|U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Victims of Crime Act Crime Victims Fund
The Crime Victims Fund was established by the
Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) and serves as a major funding source
for victim services throughout the country. Each year, millions of dollars
are deposited into this Fund from criminal fines, forfeited bail bonds,
penalty fees, and special assessments collected by U.S. Attorney's Offices,
U.S. Courts, and the Bureau of Prisons. These dollars come drom offenders
convicted of Federal crimes
Deposits into the Fund fluctuate from year to year. The chart below depicts deposits into the Fund from 1985 through 1998.
Crime Victims Fund Deposits
When the Crime Victims Fund was authorized in 1984, a cap was placed on Fund deposits for the first eight years. However, the cap on deposits was lifted in 1993 thus allowing all criminal fines, bail forfeitures, penalties and special assessments authorized by VOCA for the Crime Victims Fund to be deposited into the Fund to support crime victim program activities.
How Are Fund Deposits Disbursed?
The first $10 million is used to improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases. The $10 million is divided between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ($8.5 million) and OVC ($1.5 million). The portion administered by OVC is used exclusively to help Native Americans improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases, particularly child sexual abuse.
The remaining Fund deposits are distributed in the following ways:
What Is Crime Victim Compensation?
Crime victim compensation is a direct reimbursement to, or on behalf of, a crime victim for the following crime-related expenses:
Other compensable expenses may include eyeglasses or other corrective lenses, dental services and devices, prosthetic devices, and crime scene clean-up.
What Is a Crime Victim Compensation Program?
Every State administers a crime victim compensation program. These programs provide financial assistance to victims of both Federal and State crimes. Although each State compensation program is administered independently, most programs have similar eligibility requirements and offer a comparable range of benefits. Maximum awards generally range from $10,000 to $25,000.
The typical State compensation program requires victims to report crimes to law enforcement within 3 days and to file claims within a fixed period of time, usually 2 years. Most States can extend these time limits for good cause. If other financial resources are available, such as private insurance, compensation is paid only to the extent that the collateral resource does not cover the loss.
Which States Receive VOCA Compensation Grants?
All 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands receive VOCA compensation grants.
A State is eligible to receive a VOCA compensation grant
if it meets the criteria set forth in VOCA and OVC's Program Guidelines.
Examples of such criteria include providing services for Federal crime
victims and assisting
The formula for VOCA compensation grants to States is based on a percentage of State payments to crime victims in a previous year.
What Is Victim Assistance?
Victim assistance includes, but is not limited to, the following services:
Throughout the nation, there are approximately 10,000 organizations that provide these and other services to crime victims. Nearly 3,300of those organizations receive some VOCA funds.
Which States Receive VOCA Victim Assistance Grants?
All States and most Territories receive an annual VOCA victim assistance grant. Each State, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico receive a base amount of $500,000. The territories of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa each receive a base amount of $200,000. Additional funds are distributed based on population.
States competitively award VOCA funds to local community-based organizations that provide services directly to victims of crime.
How Do States Determine Which Organizations Will Receive VOCA Victim Assistance Grants?
Each State has discretion to determine which organizations
will receive funding based upon the VOCA victim assistance guidelines
and the needs of crime victims within the State. Most States make awards
on a competitive
VOCA assistance funds may be used only for direct services to crime victims. Services such as offender rehabilitation, criminal justice improvements, and crime prevention activities cannot be supported with VOCA assistance funds.
What Are Discretionary Funds?
VOCA authorizes OVC to use discretionary funds to improve and enhance the quality and availability of victim services. Each year, OVC develops a Program Plan which identifies the training and technical assistance and demonstration initiatives to be funded on a competitive basis in the coming year.
How Are the Discretionary Funds Used?
At least half of all discretionary grant funds are dedicated to improving the response to Federal crime victims. Initiatives include the following:
For Further Information
More information about the Office for Victims of Crime is available through the following sources:
OVC Phone: 202-307-5983
OVC Web Site: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/
OVC Resource Center: 1-800-627-6872
OVC Resource Center Web Site: http://www.ncjrs.gov
Visit the OVC Web Site
for the latest information on Victims Issues.
U.S. Department of Justice