OVC PARTNERSHIP WITH UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS' OFFICES
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) administers the Crime Victims Fund and provides training on the rights and needs of our nation's crime victims. The Crime Victims Fund is derived from fines and special assessments collected from Federal criminal offenders--not tax dollars. A large part of this money is collected through the diligent efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) and Financial Litigation Units (FLUs). Approximately 90 percent of the Fund, which totaled roughly $363 million in 1997, is distributed by formula to States to support victim assistance and compensation programs that provide services to victims of Federal, State, and Tribal crimes. OVC implements many programs, develops materials, and provides funding to enhance U.S. Attorneys' efforts on behalf of crime victims. Partnership with the U. S. Attorneys' offices and OVC includes public outreach and recognition as well as OVC funding, programs, and services.
PUBLIC OUTREACH AND RECOGNITION
Public outreach keeps U. S. Attorneys' offices updated with OVC information, and recognition gives OVC and the U. S. Attorneys' offices the opportunity to recognize outstanding accomplishments or ideas that advance crime victims' rights.
Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and Native American Grant Awards to the States: OVC notifies each U.S. Attorney when the annual crime victim assistance and compensation grant are awarded to States as well as provides a sample press release. U.S. Attorneys are also notified of awards made in Indian Country under the Children's Justice Act and the Victim Assistance in Indian Country Grant Program as well as OVC's demonstration and national scope training and technical assistance program. Many U.S. Attorneys' offices use this information to inform the public of their role in helping to support local victim service agencies, to prosecute Federal defendants, and to collect fines and penalty assessments which are deposited in the Crime Victims Fund. Some U.S. Attorneys have joined with local crime victim advocates and State VOCA administrators to participate in press conferences.
National Crime Victims Rights Week (NCVRW): NCVRW, which is commemorated annually in April, affords U.S. Attorneys an opportunity to play a key leadership role in publicizing efforts to advance crime victims' rights. During NCVRW, some U.S. Attorneys' offices organize a major event in collaboration with local victims' organizations to highlight victims' concerns and publicize district-specific efforts on their behalf. In addition, districts often nominate a victim advocate from that district to receive the highest Federal honor for victim advocacy: The National Crime Victims Service Award. Each year nomination forms are available through OVC.
Crime Victims Fund Award: U.S. Attorneys can nominate AUSAs and FLU personnel for the annual Crime Victims Fund Award. The Attorney General confers the award at a formal ceremony honoring Federal employees of both the Department of Justice and the Administrative Office of the U. S. Courts whose dedicated and innovative efforts have substantially improved Federal criminal debt collection and increased deposits into the Crime Victims Fund--a primary financial resource that makes victim assistance and compensation programs possible. A letter soliciting nominations is sent to each U. S. Attorney annually.
OVC FUNDING, TRAINING, RESOURCES, and PRODUCTS
Federal Crime Victims Assistance Fund: The OVC sets aside money each year to fund direct services requested by U.S. Attorneys' offices for victims of Federal crimes. The Fund has paid for transportation costs to court, crisis counseling, emergency shelter, emergency child care, and other essential direct services where local services are unavailable.
Funding for Innovative Programs: The OVC provides discretionary funding for innovative programs that improve services for the nation's Federal crime victims and produce "promising practices" and strategies that can be easily replicated by other U.S. Attorneys' offices. Concept papers must be submitted to the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee/Victim-Witness(LECC/VW) Staff to receive consideration for funding. Submissions will be reviewed and prioritized by the LECC/Victim-Witness Subcommittee of the
Attorney General's Advisory Committee prior to submission to OVC for funding consideration.
Funding for EOUSA Positions: The OVC funds positions for EOUSA to assist the field with training and technical assistance related to victims' rights and improving services to victims of Federal crime. Current positions that are available to provide assistance are as follows:
Child Interview Specialist, Kimberly Poyer, LCSW, USAO District of Columbia, 202-305-4882.
Violence Against Women Act Specialist, Margaret Groban, AUSA, District of Maine, 207-780-3257.
Victims' Rights Legal Specialist, vacant, Office of Legal Education, 202-616-6700.
Victims' Issues Legal Specialist, Julie Breslow, Attorney, LECC/Victim Witness Staff, 202-616-6792.
District Specific Training: The OVC sponsors discipline-specific conferences and workshops that are designed by districts to meet their unique needs. These conferences assist U. S. Attorneys in their compliance with Federal crime victims' legislation and improve the response of Federal criminal justice, Tribal, military, and other personnel within their districts to the needs of Federal crime victims. OVC provides the funding for this training, including scholarships that allow conference participants from remote areas to attend.
Conferences: The OVC and EOUSA collaborate to provide Coordinators with basic and advance skills training at a variety of conferences, such as the annual LECC/Victim-Witness Coordinators National Conference, the Huntsville National Symposium on Child Sexual Abuse, and the National Symposium on Victims of Federal Crime. In addition, Coordinators have been offered the opportunity to receive college credit for coursework completed during the week long National Victim Assistance Academy held annually in July at four university sites across the nation. The conferences allow participants to share information, identify strategies for strengthening programs, and improve skills.
Trainers Bureau: The OVC Trainers Bureau provides for trainers and subject matter experts to travel to districts to offer specialized training and technical assistance on diverse victim-related topics, including the trauma of victimization, advocacy for victims in the criminal justice system, and the legal rights of victims.
Community Crisis Response: The OVC provides for emergency training and technical assistance to communities following large-scale crime victimizations. Emergency services, often provided by crisis response teams, can be dispatched within 24 to 48 hours of a district's request.
Products and Publications:
OVC Training Videos and Materials: The OVC has helped produce a number of information resources, including videotapes, brochures, and resource packages, including material for children required to testify in Federal or Tribal Court, and material for white collar crime/fraud victims (available early 1998). Videotapes are available from OVC's Resource Center. See a sampling in the following box.
For Further Information:
Laura Federline, Program Specialist
Federal Crime Victims Division
Office for Victims of Crime
U. S. Department of Justice
810 Seventh Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531
202-307-5983; FAX 202-514-6383
Visit OVC's Internet site at