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What is the Crime Victims Fund? (April 2016)

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What is the Crime Victims Fund?

MAN: The Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA, was passed by Congress in 1984.

WOMAN: VOCA was a watershed moment for victims because for the first time we recognized that victims really had a place in the process and that protecting their rights mattered.

MAN: Not only did it establish a statutory basis for victim rights but it provided funding for services.

WOMAN: The Victims of Crime Act Fund is made up of fines, special assessments, and forfeited bail paid by people who are convicted of federal crimes in U.S. courts around the country.

WOMAN: When there are really big criminal cases, generally against corporations, there are criminal fines, and they’re usually in the millions of dollars.

MAN: To use federal criminal fines, not tax money — that was a major step forward to support the efforts states were making to provide financial assistance to crime victims.

WOMAN: The Crime Victims Fund is distributed by the Office for Victims of Crime.

MAN: The Office makes money available to the states so that they can develop programs in every community that can engage with and assist victims of crime.

WOMAN: The Office for Victims of Crime listens to the needs of state administrators for victims’ compensation and assistance, and then gives us the tools we need to provide assistance to victims of crime.

MAN: The Compensation Program is there to assist victims with things that they would otherwise pay out of their own pocket.

WOMAN: We’re able to assist victims with medical expenses, lost wages, dental, funeral expenses, counseling. With the Victim Assistance Programs, there’s an opportunity, if not a motivation, for creativity, especially at the local level.

WOMAN: Without the money that comes in from the Crime Victims Fund, many victim assistance programs probably would not be able to exist.

WOMAN: This money from the Office for Victims of Crime has made a huge difference in our state.