VOCA-TVA Working Group
Crime is a serious problem in Indian Country. Victim services in Indian Country are inadequate, and victim assistance providers face unique challenges. In the past, tribal victim assistance programs and state Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) programs have encountered difficulties in their efforts to provide and fund services for tribes. Complaints from tribes have focused on VOCA funding decisions and criteria, compensation processes, and collaboration. Tribes have stated that American Indian and Alaska Native victims do not receive sufficient compensation from state programs and do not receive proportionate VOCA funding for their victim assistance programs. Conversely, states have had problems obtaining the appropriate paperwork from tribes and adapting to the complexities of changing tribal governments. Clearly, state VOCA administrators and Tribal Victim Assistance (TVA) Discretionary Grant Program directors need to collaborate and develop strategies that increase state VOCA funding of tribal programs and ensure tribal compliance with state funding requirements.
OVC provided funding to support continuing collaboration between American Indian and Alaska Native grantees and state VOCA victim assistance grantees through a series of working group meetings. Meeting attendees include state VOCA administrators and TVA program managers. The working group offers guidance and information to OVC about
- Identifying American Indian and Alaska Native consultants for the training and technical assistance database.
- Identifying American Indian and Alaska Native organizations with capacity to deliver training and technical assistance in Indian Country.
- Continuing discussions about increasing American Indian representation on decisionmaking boards, increasing the availability of compensation to American Indian and Alaska Native victims, and improving the relationship between VOCA and American Indian and Alaska Native programs.
- Replicating the success of state VOCA and TVA programs that have collaborated and improved communication and funding.
- Increasing TVA's ability to sustain victim services beyond federal funding.
In FY 2006, OVC hosted the first-ever National VOCA-Tribal Victim Assistance and Compensation Conference to improve the ability of tribal programs to understand the VOCA funding application process, as well as to improve the states’ understanding of how tribes complete a VOCA application and to increase their awareness of underserved victims in Indian Country.