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On March 31, Jessica E. Hart was sworn in as the Director of the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). As the Director, Ms. Hart oversees nearly $9 billion in grants and other programs that are vital to victims as they rebuild their lives in the aftermath of crime.
Ms. Hart has over 10 years of diverse legal and public service experience, including positions within the U.S. Department of Justice and in Congress. Prior to joining OVC, she served as the Intergovernmental and Public Liaison for the Department where she managed relationships with governors, state attorneys general, elected officials, law enforcement and key stakeholders. She also helped direct responses to congressional inquiries and prepare witnesses for testimony and briefings before the U.S. Congress. During that time, Ms. Hart supported crime victim-related legislation and public policy initiatives.
“I’m excited about leading the Office for Victims of Crime. In just the short time that I’ve been here, I’ve already witnessed how resolutely our staff fulfills OVC’s mission of enhancing the nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and provide leadership in changing policies and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims,” Director Hart said. “I look forward to engaging with victims, survivors, advocates and service providers in an effort to meet the needs of victims, understanding that they need support, recovery, justice and a sense of hope for their future, now more than ever.”
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Director Hart helps kick off National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), from April 19-25, 2020. This year’s theme—Seek Justice | Ensure Victims’ Rights | Inspire Hope—commemorates the individuals and groups whose advocacy has propelled victims’ rights forward inspiring in victims and their loved ones a feeling of hope for progress, justice and healing. The theme’s call to inspire hope is a fitting appeal amidst the backdrop of COVID-19. Be sure to check out the 2020 NCVRW Resource Guide to support your efforts to raise awareness, build new partnerships and reach victims. April is also Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month. See information about OVC-funded initiatives and resources that seek to enhance services to victims of sexual violence and child abuse. Finally, be sure to check out OVC’s available funding opportunities as you continue to help the victim services field.