Today, OVC is one of five bureaus within OJP and works closely with these other components -- the Bureau of
Justice Assistance (BJA), the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) -- to support programs that benefit crime victims.
OVC serves as the federal government's chief advocate for crime victims and collaborates with many DOJ
components, other federal agencies, as well as public and private organizations, to improve services to crime
This report assesses the impact of the Fund and describes the accomplishments of the Office for Victims of
Crime from October 1, 1992 through September 30, 1994 (Fiscal Years (FY) 1993 and 1994)2 in response to the
requirements of Section 1407(g) of VOCA, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 10604(g). That section specifies that "the
[OVC] Director shall ... every two years ... report to the President and to the Congress" on the effectiveness of
operations under VOCA.2 Some activities and final funding awards that took place in FY 1992 but were not included in the last Report to
Congress are also included.
In passing VOCA, Congress recognized the federal government's responsibility to provide leadership in offering
needed services to crime victims. It created two ways to offer support: 1) formula grants, which are provided to the
states and territories for state crime victim compensation and victim assistance programs; and 2) discretionary
grants, which are awarded to states, localities, and non-profit organizations to support services to victims of federal
crime, pioneering programs for crime victims, quality training and technical assistance to criminal justice and
other allied professionals, and the dissemination of information to the victims' field.
The following are some of the most significant accomplishments that have resulted from the implementation of
VOCA in Fiscal Years 1992-94.
- Between FY 1992 and 1994, $479.8 million from federal criminal offenders was made available to
serve crime victims. Although a total of $551.4 million dollars was deposited into the Crime Victims
Fund, a statutory ceiling limited the amount of Fund monies that could be utilized for crime victims
programs. The elimination of that ceiling in 1993 indicated the increasing commitment of Congress to
serve crime victims and support systemic change on their behalf.
- During Fiscal Years 1992-1994, OVC awarded $196.8 million in VOCA Victim Assistance grants to
the states. These grants helped to provide services for almost 2 million victims each year and
supported approximately 2,300 local victim service agencies across the nation, including rape crisis
centers, shelters for battered women, and children's advocacy centers. Total victim assistance grants
to states almost doubled between FY 1986 and 1994.
- During Fiscal Years 1992-1994, OVC awarded $185.4 million in VOCA Victim Compensation
grants to the states. Victim compensation payments cover out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills,
mental health counseling, funeral costs, and lost wages. The total FY 1994 federal payout to participating
states increased 174 percent from $23.6 million in FY 1986 to $64.7 million in FY 1994.3
- 3 In FY 1986, 39 states and territories had compensation programs eligible to participate and receive VOCA compensation grants. By FY 94, a total of 50 states and territories received VOCA compensation grants. The State of Maine received its first VOCA victim compensation grant in FY 1995. Although the Nevada operates a victim compensation program, it has chosen not to make compensation available to non-residents. As a result, Nevada is not eligible to participate in the VOCA crime victim compensation program.
- VOCA funds supported pioneering partnerships between all levels of government and many
different agencies to improve services to crime victims. These interagency projects included children's
advocacy centers, victim services centers, and interdisciplinary violence against women programs
designed to reduce the number of victim interviews, provide settings especially designed for victims, and
increase collaboration between criminal justice and victim service agencies.
- Using only about one percent of the total Crime Victims Fund, OVC established training and
technical assistance programs that reached several hundred thousand diverse professionals who
serve crime victims.
- Domestic Violence Law Enforcement Training: OVC administered 23 projects that trained more than
100,000 law enforcement officers from 25 states on domestic violence policies and response procedures.
- Crime Victims and Corrections Training: In the field of corrections, OVC supported two large,
nationwide training and technical assistance projects which provided training to 35 states, Department of
Defense corrections officials, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, resulting in new policies, procedures, and
cooperative liaisons that had never existed between corrections agencies and victim service providers.
- Community Crisis Response: Through the Immediate Response to Emerging Problems (IREP) initiative,
OVC provided emergency training and technical assistance to communities within 48 hours of large scale
crime victimizations -- a program subsequently used in the aftermath of the Murrah Federal Building
bombing in Oklahoma City.
- National Bias Crimes Training for Law Enforcement and Victim Assistance Professionals: OVC
funded the development of a curriculum to train law enforcement professionals about hate and bias
crimes. More than 1,000 copies of the curriculum have been distributed in at least 28 states and territories.
- Civil Justice for Crime Victims: OVC funded a bulletin for victims and service providers, as well as
training materials and training at regional conferences for victim service providers, on how to assist crime
victims in understanding their civil legal rights and remedies against perpetrators and third parties.
- Victim Assistance Academy: To help professionalize the field, OVC funded a project to provide one
week, 40 hour intensive training on victimology and victim services for victim advocates around the
country. The comprehensive curriculum developed by the Academy will be made available to states to
assist in their training programs.
- Elder Abuse Training: Through a grant to the Police Executive Research Forum, an extensive law
enforcement curriculum on elder abuse was developed to help train police department across the country
regarding how to respond to older Americans who have been victimized by crime.
- VOCA State Administrator Training: OVC sponsored the first joint training and technical assistance
conference for both VOCA victim compensation and victim assistance state administrators in 1992.
3 In FY 1986, 39 states and territories had compensation programs eligible to participate and receive VOCA compensation grants. By FY 94, a total
of 50 states and territories received VOCA compensation grants. The State of Maine received its first VOCA victim compensation grant in FY 1995.
Although the Nevada operates a victim compensation program, it has chosen not to make compensation available to non-residents. As a result, Nevada
is not eligible to participate in the VOCA crime victim compensation program.
- Victim Assistance Training for the Clergy: In the wake of crime, victims commonly seek assistance
from clergy, many of whom are not trained about how to respond effectively to the needs of these victims.
Through the development of curricula and training sessions, OVC helped train clergy, as well as police
and hospital chaplains, in victim services and death notification procedures.
- Training on Grieving and Bereaved Children: Through a FY 1994 grant, OVC supported the
development of a videotape series for use by victim service providers, including school counselors and
youth program personnel, when responding to grieving children who have survived or witnessed homicide
or other violent crimes, including domestic and spousal abuse.
- Training Regarding the Media: Through a FY 1994 grant, OVC also supported the development of
resource materials to provide effective strategies for encouraging sensitive media reporting involving
victims and survivors of violent crime.
- Multidisciplinary Training: OVC also funded many multidisciplinary training efforts for state and local
jurisdictions and diverse professionals who interact with crime victims, including personnel from the
criminal justice, medical, mental health, social services, clergy, and other fields.
- VOCA funds supported innovative programs that improved services to federal crime victims and
promoted systemic change. These included:
- First Comprehensive Victim-Witness Training for Military Personnel: Over 600 military personnel from
more than 250 military installations attended training sessions on victim-witness issues. For the first time,
standardized victim assistance training was also offered to personnel from military correctional facilities. As
a result of these and other OVC efforts, the Department of Defense adopted a regulation that requires all
military inmates to complete an impact of crime on victims curriculum prior to release from any military
correctional facility. It is the only correctional program in the nation to have such a requirement.
- Training for 70 Different Federal Law Enforcement Agencies: Training programs at the U.S. Department
of the Treasury's Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) provided victim-witness assistance
training each year to more than 5,000 federal law enforcement officers from dozens of federal agencies.
- Training for Federal Victim-Witness Coordinators and United States Attorneys: In FY 1994, OVC and
FLETC co~sponsored the first joint training of Victim-Witness Coordinators from U.S. Attorney's offices and
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In addition, OVC provided funding for the Executive Office for
United States Attorneys (EOUSA) to send federal prosecutors to OVC-sponsored training conferences.
- Victim-Witness Training for the FBI: OVC provided funds to the FBI for specialized training for all field
office victim-witness coordinators, brochures for crime victims, and training materials for the FBI's training
academy at Quantico, Virginia.
- Under the innovative Victim Assistance in Indian Country (VAIC) and Children's Justice Act (CJA}
programs, VOCA provided more than $5.4 million for services to Native Americans in 19 states. As a
result of VAIC, more than 52 Native American victim assistance programs have been established. Through
the administration of the Children's Justice Act for Native Americans (CJA) program, OVC has assisted tribal
and state criminal justice systems to handle child sexual and physical abuse cases with increased coordination
and collaboration between agencies.
- More than four-fifths of the states have adopted the Federal Crime Victims Fund framework as a model
funding vehicle for victim compensation rather than relying exclusively on state revenue appropriations.
States increasingly are receiving the bulk of their victim compensation funding from criminal fines and
penalty assessments levied against state offenders. Although four-fifths of the states receive most but not all
of their compensation funding from criminal fines and penalties, nearly three~quarters of all state
compensation programs are funded exclusively in this way. Thus, for a large majority of states, no tax dollars
are involved either in the administration of the compensation programs or in the award of benefits to victims.
- Dissemination of products such as videotapes, manuals, and brochures from VOCA-funded grant
projects has enhanced the availability of crucial information to the crime victims field. The OVC
Resource Center in Rockville, Maryland, one of the nation's foremost resources of victim-related information,
statistics, and materials, disseminates most of this information and responds to thousands of requests for
information about victims' issues each year.
- Between 1992 and 1994, OVC responded to hundreds of requests from crime victims and referred them
to appropriate service providers for assistance. OVC receives and answers hundreds of letters each year
from crime victims across the country. Many of these letters are directed to the White House or the Attorney
General, who often turn to OVC for help in responding to the letter writers' needs. OVC staff members answer
each letter individually, make phone calls on behalf of victims as each case warrants, and refer them to
appropriate assistance at the state and local levels.
- OVC has served as the federal government's leading advocate for crime victims by highlighting the
concerns of crime victims at the federal level and by responding to emerging issues in the victims field.
Each year, OVC initiates National Crime Victims Rights Week, which culminates in a ceremony at the White
House, to recognize the contribution of crime victims and victim advocates in securing rights and services for
victims. OVC also makes recommendations for programmatic and legislative reforms, such as those set forth
in Chapter 6.
- The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 expanded victims' rights and
strengthened VOCA. In 1994, Congress passed comprehensive crime legislation, known as the Violent
Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Crime Act). The law provides significant funding to
enhance policing and prevention programs, makes three strikes and you're out" the law of the land, and
expands the rights of crime victims. For example, it provides the right of allocution to violent crime victims,
extending them the right to speak to Federal courts before the imposition of a sentence. The Crime Act also
provides mandatory restitution for certain crime victims, including victims of violence and telemarketing
fraud. It provides protections for battered women who move across state lines by requiring each state court
system to give full faith and credit to protection orders issued in the courts of other states. The Crime Act also
enacted "troth in sentencing" provisions, sentence enhancements, and sex offender registries that enable
victims, survivors, and communities to take steps to protect themselves when an offender is released.
In recent years, enormous strides have been made in the victims' field through the efforts of the Office for Victims
of Crime and many national and local victims organizations and service providers, such as Mothers Against Drank
Driving, the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards, the National Coalition Against Domestic
Violence, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the National Organization for Victim Assistance, the
National Victim Center, Parents of Murdered Children and Other Survivors of Homicide Victims, the Victims'
Assistance Legal Organization, the Victim Service Agency, and many others.
But in no small measure, reforms that benefit crime victims are due to victims themselves, who have provided much
of the leadership and vision for needed change. For example, Candy Lightner, whose daughter Cari was killed when
she was 13 years old by a repeat offender, was a founder of Mothers Against Drank Driving (MADD), which has
helped reduce alcohol-related fatalities by 31% in the last 10 years. John Walsh, whose 6-year-old son Adam was
kidnapped and killed, helped to establish the Center for Missing and Exploited Children which has assisted the
recovery of close to 30,000 children since 1984. The activism of Connie and Howard Clery, whose daughter Jeanne
Ann was murdered in her dorm room at Lehigh University, led to the enactment of the federal Campus Security Act
that requires colleges to publish their crime statistics.
While much has been accomplished to address the needs of crime victims during the past decade, a great deal
remains to be done to ensure justice and healing for all victims. This report concludes with recommendations for
legislative and other reforms that, if enacted, would further improve victims' rights and services. OVC has also
established a number of goals for FY 1996 which are set forth in Appendix A, and some of which are included below.
These goals were developed in consultation with national, state, and local organizations, victim advocates and
practitioners, and crime victims themselves, with whom we work closely.
- National Crime Victims Agenda: One of OVC's primary goals for 1996 is to develop a National Crime
Victims Agenda that will provide a guide for long-term action and set forth future training and technical
assistance needs in the victims field. In 1982, a Presidential Task Force on Victims of Crime was created to
study how crime victims were treated by the criminal justice system. It found that the system was severely
imbalanced -- focusing almost entirely on the criminal, while ignoring the rights and needs of victims. In its
Final Report, the Task Force issued a comprehensive blueprint of 68 recommendations designed to improve
the treatment of crime victims by the criminal justice system and other sectors of society.
OVC's National Crime Victims Agenda will update the 1982 Report. It will describe the progress made in
victim services during the past 14 years and set forth a plan for the future, including promising practices,
legislative reforms, and new national-scope training and technical assistance programs. It is anticipated that
this document will serve as a guide for comprehensive victim services well into the next century.
- Promising Practices: OVC also is committed to develop and disseminate promising practices for all who
provide services for crime victims. Through discretionary grant funding, OVC is in the process of identifying
promising practices in serving crime victims in the fields of law enforcement, evidentiary medical
examinations, prosecution, probation and parole, corrections, the judiciary, applied technologies, and in other
areas. Once completed, this body of information on the most promising strategies to serve crime victims will
be published and disseminated across the country to encourage replication.
- National Victim Assistance Academy and Professionalization of the Field: In 1995, OVC launched the
National Victim Assistance Academy, the first national academy to provide quality training on victims issues
for victim advocates. In its first year, the Academy developed a comprehensive week-long curriculum and
trained 33 advocates, as well as about a dozen criminal justice students who participated via satellite from
California State University - Fresno.
Increased professionalization among victim service providers remains a top priority for OVC. In FY 1996,
OVC will expand its National Victim Assistance Academy by providing comprehensive training for 120
advocates at three different sites simultaneously as part of its continuing Intensive Professional Seminar. In
addition, the Academy curriculum will be made available to states to assist in their training programs. The
Academy also will support a train-the-trainer seminar series to increase the number of qualified trainers to
address hate/bias crime, eider abuse, victim assistance in community corrections, responding to staff
victimization in correctional agencies, and death notification.
- Training to Improve Victim Services: OVC intends to enhance services to state, local, and tribal communities
by expanding its support of local crisis response training to assist communities in the wake of catastrophic
crimes like the Oklahoma City bombing; establishing more mentoring programs that permit teams from one
community to visit sites that have implemented multidisciplinary approaches to handling such crimes as
domestic violence and child abuse; and establishing training sites at demonstration programs that provide
services to all crime victims in settings especially designed to meet their needs.
- Training to Improve Services to Federal Crime Victims: OVC will increase victim-witness training programs
for Indian Nations and federal agencies, including the FBI, United States Attorneys' offices, and the
Department of Defense, to enhance services to federal crime victims. In addition, OVC will fund full-time
victim-witness trainers at the FBI Academy and the Office of Legal Education, as well as continue funding
a trainer at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; support the development of an automated case
tracking/victim notification system for U.S. Attorneys; provide victim-witness training for tribal and federal
judges; and establish demonstration projects in U.S. Attorneys' offices to enhance services to victims of
bank robberies and white collar crime, including telemarketing fraud. Cultural sensitivity training also will
be supported to improve services to Native American crime victims and others.
- Other Innovative Projects: Current OVC projects will soon produce the following comprehensive products
in a variety of important fields: a curriculum that may be used by schools across the country to teach children
about prevention strategies, victimization, and available services; a report regarding the most comprehensive
curricula used at graduate schools and colleges to train different professionals, including doctors, nurses,
social workers, lawyers, law enforcement, and mental health professionals, about crime victims' issues; a film
that describes the most promising practices used by doctors and nurse practitioners in providing services to
sexually abused children; and a report that describes many ways in which technology is being used to protect
and benefit crime victims.
- Cutting Red Tape: OVC has embarked on an effort to improve its grants process by cutting burdensome
requirements from its formula grants program, computerizing the state formula grant reporting system, and
awarding these grants earlier in the fiscal year.
Finally, like the nation, OVC focused a great deal of attention on the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred
P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. In many ways, this tragedy exemplified all that the victims' field
represents -- services at a time of crisis, survivorship at a time of senseless destruction, and lessons learned leading to
improved services in the future. A special memorial issue of Oklahoma Today entitled "The Historical Record of the
Oklahoma City Bombing" stated:
".... beginning in the very seconds that./followed the explosion, aye, before the black clouds rose above the downtown
tree line, Oklahomans exhibited the acts e~f heroism, devotion, and hope that - when brought together - have always
moved our nation forward. More hopeful yet, this response was mirrored by that of our fellow countrymen, suggesting
that this same heroism, devotion, and hope remain lodged in the hearts of innumerable Americans."
The services offered to victims in the Oklahoma City bombing case in many ways demonstrated the range of services
that OVC provides ~ crisis response to communities; technical assistance to federal law enforcement and prosecutors;
assistance for victims in obtaining needed services; coordination between victim assistance agencies; and funds to help
victims participate in criminal justice proceedings.
- Crisis Response: OVC provided emergency funding for three crisis response teams, sending a total of 43
trained crisis responders organized by the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), to assist in
debriefing surviving family members, children, and teachers at schools, as well as emergency rescue and
medical personnel and clergy.
- Community and School Crisis Response Training: Due to the success of the school-based crisis response team,
the Department of Education and OVC, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, awarded
a cooperative agreement to NOVA to help school districts around the nation develop a crisis response capacity
to respond to major crises that affect students within the school community.
- Technical Assistance to United States Attorney's Office: OVC staff worked in Oklahoma City to assist the
United States Attorney's Office in developing brochures about victims' rights and available services.
- Crisis Response Coordination: OVC has worked with the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys to develop strategies for increased
mutual cooperation and information- sharing during any future large scale crime.
- Assistance During Criminal Justice Proceedings: OVC provided funds for an audio link during the venue
hearing in Oklahoma City to allow victims who could not fit in the courtroom to hear the proceedings in
another room. OVC also committed $200,000 to assist victims to attend the proceedings in Denver. Staff
continue to coordinate assistance efforts with many private sector organizations in both Denver and Oklahoma
- Legislative Recommendation: OVC recommended that VOCA be amended to provide $500,000 in additional
funding to assist the victims of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City to
attend the trial proceedings in Denver. These funds should be made available from the OVC reserve fund
authorized by Section 1402(d)(4).
The accomplishments described in this report close out the first decade of extraordinary VOCA-funded victim
services. As OVC enters its second decade, we are mindful of the many challenges ahead, but hopeful that with
strong leadership from the President and the Congress, coupled with the continued support of an Attorney General
who has established victims' issues as a top priority, justice and healing will indeed become a reality for all crime
victims in America.
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