Federal, state, and tribal victim assistance and compensation programs receive formula grants, discretionary grants, and set-asides according to a statutorily established annual allocation procedure. Starting in 2000, in response to large fluctuations in deposits, Congress established an appropriation cap on funds available for distribution intended to maintain the Crime Victims Fund (the Fund) as a stable source of support for future victim services. Each year, once Congress establishes the appropriation cap, the funds are allocated in accordance with the following process:
Additional information about each of these funding streams and the Fund allocation process is available in the 2017 OVC Report to the Nation.
The Children's Justice Act provides up to $20 million annually to help states and tribes develop, establish, and operate programs to improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases, particularly cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation, and to improve the handling of cases of suspected child abuse or neglect fatalities. OVC administers $3 million annually to tribes through its Children’s Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities Program to support culturally relevant programs in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
Victim assistance staff in U.S. Attorneys’ Offices assist victims of federal crimes and inform them of their rights and how to access needed services, including restitution and their right to make oral and written victim impact statements at an offender’s sentencing, in accordance with the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance.
FBI victim specialists use expertise in victim assistance, crisis intervention, and social services to keep victims of federal crimes informed of case developments and proceedings and direct them to appropriate resources in accordance with the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance. OVC supports 192 full-time equivalent positions at FBI headquarters and at field offices throughout the United States.
The Federal Victim Notification System is automated database that notifies victims of federal criminal case events regarding offenders, including the status of an investigation, filing of criminal charges and the disposition of those charges, release or detention status, and public court hearings.
Federal revenues deposited into the Fund come from—
OVC administers two Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) formula grant programs that support crime victim compensation and assistance—the cornerstone of support for victims throughout the Nation.
The VOCA Compensation Formula Grant Program provides funding to supplement state compensation programs that provide financial assistance and reimbursement to victims for crime-related out-of-pocket expenses, including medical and dental care, counseling, funeral and burial expenses, and lost wages and income. VOCA formula grants for crime victim compensation are awarded to every state, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Funds support costs for medical and dental care, counseling, funeral and burial expenses, and lost wages. Compensation programs may also reimburse victims for other types of expenses related to their victimization, such as travel, temporary lodging, crime scene cleanup, and dependent care.
The VOCA Assistance Formula Grant Program supports thousands of victim assistance programs throughout the Nation each year. VOCA formula grants for crime victim assistance are awarded to every state, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The states provide subgrants to local community-based organizations and public agencies that provide services directly to victims. Direct assistance to crime victims includes crisis counseling, telephone and onsite information and referrals, criminal justice support and advocacy, shelter, therapy, and additional assistance. Funds may also be used to develop new programs that address emerging needs, gaps in services, and training of victim service advocates.
OVC awards these compensation and assistance grants in accordance with VOCA, the Victim Compensation Guidelines, the Victim Assistance Rule, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Grants Financial Guide.
Review the VOCA nationwide performance reports for the number of victims served, by victim types and service categories, for each fiscal year.
The state programs that receive VOCA formula funds are required to submit quarterly performance measures. The performance measures are indicators of the effect of VOCA funds on services to crime victims in the state. Access the U.S. Resource Map to view these performance reports.
The VOCA statute allows amounts retained in the Fund above the annual appropriation cap to be used to replenish the Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve (the Reserve), up to $50 million annually. The OVC Director may replenish the Reserve by setting aside up to 5% of the amounts remaining in the Crime Victims Fund in any fiscal year after the VOCA allocations for that year. The Reserve funds emergency expenses and other services for victims of terrorism and mass violence within the United States and abroad. The Reserve supports the following programs:
OVC discretionary grants are used to fund national-scope demonstration projects and training and technical assistance delivery to enhance the professional expertise of victim service providers. Such grants can be awarded to states, local units of government, tribal communities, individuals, educational institutions, and private nonprofit organizations. These funds can be used to identify and implement promising practices, models, and programs, and to address gaps in training and technical assistance for the victim services field. Up to 50 percent of OVC discretionary funding can support and enhance services to federal crime victims through support for tribal grants and positions at agencies such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Defense, and the National Park Service. OVC discretionary funding also supports demonstration programs that may provide direct services.
Discretionary grants are awarded through a process that ensures open and fair competition. During this competitive process, grant applications undergo a preliminary review to verify that they are complete and meet the eligibility requirements stated in the solicitation. Eligible applications are then reviewed and scored by a panel of subject matter experts using a set of selection criteria outlined in the grant solicitation. All applicants are notified of receipt of their proposal and whether or not it was selected for funding.
First-time applicants who are not familiar with the competitive process are encouraged to take the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Grants 101 tutorial. Additional information is also available in the Help Applying section of our website.
OVC also partners with other government agencies to provide innovative services that address the wide range of issues that affect victims. The following programs help victims in fundamental ways:
The Vision 21 initiative is the first comprehensive assessment of the victim assistance field in nearly 15 years. In response to OVC’s Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report (PDF 2.53 mb) (the Report), Congress allocated $12.5 million in Fiscal Year 2015 to address the recommendations in the Report. The Vision 21 appropriation comes from general tax revenues, not from the Crime Victims Fund. OVC also uses some of its Victims of Crime Act discretionary funding for additional programs to further Vision 21 recommendations. Beginning in FY 2013, OVC began supporting a number of initiatives to establish an evidence base of research and data on crime victimization, build the capacity of service providers, and spur innovation to address enduring and emerging challenges in the field. Learn about OVC’s Vision 21 grant awards and accomplishments by visiting the Vision 21 Outcomes page.
OVC uses discretionary funding to support several contracts with private organizations with expertise in training and technical assistance, video production, technology, communications, marketing, end user support, and product warehousing and distribution. These contracts enable OVC to support capacity building for victim assistance organizations throughout the country, and provide the field, allied professionals, and the general public with high quality multimedia, print, and electronic materials raising awareness of crime victims' issues and services and promoting crime victims’ rights.
Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and subsequent reauthorizations, OVC receives specially designated government funds, independent of appropriations from the Fund, to support victim service organizations to provide trauma-informed, culturally appropriate services for survivors of human trafficking. OVC supports a variety of human trafficking grant initiatives, which include the Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking program and the Services for Victims of Human Trafficking program. For more information, visit the following Web page: OVC-Funded Grantee Programs to Enhance and Provide Comprehensive Services for Victims of Human Trafficking.
For information about other potential sources of project funding and resource management for victim services, visit the following websites:
Grants.gov is a "one-stop storefront" that provides a unified process for all customers of federal grants to find funding opportunities and apply for funding.
OJP Funding Opportunities lists open solicitations by agency.