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Victim and Witness Assistance

  • Publications (97)
  • Resources (31)
  • Forum Discussions (5)
  • FAQs (18)
  • Funding (1)
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Victim and witness assistance programs ensure that victims and witnesses of crimes are treated with fairness and respect, afforded their rights, and provided with the services they need to help ease the impact of victimization. Victim and witness assistance services include, but are not limited to, crisis intervention, emergency shelter and transportation, counseling, and criminal justice advocacy. All states and most territories receive annual state victim assistance program formula grants that must be used to support local community-based organizations and public agencies that provide services directly to victims.

The following resources provide additional information about victim and witness assistance programs and services.


OVC and OVC-Sponsored Publications

2017 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Poster (2017) OVC, PS000031P.
The poster is available for download in color or black and white and a customizable version is available. A limited number of color hardcopies can be ordered through the OVC Resource Center (www.ncjrs.gov).
PDF (11x17 Color, Customizable) | PDF (22x28 Color) | PDF (11x17 B&W, Customizable)
 
2017 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Kit (includes Theme Poster, awareness posters, and stickers) (2017) OVC, PS000031.
The 2017 NCVRW Resource Kit contains this year's theme poster, awareness posters, and stickers. A limited number of hardcopies can be ordered through the OVC Resource Center (www.ncjrs.gov).
HTML
 
2016 Victim Needs Assessment (2017) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 139 pages, NCJ 250718.
This study provides an initial benchmark reading on the proportion of people in Illinois who are affected by violent crime and what needs result from their victimization. This research also explores how victims’ needs are met by victim services providers in Illinois and where gaps in service delivery currently exist.
Abstract | PDF
 
ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences/Trauma) Pediatric Healthcare Toolkit (2017) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 48 pages, NCJ 251026.
When children are repeatedly exposed to trauma without any form of protective relationships, their bodies react by producing an overload of stress hormones. This stress response is called toxic stress, and it causes serious, lasting developmental and physical harm. Through screening and referrals for ACEs, healthcare teams can help determine resources to promote healthy development.
Abstract | PDF
 
Vision 21: Multidisciplinary Responses in Complex Homicide Cases (August 2017) OVC, Fact Sheet, 2 pages, NCJ 250945.
This fact sheet describes an OVC-funded project to support the enhancement of multidisciplinary interventions within 24 to 48 hours of a death for some of the most complex cases. These cases may include gang-related homicides, intrafamilial homicides, homicides involving child witnesses, and deaths involving impaired driving or driving under the influence.
Abstract | PDF
 

OJP Publications

Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence: A Toolkit for Law Enforcement (February 2017) OJJDP-Sponsored, Electronic Document, 68 pages, NCJ 250768.
This toolkit provides practical resources to assist law enforcement agencies in building or enhancing effective operational responses to children exposed to violence (with or without a mental health partner).
Abstract | PDF
 
Examining Criminal Justice Responses to and Help-Seeking Patterns of Sexual Violence Survivors With Disabilities (June 2016) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 87 pages, NCJ 250196.
The goal of this study used is to better understand the criminal justice experience of persons with disabilities that report a sexual assault or rape to the authorities. Results suggest that current criminal justice structures are not sufficient to provide support for one of the highest-risk adult populations for sexual assault and victimization in the U.S.
Abstract | PDF
 
Detroit Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Action Research Project (ARP), Final Report (February 2015) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 551 pages, NCJ 248680.
This report documents the Detroit Sexual Assault Action-Research Project, in which a multidisciplinary team looked at the issue of a large number of sexual assault kits (SAKs) that had not been sent to a crime lab for DNA-testing. The team identified the underlying factors that contributed to the issue; developed and evaluated a plan for testing the SAKs; and created and evaluated protocols for notifying victims of the results of the testing. The report also offers practitioner-friendly resources, including how to create victim-notification protocols.
Abstract | PDF
 
Evaluation of Services for Domestic Minor Victims of Human Trafficking (August 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 115 pages, NCJ 248578.
This primary goals of this evaluation were documenting program implementation of the three OVC funded programs, identify promising practices for service delivery programs, and informing delivery of current and future efforts to serve victims of sex and labor trafficking of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents under the age of 18.
Abstract | PDF
 
Improving Human Trafficking Victim Identification-Validation and Dissemination of a Screening Tool (June 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 455 pages, NCJ 246712.
This guide provides users with recommendations on how to build trust with potential victims, maintain confidentiality, and use the tool correctly. When properly used, the tool could give victim service providers, law enforcement and legal, healthcare, and social service providers with a standard means of identifying victims of human trafficking.
Abstract | PDF
 

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Victim and witness assistance programs ensure that victims and witnesses of crimes are treated with fairness and respect, afforded their rights, and provided with the services they need to help ease the impact of victimization. Victim and witness assistance services include, but are not limited to, crisis intervention, emergency shelter and transportation, counseling, and criminal justice advocacy. All states and most territories receive annual state victim assistance program formula grants that must be used to support local community-based organizations and public agencies that provide services directly to victims.

The following resources provide additional information about victim and witness assistance programs and services.


Victim and witness assistance programs ensure that victims and witnesses of crimes are treated with fairness and respect, afforded their rights, and provided with the services they need to help ease the impact of victimization. Victim and witness assistance services include, but are not limited to, crisis intervention, emergency shelter and transportation, counseling, and criminal justice advocacy. All states and most territories receive annual state victim assistance program formula grants that must be used to support local community-based organizations and public agencies that provide services directly to victims.

The following resources provide additional information about victim and witness assistance programs and services.


Each month the Nation's experts answer your questions about best practices in victim services. Below are upcoming and most recent session discussions in this topic:

On Nov 16 2016 at 2:00PM, Harlan Pruden, member of the Cree Nation and Managing Editor of TwoSpiritJournal.com, and Elton Naswood, of the Near to the Water People Clan and member of the Community Expert Advisory Council for the Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training , hosted a discussion on Serving Two-Spirit/LGBTQ Victims in Tribal Communities

On Oct 19 2016 at 2:00PM, Dana DeHart, Ph.D., Research Professor & Assistant Dean for Research at the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work, and Angie McCown, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Victim Services Division, hosted a discussion on Model Standards for Serving Victims and Survivors of Crime

On Sep 27 2016 at 2:00PM, Krista Flannigan, J.D., Director, Institute for Crime Victim Research & Policy at Florida State University, and Karen Thomas, President of the Connections Training Group, LLC, hosted a discussion on Serving Victims of Mass Violence

On Sep 14 2016 at 2:00PM, Donna Barry, APN, FN-CSA, DNP, has been the Director of the University Health Center at Montclair State University, and Anthony Walker, former Chief of Police for Norfolk State University, hosted a discussion on Campus Services for Victims of Sexual Assault

On Jul 20 2016 at 2:00PM, Merry O'Brien, M.S.W., the Network for Victim Recovery of DC’s Identity Theft Assistance, and Paula Pierce, J.D., former Manager of Hotline Services for Texas Legal Services Center, hosted a discussion on Serving Victims of Financial Fraud and Fraud Prevention

Victim and witness assistance programs ensure that victims and witnesses of crimes are treated with fairness and respect, afforded their rights, and provided with the services they need to help ease the impact of victimization. Victim and witness assistance services include, but are not limited to, crisis intervention, emergency shelter and transportation, counseling, and criminal justice advocacy. All states and most territories receive annual state victim assistance program formula grants that must be used to support local community-based organizations and public agencies that provide services directly to victims.

The following resources provide additional information about victim and witness assistance programs and services.


What is the Federal Government doing to combat human trafficking?
Although the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has long enforced criminal laws against involuntary se... Read More

What is victim assistance?
Each year, states and territories receive Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds to support community-bas... Read More

I am a crime victim, how can I get help?
Help in your area is available from your State/Local Victim Compensation and Assistance programs. As... Read More

I would like to apply for a Professional Development Scholarship. Where can I find the application?
Visit the Professional Development Scholarship Program section of the OVC TTAC website for specific ... Read More

How do I check on the status of my scholarship application?
To check on the status of your scholarship application, contact the OVC Training and Technical Assis... Read More

More FAQs

Victim and witness assistance programs ensure that victims and witnesses of crimes are treated with fairness and respect, afforded their rights, and provided with the services they need to help ease the impact of victimization. Victim and witness assistance services include, but are not limited to, crisis intervention, emergency shelter and transportation, counseling, and criminal justice advocacy. All states and most territories receive annual state victim assistance program formula grants that must be used to support local community-based organizations and public agencies that provide services directly to victims.

The following resources provide additional information about victim and witness assistance programs and services.


FY 2017 Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program for Crime Victim Compensation and Assistance (PDF 290 kb)
Deadline: Open
The Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP) is a mechanism by which the Director of OVC may award supplemental crime victim compensation and assistance to respond to an act of terrorism or mass criminal violence. The criminal act has to be of sufficient magnitude that it overwhelms the affected jurisdiction’s or program’s ability to respond to the event. This is a restricted invitation because the program is intended to respond to specific cases of terrorism and mass violence. Only after OVC has consulted with an eligible organization can an application be submitted.

More Funding Opportunities

Victim and witness assistance programs ensure that victims and witnesses of crimes are treated with fairness and respect, afforded their rights, and provided with the services they need to help ease the impact of victimization. Victim and witness assistance services include, but are not limited to, crisis intervention, emergency shelter and transportation, counseling, and criminal justice advocacy. All states and most territories receive annual state victim assistance program formula grants that must be used to support local community-based organizations and public agencies that provide services directly to victims.

The following resources provide additional information about victim and witness assistance programs and services.


Publications

OVC and OVC-Sponsored Publications

2017 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Poster (2017) OVC, PS000031P. The poster is available for download in color or black and white and a customizable version is available. A limited number of color hardcopies can be ordered through the OVC Resource Center (www.ncjrs.gov).
PDF (11x17 Color, Customizable) | PDF (22x28 Color) | PDF (11x17 B&W, Customizable)
 
2017 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Kit (includes Theme Poster, awareness posters, and stickers) (2017) OVC, PS000031. The 2017 NCVRW Resource Kit contains this year's theme poster, awareness posters, and stickers. A limited number of hardcopies can be ordered through the OVC Resource Center (www.ncjrs.gov).
HTML
 
2016 Victim Needs Assessment (2017) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 139 pages, NCJ 250718. This study provides an initial benchmark reading on the proportion of people in Illinois who are affected by violent crime and what needs result from their victimization. This research also explores how victims’ needs are met by victim services providers in Illinois and where gaps in service delivery currently exist.
Abstract | PDF
 
ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences/Trauma) Pediatric Healthcare Toolkit (2017) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 48 pages, NCJ 251026. When children are repeatedly exposed to trauma without any form of protective relationships, their bodies react by producing an overload of stress hormones. This stress response is called toxic stress, and it causes serious, lasting developmental and physical harm. Through screening and referrals for ACEs, healthcare teams can help determine resources to promote healthy development.
Abstract | PDF
 
Vision 21: Multidisciplinary Responses in Complex Homicide Cases (August 2017) OVC, Fact Sheet, 2 pages, NCJ 250945. This fact sheet describes an OVC-funded project to support the enhancement of multidisciplinary interventions within 24 to 48 hours of a death for some of the most complex cases. These cases may include gang-related homicides, intrafamilial homicides, homicides involving child witnesses, and deaths involving impaired driving or driving under the influence.
Abstract | PDF
 

OJP Publications

Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence: A Toolkit for Law Enforcement (February 2017) OJJDP-Sponsored, Electronic Document, 68 pages, NCJ 250768. This toolkit provides practical resources to assist law enforcement agencies in building or enhancing effective operational responses to children exposed to violence (with or without a mental health partner).
Abstract | PDF
 
Examining Criminal Justice Responses to and Help-Seeking Patterns of Sexual Violence Survivors With Disabilities (June 2016) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 87 pages, NCJ 250196. The goal of this study used is to better understand the criminal justice experience of persons with disabilities that report a sexual assault or rape to the authorities. Results suggest that current criminal justice structures are not sufficient to provide support for one of the highest-risk adult populations for sexual assault and victimization in the U.S.
Abstract | PDF
 
Detroit Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Action Research Project (ARP), Final Report (February 2015) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 551 pages, NCJ 248680. This report documents the Detroit Sexual Assault Action-Research Project, in which a multidisciplinary team looked at the issue of a large number of sexual assault kits (SAKs) that had not been sent to a crime lab for DNA-testing. The team identified the underlying factors that contributed to the issue; developed and evaluated a plan for testing the SAKs; and created and evaluated protocols for notifying victims of the results of the testing. The report also offers practitioner-friendly resources, including how to create victim-notification protocols.
Abstract | PDF
 
Evaluation of Services for Domestic Minor Victims of Human Trafficking (August 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 115 pages, NCJ 248578. This primary goals of this evaluation were documenting program implementation of the three OVC funded programs, identify promising practices for service delivery programs, and informing delivery of current and future efforts to serve victims of sex and labor trafficking of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents under the age of 18.
Abstract | PDF
 
Improving Human Trafficking Victim Identification-Validation and Dissemination of a Screening Tool (June 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 455 pages, NCJ 246712. This guide provides users with recommendations on how to build trust with potential victims, maintain confidentiality, and use the tool correctly. When properly used, the tool could give victim service providers, law enforcement and legal, healthcare, and social service providers with a standard means of identifying victims of human trafficking.
Abstract | PDF
 

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Related Resources

OVC Funded Resources

Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims
For over a decade, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has collaborated with OVC to promote crime victim rights and facilitate law enforcement's ability to effectively address victim needs. One of the key milestones of this collaboration includes the 21st Century Strategy for Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims, consisting of the Strategy, the Implementation Guide, the Resource Toolkit, and the Training Supplemental. This Web site, which captures the 21st Century Strategy and a number of other victim-related materials and publications, serves as a unique law enforcement resource center for enhanced victim response.
 
Office for Victims of Crime (OVC): Human Trafficking
OVC’s human trafficking Web site contains a wide range of information including resources and research from the Federal Government, publications and products from OVC, local and national direct assistance information, and related funding opportunities for victims and survivors of human trafficking, victim service providers, law enforcement, and allied professionals.
 
Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC): Tribal Victim Assistance
This OVC TTAC resource provides information and tools to support the efforts of tribal victim advocates, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and others to develop a victim-centered response to crime victims in tribal communities.
 
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
RAINN operates a 24-hour telephone hotline (1-800-656-HOPE) and an Online Hotline for victims of sexual assault. The secure web-based hotline provides a safe, secure, and anonymous place for victims to get help online. RAINN also works to promote education and prevention of sexual assault, compiles and shares links to Legal Resources, including the State Mandatory Regulations regarding children and the elderly.
 

Federal Resources

Department of Defense (DoD): Safe Helpline
The Department of Defense (DoD) Safe Helpline is a confidential crisis support service for adult service members of the DoD community affected by sexual assault. Operated by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the helpline provides live, one-on-one expert advice and information 24/7.
 
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP)
The DEA-VWAP was implemented to ensure the rights of crime victims encountered in DEA investigations are met.
 
Elder Justice Initiative
This site serves as a resource for victims of elder abuse and financial exploitation and their families, practitioners who serve them, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, and researchers seeking to understand and address this silent epidemic plaguing our nation's elders. Victims and family members will find information about how to report and get assistance for victims of elder abuse and financial exploitation in all 50 states and the U.S. territories.
 
National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)
Sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs, NCJRS offers information on victimology and victim assistance, criminal justice, juvenile justice, information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide. NCJRS supplies the victim services field with resources, publications, and program information. The NCJRS library collection includes more than 30,000 resources relevant to the field.
 
World Trade Center Health Program
This program monitors, screens, treats and supports responders who responded to the disaster site at the World Trade Center in New York City and who may have been affected physically or mentally by their service. The site is designed to provide information related to all aspects of the World Trade Center Health Program, to highlight new developments in the program as they occur, and to help individuals find information of particular interest for them.
 

Non-Governmental Resources

Crime Victims Advocacy Council
Crime Victims Advocacy Council seeks to help crime victims cope with their suffering and pain by concentrating their energies and resources in support groups, community education, crime prevention, raising community consciousness and acting as an advocate for crime victim’s rights.
 
Foundation Aiding the Elderly (FATE)
FATE serves as a voice for patients and works to bring about national reforms and enforcement of the laws governing the nursing home industry and its regulatory agencies in order to assure proper care, civil rights and meaningful, dignified life for the elderly in long-term care facilities.
 
National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA)
NAPSA provides state Adult Protective Services program administrators and staff with a forum for sharing information, solving problems, and improving the quality of services for victims of elder and vulnerable adult abuse.
 
Salvation Army: Combating Human Trafficking
These pages provide highlights of The Salvation Army's efforts to eradicate human trafficking.
 
Trauma Intervention Programs Inc. (TIP)
TIP assists citizen volunteers who respond to traumatic incidents at the request of police, fire and hospital personnel to support those who are emotionally traumatized.
 

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Web Forum Discussions

Each month the Nation's experts answer your questions about best practices in victim services. Below are upcoming and most recent session discussions in this topic:

On Nov 16 2016 at 2:00PM, Harlan Pruden, member of the Cree Nation and Managing Editor of TwoSpiritJournal.com, and Elton Naswood, of the Near to the Water People Clan and member of the Community Expert Advisory Council for the Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training , hosted a discussion on Serving Two-Spirit/LGBTQ Victims in Tribal Communities

On Oct 19 2016 at 2:00PM, Dana DeHart, Ph.D., Research Professor & Assistant Dean for Research at the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work, and Angie McCown, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Victim Services Division, hosted a discussion on Model Standards for Serving Victims and Survivors of Crime

On Sep 27 2016 at 2:00PM, Krista Flannigan, J.D., Director, Institute for Crime Victim Research & Policy at Florida State University, and Karen Thomas, President of the Connections Training Group, LLC, hosted a discussion on Serving Victims of Mass Violence

On Sep 14 2016 at 2:00PM, Donna Barry, APN, FN-CSA, DNP, has been the Director of the University Health Center at Montclair State University, and Anthony Walker, former Chief of Police for Norfolk State University, hosted a discussion on Campus Services for Victims of Sexual Assault

On Jul 20 2016 at 2:00PM, Merry O'Brien, M.S.W., the Network for Victim Recovery of DC’s Identity Theft Assistance, and Paula Pierce, J.D., former Manager of Hotline Services for Texas Legal Services Center, hosted a discussion on Serving Victims of Financial Fraud and Fraud Prevention


FAQs

What is the Federal Government doing to combat human trafficking?
Although the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has long enforced criminal laws against involuntary se... Read More

What is victim assistance?
Each year, states and territories receive Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds to support community-bas... Read More

I am a crime victim, how can I get help?
Help in your area is available from your State/Local Victim Compensation and Assistance programs. As... Read More

I would like to apply for a Professional Development Scholarship. Where can I find the application?
Visit the Professional Development Scholarship Program section of the OVC TTAC website for specific ... Read More

How do I check on the status of my scholarship application?
To check on the status of your scholarship application, contact the OVC Training and Technical Assis... Read More

Back to Top


Funding

FY 2017 Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program for Crime Victim Compensation and Assistance (PDF 290 kb)
Deadline: Open
The Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP) is a mechanism by which the Director of OVC may award supplemental crime victim compensation and assistance to respond to an act of terrorism or mass criminal violence. The criminal act has to be of sufficient magnitude that it overwhelms the affected jurisdiction’s or program’s ability to respond to the event. This is a restricted invitation because the program is intended to respond to specific cases of terrorism and mass violence. Only after OVC has consulted with an eligible organization can an application be submitted.

Back to Top


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National Calendar of Crime Victim Assistance-Related Events
Upcoming Event(s)
National Center for Victims of Crime National Training Institute
Portland, OR
12/05/2017-12/07/2017

Online Directory of Crime Victims Services.