The Crime Victims Fund
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is charged by Congress with administering the Crime Victims Fund (Fund), a significant source of support for victim services throughout the United States. Established by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA), the Fund consists primarily of fines, special assessments, and bond forfeitures from convicted federal offenders. Without relying on American tax dollars, the Fund serves as a unique, self-sufficient source of support for thousands of programs in each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, and several territories each year. These programs provide direct services to victims; support programs designed to alleviate physical, psychological, emotional, and financial hardships; and help victims rebuild their lives.
Primary Sources of Revenue
- Criminal fines from convicted federal offenders, with exceptions for funds related to certain environmental, railroad, unemployment insurance, and postal service violations.
- Forfeited appearance bonds from convicted federal offenders.
- Special forfeitures of collateral profits from crime.
- Special assessments that range from $25 for individuals convicted of misdemeanors to $400 for corporations convicted of federal felonies.
- Gifts, donations, and bequests by private parties.
Fund Deposits Set New Benchmark
The FYs 2013 and 2014 reporting period saw the largest total deposits in the Fund’s history. Almost $3.6 billion ($3,591,493,390) was deposited into the Fund in FY 2014, which made it the largest total recorded since the Fund became operational in 1985. Coupled with nearly $1.5 billion ($1,489,582,811) in 2013 deposits, the Fund received more than $5 billion ($5,081,076,202) during the reporting period to support victims of crime. With major fines and financial penalties continuing to be levied and collected, the Fund’s deposit totals should provide a stable source of funding in the coming years.
Annual Obligation Limit and Allocation Process Determine Available Funds
When the Fund was authorized in 1984, a limit was placed on how much could be deposited into the Fund for the first 8 years. During this time, the annual obligation limit varied from $100 million to $150 million; actual deposits during this time varied from a low of $62 million in FY 1986 to a high of $221 million in FY 1992. The lifting of the obligation cap in 1993 allowed for the deposit of all criminal fines, special assessments, and forfeited bail bonds to support crime victim program activities. Starting in 2000, in response to large fluctuations in deposits, Congress placed an obligation limit on funds available for distribution, which was intended to maintain the Fund as a stable source of support for future services. The obligation limitation for 2013 was set at $730 million and set at $745 million in FY 2014.
For more detailed information about VOCA compensation and assistance, including the allocation process established by Congress, please refer to the Crime Victims Fund. State-by-state allocations for 2013 and 2014 are available on OVC’s Web site.