Leasing Vehicles. Subrecipients may use VOCA funds to purchase or lease vehicles if they can demonstrate to the state VOCA administrator that such an expenditure is essential to delivering services to crime victims. The VOCA administrator must give prior approval for all such purchases.
f. Advanced Technologies. At times, computers
may increase a subrecipient's ability to reach and
serve crime victims. For example, automated
victim notification systems have dramatically
improved the efficiency of victim notification and
enhanced victim security.
In order to receive a grant for advanced technologies, each subrecipient must
meet the program eligibility requirements set forth in section IV.B. Of the
Guidelines, Subrecipient Organization Eligibility Requirements. In making such
expenditures, VOCA subrecipients must describe to the state how the computer
equipment will enhance services to crime victims; how it will be integrated
into and/or enhance the subrecipient's current system; the cost of installation;
the cost of training staff to use the computer equipment; the ongoing operational
costs, such as maintenance agreements, supplies; and how these additional costs
will be supported. Property insurance is an allowable expense as long as VOCA
funds support a prorated share of the cost of the insurance payments.
State grantees that authorize equipment to be
purchased with VOCA funds must establish policies
and procedures on the acquisition and disbursement
of the equipment, in the event the subrecipient no
longer receives a VOCA grant. At a minimum,
property records must be maintained with the
following: a description of the property and a
serial number or other identifying number;
identification of title holder; the acquisition
date; the cost and the percentage of VOCA funds
supporting the purchase; the location, use, and
condition of the property; and any disposition
data, including the date of disposal and sale
price. (See OJP Financial Guide, effective
g. Contracts for Professional Services. VOCA
funds generally should not be used to support
contract services. At times, however, it may be
necessary for VOCA subrecipients to use a portion
of the VOCA grant to contract for specialized
services. Examples of these services include
assistance in filing restraining orders or
establishing emergency custody/visitation rights
(the provider must have a demonstrated history of
advocacy on behalf of domestic violence victims);
forensic examinations on a sexual assault victim
to the extent that other funding sources are
unavailable or insufficient; emergency
psychological or psychiatric services; or sign
and/or interpretation for the deaf or for crime
victims whose primary language is not English.
Subrecipients are prohibited from using a majority
of VOCA funds for contracted services, which
contain administrative, overhead, and other
indirect costs included in the hourly or daily
h. Operating Costs. Examples of allowable operating costs include supplies;
equipment use fees, when supported by usage logs; printing, photocopying, and
postage; brochures which describe available services; and books and other victim-related
materials. VOCA funds may support administrative time to complete VOCA-required
time and attendance sheets and programmatic documentation, reports, and statistics;
administrative time to maintain crime victims' records; and the prorated share
of audit costs.
i. Supervision of Direct Service Providers.
State grantees may provide VOCA funds for
supervision of direct service providers when they
determine that such supervision is necessary and
essential to providing direct services to crime
victims. For example, a state grantee may
determine that using VOCA funds to support a
coordinator of volunteers or interns is a cost-effective way of serving more crime victims.
j. Repair and/or Replacement of Essential Items. VOCA funds may be used for
repair or replacement of items that contribute to maintaining a healthy and/or
safe environment for crime victims, such as a furnace in a shelter. In the event
that a vehicle is purchased with VOCA funds, related items, such as routine
maintenance and repair costs, and automobile insurance are allowable. State
grantees are cautioned to scrutinize each request for expending VOCA funds for
such purposes to ensure the following: (1) that the building or vehicle is owned
by the subrecipient organization and not rented or leased, (2) all other sources
of funding have been exhausted, (3) there is no available option for providing
the service in another location, (4) that the cost of the repair or replacement
is reasonable considering the value of the building or vehicle, and (5) the
cost of the repair or replacement is prorated among all sources of income.
k. Public Presentations. VOCA funds may be used
to support presentations that are made in schools,
community centers, or other public forums, and
that are designed to identify crime victims and
provide or refer them to needed services.
Specifically, activities and costs related to such
programs including presentation materials,
brochures, and newspaper notices can be supported
by VOCA funds.
3. Non-Allowable Costs and Activities. The following services, activities, and costs, although not exhaustive, cannot be supported with VOCA victim assistance grant funds at the subgrantee level:
a. Lobbying and Administrative Advocacy. VOCA
funds cannot support victim legislation or
administrative reform, whether conducted directly
b. Perpetrator Rehabilitation and Counseling.
Subrecipients cannot knowingly use VOCA funds to
offer rehabilitative services to offenders.
Likewise, VOCA funds cannot support services to
incarcerated individuals, even when the service
pertains to the victimization of that individual.
c. Needs Assessments, Surveys, Evaluations,
Studies. VOCA program funds may not be used to
pay for efforts conducted by individuals,
organizations, task forces, or special commissions
to study and/or research particular crime victim
d. Prosecution Activities. VOCA funds cannot be
used to pay for activities that are directed at
prosecuting an offender and/or improving the
criminal justice system's effectiveness and
efficiency, such as witness notification and
management activities and expert testimony at a
trial. In addition, victim witness protection
costs and subsequent lodging and meal expenses are
considered part of the criminal justice agency's
responsibility and cannot be supported with VOCA
e. Fundraising activities.
f. Indirect Organizational Costs. The costs of
liability insurance on buildings; capital
improvements; security guards and body guards;
property losses and expenses; real estate
purchases; mortgage payments; and construction may
not be supported with VOCA funds.
g. Property Loss. Reimbursing crime victims for
expenses incurred as a result of a crime such as
insurance deductibles, replacement of stolen
property, funeral expenses, lost wages, and
medical bills is not allowed.
h. Most Medical Costs. VOCA funds cannot pay for
nursing home care (emergency short-term nursing
home shelter as described in section IV.E.1.a. is
allowable), home health-care costs, in-patient
treatment costs, hospital care, and other types of
emergency and non-emergency medical and/or dental
treatment. VOCA victim assistance grant funds
cannot support medical costs resulting from a
victimization, except for forensic medical
examinations for sexual assault victims.
i. Relocation Expenses. VOCA funds cannot
support relocation expenses for crime victims such
as moving expenses, security deposits on housing,
ongoing rent, and mortgage payments. However,
VOCA funds may be used to support staff time in
locating resources to assist victims with these
j. Administrative Staff Expenses. Salaries,
fees, and reimbursable expenses associated with
administrators, board members, executive
directors, consultants, coordinators, and other
individuals unless these expenses are incurred
while providing direct services to crime victims.
k. Development of Protocols, Interagency Agreements, and Other Working Agreements. These activities benefit crime victims, but they are considered examples of the types of activities that subrecipients undertake as part of their role as a victim services organization, which in turn qualifies them as an eligible VOCA subrecipient.
l. Costs of Sending Individual Crime Victims to
m. Activities Exclusively Related to Crime
V. PROGRAM REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
State grantees must adhere to all reporting requirements and
timelines for submitting the required reports, as indicated
below. Failure to do so may result in a hold being placed
on the drawdown of the current year's funds, a hold being
placed on processing the next year's grant award, or can
result in the suspension or termination of a grant.
A. Subgrant Award Reports
A Subgrant Award Report is required for each organization
that receives VOCA funds and uses the funds for such
allowable expenses including employee salaries, fringe
benefits, supplies, and rent. This requirement applies to
all state grantee awards including grants, contracts, or
subgrants and to all subrecipient organizations.
Subgrant Award Reports are not to be completed for
organizations that serve only as conduits for distributing
VOCA funds or for organizations that provide limited,
emergency services, on an hourly rate, to the VOCA
subrecipient organizations. Services and activities that
are purchased by a VOCA subrecipient are to be included on
the subrecipient's Subgrant Award Report.
1. Reporting Deadline. State grantees are required to
submit to OVC, within 90 days of making the subaward,
Subgrant Award Report information for each subrecipient
of VOCA victim assistance grant funds.
2. Electronic Submission. State grantees shall transmit their Subgrant Award
Report information to OVC via the automated subgrant dial-in system. By utilizing
the subgrant dial-in number (1-800/838-0106), grantees can access the system
without incurring a long distance telephone charge. States and territories outside
of the continental US are exempt from the requirement to use the subdial system,
but these grantees must complete and submit the Subgrant Award Report form,
OJP 7390/2A, for each VOCA subrecipient.
3. Changes to Subgrant Award Report. If the Subgrant
Award Report information changes by the end of the
grant period, state grantees must inform OVC of the
changes, by revising the information via the automated
subgrant subdial system. The total of all Subgrant
Award Reports submitted by the state grantee must agree
with the Final Financial Status Report (Standard Form
269A) that is submitted at the end of the grant period.
B. Performance Report
1. Reporting Deadline. Each state grantee is required
to submit specific grant performance data on the OVC-provided Performance Report, form No. OJP 7390/4, by
December 31 of each year.
2. Administrative Cost Provision. For those state
grantees who opt to use a portion of the VOCA victim
assistance grant for administrative costs, the
Performance Report will be used to describe how the
funds were actually used and the impact of the 5%
administrative funds on the state grantee's ability to
expand, enhance, and improve services to crime victims.
State grantees who choose to use a portion of their
VOCA victim assistance grant for administrative costs
must maintain a clear audit trail of all costs
supported by administrative funds and be able to
document the value of the grantee's previous
commitment to administering VOCA.
VI. FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS
As a condition of receiving a grant, state grantees and
subrecipients shall adhere to the financial and
administrative provisions set forth in the OJP Financial
Guide and applicable OMB Circulars and Common Rules. The
following section describes the audit requirements for state
grantees and subrecipients, the completion and submission of
Financial Status Reports, and actions that result in
termination of advance funding.
A. Audit Responsibilities for Grantees and Subrecipients
Audits of non-profit institutions and institutions of higher
education must comply with the organizational audit
requirements of OMB Circular A-133, which states that
recipients who expend $300,000 or more during their fiscal
year in federal funds during their fiscal year, are required
to submit an organization-wide financial and compliance
audit report within 13 months after the close of each fiscal
year during the term of the award to their cognizant federal
State and local units of government must comply with the
organizational audit requirements of OMB circular A-128,
which states that recipients of $25,000 of federal funds
during their fiscal year, are required to submit an audit
report to their cognizant agency. Recipients who receive
less than $25,000 in federal funds are exempt from the audit
B. Audit Costs
Audit costs incurred at the grantee (state) level are determined to be an administrative
expense, and may be paid with the allowable five percent for administration.
Subrecipients may use any VOCA funds support the prorated share audit costs.
C. Financial Status Report for State Grantees
Financial Status Reports (269A) are required from all state
agencies. A Financial Status Report shall be submitted to
the Office of the Comptroller for each calendar quarter in
which the grant is active. This Report is due even though
no obligations or expenditures were incurred during the
reporting period. Financial Status Reports shall be
submitted to the Office of the Comptroller, by the state,
within 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter.
Calendar quarters end March 31, June 30, September 30, and
December 31. A Final Financial Status Report is due 120
days after the end of the VOCA grant.
D. Termination of Advance Funding to State Grantees
If the state grantee receiving cash advances by direct
Treasury deposit demonstrates an unwillingness or inability
to establish procedures that will minimize the time elapsing
between cash advances and disbursements, OJP may terminate
advance funding and require the state to finance its
operations with its own working capital. Payments to the
state will then be made to the state by the ACH Vendor
Express method to reimburse the grantee for actual cash
disbursements. It is essential that the grantee
organization maintain a minimum of cash on hand and that
drawdowns of cash are made only when necessary for
A. Office of the Comptroller
The Office of the Comptroller conducts periodic reviews of
the financial policies, procedures, and records of VOCA
grantees and subrecipients. Therefore, upon request, state
grantees and subrecipients must allow authorized
representatives to access and examine all records, books,
papers, case files, or documents related to the grant, use
of administrative funds, and all subawards.
B. Office for Victims of Crime
OVC conducts on-site monitoring in which each state grantee
is visited a minimum of once every three years. While on
site, OVC personnel will review various documents and files
such as (1) program manuals and procedures governing the
VOCA grant program; (2) reports for the grantee and all VOCA
subrecipients; (3) the state grantee's VOCA application kit,
procedures, and guidelines for subawarding VOCA funds; and
(4) all other state grantee and subrecipient records and
In addition, OVC will visit selected subrecipients and will
review similar documents such as (1) reports; (2) policies
and procedures governing the organization and the VOCA
funds; (3) programmatic records of victims' services; and
(4) timekeeping records and other supporting documentation
for costs supported by VOCA funds.
VIII. SUSPENSION AND TERMINATION OF FUNDING
If, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, OVC finds that a state has failed to comply substantially with VOCA, the OJP Financial Guide (effective edition), the Final Program Guidelines, or any implementing regulation or requirement, OVC may suspend or terminate funding to the state and/or take other appropriate action. At such time, states may request a hearing on the justification for the suspension and/or termination of VOCA funds. VOCA subrecipients, within the state, may not request a hearing at the federal level. However, VOCA subrecipients who believe that the state grantee has violated a program and/or financial requirement are not precluded from bringing the alleged violation(s) to the attention of OVC.
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