8: Assisting Crime Victims

OVC was established by the 1984 Victims of Crime Act to oversee diverse programs that benefit victims of crime. OVC's largest grant programs provide formula funding to state victim assistance and compensation programs. Subgrant funding through the victim assistance program supports thousands of victim service organizations and victim compensation programs across the country. Funding through the victim compensation grant program provides financial support to crime victims and their families to help defray the expenses of medical treatment, lost wages, funeral expenses, and other costs resulting from crime victimization. For information on victim assistance and compensation programs in your state, please contact the state point of contact for OVC programs in your state, listed in the Online Resource Guide.

In addition to funding state victim compensation and victim assistance programs, OVC trains those who work with victims and develops projects to enhance victims' rights and services. This frequently involves responding to high-profile incidents such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the Capitol Hill shootings. In recent years, OVC has expanded its response to include international victims of crime, such as the victims of attacks on the Khobar Towers Air Force Barracks in Saudi Arabia and the simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Funding Opportunities

Through its discretionary grant program, OVC administers a broad range of initiatives to support innovation in victim services and encourage collaboration among different parts of the community that interact with victims. Examples of programs funded under OVC's discretionary grant program include the following:

Information about specific projects of OVC's discretionary grant program is published each year in the OJP Program Plan. To request a copy of the most recent edition, call the DOJ Response Center at 1-800/421-6770.

Training and Technical Assistance Opportunities

OVC's Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) provides training services to strengthen victim assistance in a variety of disciplines. TTAC connects federal, tribal, state, and local agencies with training opportunities in direct service, program development and administration, program management, and oversight. Topics might include training focused on improving services to underserved populations, working with the media, and meeting the mental health needs of victims. Although any agency can apply for training and technical assistance through TTAC, OVC gives special consideration to requests where the assistance would have statewide or regional impact, or build interagency or multidisciplinary capacity to deliver direct services. To apply for technical assistance through the TTAC, call 1-800/627-6872.

Each year OVC sponsors a number of conferences and seminars to bring together professionals from the victims field, law enforcement, and other areas of the criminal justice system. These events offer attendees the opportunity to network with other victim service professionals as well as learn from experts in the victims field and in academia. To learn about upcoming conferences, contact the DOJ Response Center at 1-800/421-6770 or visit OVC's Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/.

Other Resources

Each spring, OVC supports Crime Victims Rights Week, which draws national attention to the rights and needs of victims. OVC sponsors national programs and creates and distributes a planning guide to help local and state agencies plan their own events. OVC also coordinates the annual victim service awards ceremony on behalf of the Attorney General and the President. The Victim Service Award is the highest federal recognition of exceptional services and support of crime victims' rights. OVC solicits nominations from the field each fall.

OVC works closely with national victim service organizations, including the following:

For More Information

The Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center, a component of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, is OVC's primary resource for sharing information about its programs, publications, and services, as well as general crime victims information. Highly trained information specialists provide information based on national and regional victimization statistics, a comprehensive collection of research findings, and a well-established network of victim advocates and organizations. Contact the Resource Center by telephone at 1-800/627-6872 or visit the Justice Information Center on the World Wide Web atwww.ncjrs.org.

For more information, call OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703 or the Department of Justice Response Center at 1-800/421-6770.

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