Office for Victims of Crime - Justice for Victims. Justice for All
Justice for Victims. Justice for All
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About OVC

Welcome to the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), one of seven components within the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Led by Director Joye E. Frost, OVC is committed to enhancing the Nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and to providing leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime.

Established in 1988 through an amendment to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984, OVC is charged by Congress with administering the Crime Victims Fund (the Fund). Through OVC, the Fund supports a broad array of programs and services that focus on helping victims in the immediate aftermath of crime and continuing to support them as they rebuild their lives. Millions of dollars are invested annually in victim compensation and assistance in every U.S. state and territory, as well as for training, technical assistance, and other capacity-building programs designed to enhance service providers’ ability to support victims of crime in communities across the Nation.

More details about OVC’s mission and services are available in the What is OVC? fact sheet.

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What is the Office for Victims of Crime?

MAN: My mother and my brother were murdered in front of me. I was 10.

WOMAN: My daughter-in-law looked through the glass and her eyes showed horror and she said, "Nana, what’s happened to you?" And I said, "I’ve been raped, I’ve been raped."

MAN: I met a guy at a church and he wanted to be my friend. And instead he assaulted me, and I felt very scared.

MAN: There is, behind every case that involves a crime of violence, a victim, a very real human being who has needs, and needs to be spoken to, and needs to have the system explained to them.

WOMAN: The Office for Victims of Crime was created in 1984 to enhance victims’ rights and services for all victims across the United States.

WOMAN: The Office for Victims of Crime is a federal agency created by Congress that is a part of the Department of Justice.

WOMAN: It is the government funding agency for Crime Victims Compensation Programs and Victim Assistance Programs.

WOMAN: The Crime Victims Fund is distributed in a number of ways by the Office for Victims of Crime. Part of it goes to support other federal agencies who are providing services for victims; part of it goes to support model programs and practices. But the majority of the funding goes to the states.

WOMAN: The Office for Victims of Crime is not the provider of services, but they fund states, and then states can subgrant the money out to direct service providers. Each jurisdiction, each state, is going to be different, and by distributing the money to the states, they determine where the greatest need is and what the need is.

WOMAN: Victim service providers need very specialized programs to reach hard-to-find victims who are not always assured that they are going to find welcoming and accessible services when they do reach out for help.

WOMAN: The Office for Victims of Crime is very committed to the professionalization of the crime victim services field.

WOMAN: We do that through developing new programs, through training and technical assistance, and disseminating information about model programs that benefit victims of crime.

MAN: There’s an intentional effort to get everyone together so we know how to share resources, we know how to work together.

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.

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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.