Funding GIS Development and Technical Assistance
A major OVC responsibility is to administer the Crime Victims Fund, which is derived from fines and penalties paid by federal criminal offenders. Nearly 90 percent of the money collected each year is distributed to states to help fund their victim assistance and compensation programs. These programs help victims and their families.
Through the State Compensation and Assistance Division, OVC administers two formula/block grant programs: Victim Assistance and Victim Compensation. During the past decade, these two programs have improved the accessibility and quality of services to crime victims nationwide.
Approximately 10,000 community-based organizations across the Nation provide services to crime victims. VOCA victim assistance funds, awarded to states each year, support 4,000 such organizations. Priority must be given to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. In addition, state grantees must give priority to underserved victims of violent crime, such as survivors of homicide victims and victims of assault, robbery, burglary, hate crimes, drunk drivers, fraud, and elder abuse, among others.
All states and territories receive an annual VOCA victim assistance grant. Each state, the District of Columbia, and the territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico receive a base amount of $500,000. The territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands each receive a base amount of $200,000. Additional funds are distributed based on population.
In addition, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam have established victim compensation programs. Each year, OVC offers eligible programs a grant equal to 40 to 60 percent of the amount the program has awarded to crime victims from state revenue sources in the previous year. Every compensation program reimburses victims for crime-related expenses, such as medical costs, mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs, and lost wages or loss of support when other financial resources such as private insurance or restitution are not available. The program must be operated by a state or territory and offer compensation to victims and survivors of victims of compensable crimes, including crimes involving terrorism, drunk driving, and domestic violence.
Each state VOCA grantee may retain up to 5 percent of each years grant to administer VOCA victim assistance and compensation grant programs. State administrative dollars may be used to expand, enhance, and/or improve the states previous level of effort in administrating the VOCA grant programs at the state level and to support activities and costs that affect the delivery and quality of services to crime victims throughout the state. In this context, VOCA administrative funds may be used to support GIS efforts, such as purchasing software, attending relevant training and technical assistance meetings, and paying salaries and benefits for staff and consultants fees to administer a GIS project.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance has one discretionary program, the Byrne Discretionary Grant Program. Under this program, technical assistance and training grants can be awarded to states, local units of government, Indian tribes and tribal organizations, individuals, educational institutions, private nonprofit organizations, and private commercial organizations. Some discretionary awards are competitive, with a limited amount of funds made available to a number of potential recipients. Byrne discretionary funds are awarded directly to criminal justice agencies and private nonprofit organizations to support a comprehensive range of developmental and demonstration projects, technical assistance and training, and public awareness activities and publications.
STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grants
The STOP (Services*Training*Officers*Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grants Program promotes the development and implementation of effective, victim-centered law enforcement, prosecution, and court strategies to address violent crimes against women. The program is dedicated to the development and enhancement of victim services that involve victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Technology initiatives are encouraged under the STOP formula program and may include Developing, installing, or expanding data collection and communication systems, including computerized systems, linking police, prosecution, and the courts or for the purpose of identifying and tracking arrests, protection orders, violations of protection orders, prosecutions, and convictions for violent crimes against women, including the crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence.18