Office for Victims of Crime - Justice for Victims. Justice for All
Justice for Victims. Justice for All
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Grants & Funding

Types of Funding

Federal, state, and tribal victim assistance programs receive formula grants, discretionary grants, and set-asides according to a carefully established annual allocation procedure. Starting in 2000, in response to large fluctuations in deposits, Congress placed a 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 cap, the funds are allocated in accordance with the following process:

For example, in FY 2012 the cap was $705 million. Out of this amount, the funds were allocated as follows:

  • The Children’s Justice Act: $20 million.
  • U.S. Attorney’s victim-witness coordinators: $21.5 million.
  • FBI victim-witness specialists: $16.2 million.
  • Victim Notification System: $4.5 million.
  • OVC discretionary grants: $29.4 million.
  • State compensation formula grants: $178.7 million.
  • State victim assistance formula grants: $379 million.
  • Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve: $50 million.

Additional information about each of these funding streams and the Fund allocation process is available in the 2015 OVC Report to the Nation.

Children’s Justice Act

The Children’s Justice Act provides formula grants to states through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and discretionary grants to tribes through OVC for services and programs to improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

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U.S. Attorney’s Offices

Victim-witness coordinators in U.S. Attorneys’ Offices assist victims of federal crimes and inform them of various issues, including restitution orders 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.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

FBI victim specialists 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.

Federal Victim Notification System

The Federal Victim Notification System notifies victims of federal crimes of the release or detention status of offenders, the filing of charges against suspects, court proceedings, sentences, and restitution.

Discretionary Grants

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 to identify and implement promising practices, models, and programs and to address gaps in training and technical assistance for the victim services field.

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.

OVC held a Listening Session at the 2009 Discretionary Grantee Meeting to obtain feedback from grantees to help further OVC’s goals of supporting enhanced services and training and technical assistance to grantees while providing support in managing federal awards. In November 2010, OVC responded to the grantees’ comments (PDF 220 kb) prior to the 2010 Discretionary Grantee Meeting by providing referrals to new and existing information and resources. OVC also noted when suggestions from grantees were implemented.

First-time applicants who are not familiar with the competitive process are encouraged to take the OJP Grants 101 tutorial. Additional information is also available in the Help Applying section of our Web site.

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Formula Grants

Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) formula grants for crime victim compensation are awarded to every state, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. These grants supplement state funds that reimburse victims for out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the crime.

VOCA formula grants for crime victim assistance, awarded through subgrants to state agencies and local service providers, support direct services to crime victims in every state, the District of Columbia, and every territory.

OVC awards these grants in accordance with VOCA, the Victim Compensation Guidelines (PDF 70 kb), the Victim Assistance Guidelines, and the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) 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 funds are required to submit an annual state performance report that includes information on all grants active during the fiscal year. The performance reports detail the effect the VOCA funds had on services to crime victims in the state. Access the U.S. Resource Map to view these performance reports.

Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve

After funding all of the above program areas, the VOCA statute allows amounts retained in the Fund to be used to replenish the Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve (the Reserve), which 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:

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Trafficking Victims Protection Act

Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, OVC receives specially designated government funds, independent of appropriations from the Fund, to support the development or enhancement of emergency services to assist victims of severe forms of trafficking. For more information, visit the following Web page:

Federal Partnerships

In addition to the funding streams discussed above that support programs and services, OVC also partners with other government agencies to provide innovative services that address the wide range of issues that affect victims. The following programs, among others, are making a significant impact by helping victims in fundamental ways:

  • The Federal Crime Victims Assistance Fund—managed by the FBI; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division-Criminal Section; and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys—assists victims and survivors with services immediately after the crime.
  • The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) is a centralized debt collection program that helps agencies collect delinquent debts owed to the Federal Government. Since 2003, TOP has helped U.S. Attorneys’ Offices intercept criminals’ funds and use them to pay criminals’ debts, resulting in more than $24 million in restitution paid to crime victims to date.
  • The Drug Endangered Children Program is a collaboration among federal, state, and local nonprofit entities and the public to provide specialized training, develop protocols, and summarize best practices to help educate law enforcement, justice system personnel, and service providers about children put in harm’s way by family members involved in drugs.

Other Funding Sources for Victim Services

For information about other potential sources of project funding and resource management for victim services, visit the following Web sites: is a "one-stop storefront" that provides a unified process for all customers of federal grants to find funding opportunities and apply for funding.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance lists all federal programs available to state and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally recognized Indian tribal governments; territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi-public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals.

OJP Funding Opportunities lists open solicitations by agency.

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