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Few individuals could have predicted how technology would support the present-day victims' movement. For example, OVC uses its Web site and other electronic information dissemination vehicles to provide quick and easy access to online publications, funding resources, services, promising program strategies, and training resources. Information-sharing among victim service agencies at the state and local level is critical for providing a seamless network of victim services. Automated notification systems are an effective and proven method of informing victims about the status of their cases and the subsequent release of perpetrators. In addition to these uses of technology, the Crime Victims Fund supports initiatives that promote the use of technology in delivering training and technical assistance and in processing compensation claims for victims of international terrorism. To further the use of technology, OVC funds various initiatives to promote cooperation among service providers.

VS2000 System Information Technology Project

In 1997, OVC began developing Victim Services 2000 (VS2000), a 5-year demonstration project meant to create model systems for victim service delivery that could be replicated nationwide. VS2000 was established to improve the range, quality, and accessibility of services for all victims through the development of integrated victim service systems in urban and rural settings. The goal of the VS2000 System Technology Project is to enhance the three technological components of VS2000—resource directory management, agency training registration, and case management for community agencies. The project will pilot test the system and make necessary modifications, prepare the system for replication, and increase victim service providers' responsiveness to the community by training users and making the project's online resource directory and training center available to the general public. For more information, visit the VS2000 Web site.

Forensic Telemedicine Training and Equipment for Indian Health Service Units

Through an interagency agreement with the Indian Health Service (IHS), OVC provides funding for training and photographic equipment to document forensic exams of child abuse and sexual assault victims at IHS clinics and hospitals in Indian Country. The photographic documentation is designed to minimize or prevent transporting child victims, an escort or parent, and an FBI agent or criminal investigator long distances to large urban hospitals for examinations, and to document medical diagnoses for victims in physical or sexual abuse and sexual assault cases. The photographic equipment enables the attending physician, nurse, or sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) to properly document medical observations and findings, thus minimizing or avoiding repeated colposcope examinations of child victims. Training sessions are scheduled for attending physicians, nurses, and SANEs in how to use, apply, and maintain the equipment properly. IHS has consulted with the victim/witness specialist in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and the Children's Advocacy Center of the Uniformed Services at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Online Directory of Crime Victim Services

The OVC Resource Center staff has helped create an online Directory of Crime Victim Services for use by victims and service providers. The directory lists service providers who address various victim needs. Launched October 31, 2003, the directory offers a centralized, searchable database of victim assistance programs nationwide and allows new programs to enroll. OVC continually updates the database with new programs that are closely scrutinized before being added. View the online directory.

OVC Web Forum

OVC has developed a Web forum, called the OVC Message Board To Help Exchange Lessons and Practices (HELP) in Victim Services, to link victim service providers and allied professionals with colleagues throughout the Nation who face similar challenges and experiences. The Web forum, which functions similar to a message or bulletin board, is an online center for ongoing, indepth discussions of specific topics and issues. Some of the topics discussed include compassion fatigue, confidentiality issues, victims with disabilities, domestic violence, identity theft, restitution, posttraumatic stress disorder, and trafficking in persons. The forum offers users a means to share ideas, suggestions, and recommendations concerning promising practices, best practices, and victim issues. OVC's Web Forum was pilot tested in Arizona, Delaware, and South Carolina and will be launched nationally in early 2004. For more details, visit the OVC Web Forum.

OVC Web Site

OVC's Web site is an essential way OVC provides information and leadership to the field, both domestically and internationally. The Web site is accessed by victims, victim advocates, VOCA administrators and subrecipients, discretionary grantees, educators, policymakers, and the general public. The Web site provides a wealth of information to site visitors, including the following:

  • "What's New at OVC" announces recently released publications, videos, and current OVC initiatives.

  • "Grants and Funding" explains each of OVC's major funding opportunities and includes the "Discretionary Toolbox," a new, one-stop resource for information on current funding opportunities, compliance and monitoring requirements, and financial information for current and future OVC grantees.

  • "Help for Victims" offers Internet links to topical resources of interest to victims, including OVC's Directory of Crime Victim Services.

  • "Publications" provides an annotated list of OVC publications that can be viewed online or downloaded. Users may also view digital clips for select video products and public service announcements to better understand the products' content and usefulness to the field.

  • "Resources for International Victims" offers information on global and international issues for victims including a series of OVC publications in foreign languages such as French, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese. More specifically, in the event of a terrorist attack or incident of mass violence, OVC has the capacity to post critical information for victims on its Web site.

OVC significantly enhanced its Web site during the biennium. In FY 2001, OVC unveiled a new look and theme for the Web site with expanded, up-to-date content areas; added a "Featured Resources" section to the site's home page that ties newly released OVC publications and products with commemorative themes for each month (e.g., Domestic Violence Awareness month in October); and added current topics, such as "Trafficking in Persons," to the "Help for Victims" page.

OVC's Web site content continues to grow, as do the number of users who access the site. OVC has seen a tremendous increase in visitors accessing the site since its creation in 1997; from June 2002 to October 2003, the number of visitors to the site increased 55 percent. The top three pages accessed on OVC's Web site are the "Help for Victims" page (which offers links to information resources on 29 topics such as terrorism and mass violence, campus crime, stalking, and identity theft), the "Grants and Funding" page, and the "Publications" page. For more details, visit the OVC Web site.

Nationwide Automated Victim Information and Notification System

Computer automation provides a means for federal investigative, prosecutorial, and corrections components to be integrated with the victim notification requirements specified in the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance (AG Guidelines). Money allocated from the Crime Victims Fund has been used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to develop and implement a nationwide automated victim information and notification system (VNS) for the federal program. The system is intended to provide consistent information and reduce the amount of time and resources necessary to notify victims of key case events. A pilot test of the system in Fiscal Year (FY) 2001 produced favorable results. VNS is operational and, as of the end of FY 2002, the database was populated with about 21,300 active FBI cases; 16,200 active U.S. Attorney's Office cases; 19,900 active BOP subjects; and 178,800 active victim listings.

OVC Training and Technical Assistance Information System

The OVC TTAC Information System (OTIS) was developed to support all training and technical assistance (TTAC) operations and functions, ensure effective management, facilitate proactive project planning, and identify areas that may need targeted services. OTIS is a comprehensive, Web-based information management system that provides OVC and other approved audiences with a single information source for training and technical assistance resources and activities. The system contains data on training and technical assistance recipients, consultants, resource organizations, materials, training and technical assistance coordination activities, and needs and evaluation data. It provides a timesaving, standardized way of collecting and tracking data to support daily project planning and management functions, and it enables staff to query any data area or module. For more details, visit the OVC TTAC Web site.

International Terrorism Victim Compensation Program Software

The International Terrorism Victim Compensation Program (ITVCP), as authorized under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), Title II, 42 U.S.C. 10603c, 1404C, authorized OVC's director to compensate victims of terrorism that occurs outside the United States for expenses associated with that victimization. To be eligible for compensation under ITVCP, an individual must have been a national of the United States or an officer or employee of the U.S. Government on the date the act of terrorism occurred (incidents must have occurred on or after December 21, 1988, and an investigation or prosecution must have been ongoing as of April 24, 1996). In addition, the individual must have suffered direct physical or emotional injury or death as a result of international terrorism. OVC is developing case management software for this program. The software will collect, maintain, manage, and process data in order to make compensation claims to eligible victims.


OVC recognizes the vital importance of keeping the victims' field abreast of new programs and information. Through the Internet and other innovative technologies, OVC continues to give victims other avenues by which to access resources and services. We hope these enterprising technologies will help victims get the information they need in a timely manner, which in turn will result in better and more complete victim services.

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