Office for Victims of Crime - Justice for Victims. Justice for All
Justice for Victims. Justice for All
Facebook     Twitter     You TubeEventsDirectoryE-Mail Updates
skip navigation
Browse By Topic

Victim and Witness Assistance

  • Publications (57)
  • Resources (27)
  • Forum Discussions (5)
  • FAQs (17)
  • Funding (1)
  • View All

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

2016 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide (2016) OVC, 108 pages, NCJ 249210.
The 2016 NCVRW Resource Guide, released ahead of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 10 to 16, highlights this year’s theme, Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope. The Guide includes user-friendly outreach tools and sample products, information on the history of victims’ rights in the United States, and practical ideas to show how serving victims and building trust restores hope and strengthens communities. The Guide is available in both English and Spanish.
Abstract | PDF (English) | PDF (Spanish) | HTML (English) | HTML (Spanish)
 
Vision 21 Accomplishments (July 2016) OVC, Fact Sheet, OVC Fact Sheets, NCJ 249938.
The goal of OVC’s Vision 21 initiative is to expand the vision and impact of the crime victim assistance field. This fact sheet highlights OVC accomplishments to meet the goals of Vision 21 by promoting data and research to inform future program development, so that victims can be served effectively; supporting and building the capacity of those who work in the field; and fostering innovation to address enduring and emerging challenges of the crime victims field.
PDF
Part Of the OVC Fact Sheets Series
 
Faces of Human Trafficking (January 2016) OVC, 10 pages, NCJ 248754.
This video series and resource guide raise awareness of the seriousness of human trafficking, the many forms it can takes, and the important role that everyone can play in identifying and serving victims. This new multidisciplinary resource includes nine videos with Spanish subtitles; Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in English, Spanish, Thai, Hindi, and Tagalog; a discussion guide; four fact sheets; and four posters designed for service providers and allied professionals, law enforcement, the general public, and victims/survivors.
Abstract | HTML
 
2016 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Poster (2015) OVC, PS000030.
The 2016 NCVRW Theme Poster evokes the theme-Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope.—which underscores the importance of early intervention and victim services in establishing trust with victims, which in turn begins to restore their hope for healing and recovery. The poster is available for download in in color or black and white and can be customized by your organization before printing.
PDF (Color, 22' x 28') | PDF (Black and White, 22' x 28') | PDF (Customizable, Color) | PDF (Customizable, Black and White)
 
2015 OVC Report to the Nation, Fiscal Years 2013-2014: Building Capacity Through Research, Innovation, Technology, and Training (August 2015) OVC, Report, OVC Fact Sheets, 4 pages, NCJ 248907.
OVC's Report to the Nation summarizes the progress made in upholding crime victims' rights and providing high-quality services to victims, survivors, and communities during fiscal years 2013−2014. The report highlights innovative programs and victim-centered initiatives, summarizes financial support to states and U.S. territories, and provides insight into OVC's strategic efforts to address both emerging and enduring challenges in order to expand and enhance victim assistance throughout the Nation.
Abstract | HTML
Part Of the OVC Fact Sheets Series
 

OJP Publications

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
 
Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States (October 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 306 pages, NCJ 248461.
This report explores patterns of labor trafficking in the U.S., and found that trafficking occurs in multiple industries, including agriculture, hospitality, construction, and restaurants. The report verified that labor trafficking usually goes unreported, and law enforcement often have difficulty distinguishing labor trafficking from other workplace exploitation. Policy and practice implications of this research for federal and local law enforcement and victims' service agencies are outlined.
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
 
Screening for Human Trafficking: Guidelines for Administering the Trafficking Victim Identification Tool (TVIT) (June 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 37 pages, NCJ 246713.
This tool is designed for victim service providers and other providers to assist in identifying victims of human trafficking. Developed over the last seven years by the Vera Institute of Justice in collaboration with 11 victim service organizations in California, Colorado, New York, Texas and Washington, this NIJ-funded tool has been validated with a diverse sample of potential victims of trafficking and found reliable in predicting labor and sex trafficking.
Abstract | PDF
 

Back to Top

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 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

On Jul 13 2016 at 2:00PM, Pamela Todd, Ph.D., CEO and founder of Ray of Hope Foster Care, Inc.,, and Diane Payne, owner of Justice for Native Children Consulting, hosted a discussion on Support and Services for Drug-Endangered Children

On Jun 22 2016 at 2:00PM, Sid Jordan, J.D., consultant with the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence (CEGV) in King County, Washington, hosted a discussion on Integrating the Needs of LGBTQ Victims into Mainstream Victim Services

On May 24 2016 at 2:00PM, Linda McFarlane, MSW, LCSW, Deputy Executive Director, Just Detention International, and Jeralita Costa, community victim liaison with the Washington State Department of Corrections,, hosted a discussion on Helping Incarcerated Victims of Crime

On Apr 7 2016 at 2:00PM, Kristian Hall, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, North Carolina National Guard, and Yvonne Viel, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Test Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, hosted a discussion on Confidentiality for Victims of Military Sexual Trauma

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 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

When may I submit my nomination for the National Crime Victims' Service Awards?
OVC is now accepting nominations for the 2017 National Crime Victims' Service Awards. These awards ... 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 2016 Using Telemedicine Technology to Enhance Access to Sexual Assault Forensic Exams (PDF 224 kb)
Deadline: 07/28/2016
OVC will make awards under two purpose areas to develop or enhance statewide telemedicine programs to deliver expert Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner guidance and support to medical professionals conducting sexual assault forensic exams in state correctional facilities, institutions of higher education, and rural and tribal communities. OVC will make one award of up to $1.2 million under purpose area one for the demonstration project to develop or enhance access, within their state, to sexual assault forensic exams for adult and adolescent victims of sexual assault using telemedicine technology in underserved communities. Under purpose area two, OVC will make one award of up to $300,000 to one technical assistance (TA) provider to support the demonstration site. Apply by July 28, 2016.

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

2016 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide (2016) OVC, 108 pages, NCJ 249210. The 2016 NCVRW Resource Guide, released ahead of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 10 to 16, highlights this year’s theme, Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope. The Guide includes user-friendly outreach tools and sample products, information on the history of victims’ rights in the United States, and practical ideas to show how serving victims and building trust restores hope and strengthens communities. The Guide is available in both English and Spanish.
Abstract | PDF (English) | PDF (Spanish) | HTML (English) | HTML (Spanish)
 
Vision 21 Accomplishments (July 2016) OVC, Fact Sheet, OVC Fact Sheets, NCJ 249938. The goal of OVC’s Vision 21 initiative is to expand the vision and impact of the crime victim assistance field. This fact sheet highlights OVC accomplishments to meet the goals of Vision 21 by promoting data and research to inform future program development, so that victims can be served effectively; supporting and building the capacity of those who work in the field; and fostering innovation to address enduring and emerging challenges of the crime victims field.
PDF
Part Of the OVC Fact Sheets Series
 
Faces of Human Trafficking (January 2016) OVC, 10 pages, NCJ 248754. This video series and resource guide raise awareness of the seriousness of human trafficking, the many forms it can takes, and the important role that everyone can play in identifying and serving victims. This new multidisciplinary resource includes nine videos with Spanish subtitles; Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in English, Spanish, Thai, Hindi, and Tagalog; a discussion guide; four fact sheets; and four posters designed for service providers and allied professionals, law enforcement, the general public, and victims/survivors.
Abstract | HTML
 
2016 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Poster (2015) OVC, PS000030. The 2016 NCVRW Theme Poster evokes the theme-Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope.—which underscores the importance of early intervention and victim services in establishing trust with victims, which in turn begins to restore their hope for healing and recovery. The poster is available for download in in color or black and white and can be customized by your organization before printing.
PDF (Color, 22' x 28') | PDF (Black and White, 22' x 28') | PDF (Customizable, Color) | PDF (Customizable, Black and White)
 
2015 OVC Report to the Nation, Fiscal Years 2013-2014: Building Capacity Through Research, Innovation, Technology, and Training (August 2015) OVC, Report, OVC Fact Sheets, 4 pages, NCJ 248907. OVC's Report to the Nation summarizes the progress made in upholding crime victims' rights and providing high-quality services to victims, survivors, and communities during fiscal years 2013−2014. The report highlights innovative programs and victim-centered initiatives, summarizes financial support to states and U.S. territories, and provides insight into OVC's strategic efforts to address both emerging and enduring challenges in order to expand and enhance victim assistance throughout the Nation.
Abstract | HTML
Part Of the OVC Fact Sheets Series
 

OJP Publications

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
 
Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States (October 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 306 pages, NCJ 248461. This report explores patterns of labor trafficking in the U.S., and found that trafficking occurs in multiple industries, including agriculture, hospitality, construction, and restaurants. The report verified that labor trafficking usually goes unreported, and law enforcement often have difficulty distinguishing labor trafficking from other workplace exploitation. Policy and practice implications of this research for federal and local law enforcement and victims' service agencies are outlined.
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
 
Screening for Human Trafficking: Guidelines for Administering the Trafficking Victim Identification Tool (TVIT) (June 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 37 pages, NCJ 246713. This tool is designed for victim service providers and other providers to assist in identifying victims of human trafficking. Developed over the last seven years by the Vera Institute of Justice in collaboration with 11 victim service organizations in California, Colorado, New York, Texas and Washington, this NIJ-funded tool has been validated with a diverse sample of potential victims of trafficking and found reliable in predicting labor and sex trafficking.
Abstract | PDF
 

Back to Top

Related Resources

OVC Funded Resources

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.
 

Federal Resources

Department of Defense (DOD): Victim and Witness Assistance Council (VWAC)
The Council's Web site offers information and links to assist victims, and witnesses to crimes on military installations. Resources include contact information for victim and witness assistance coordinators for the Coast Guard, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Marine Corps, Office of the Secretary of Defense. Each branch of services has: 1) An interdisciplinary Victim and Witness Assistance Council; 2)a Family Advocacy Program designed to prevent and treat child and spouse abuse; and 3) a central repository for tracking notice of the status of offenders confined in military correctional facilities. In addition, local councils have been established at each major military installation to ensure that an interdisciplinary approach is followed by victim and witness service providers.
 
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.
 
National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
NREPP is a searchable online registry of more than hundreds of interventions supporting mental health promotion, substance abuse prevention, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.
 

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.
 
International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
IFSW is a global organisation striving for social justice, human rights and social development through social work, best practices and international cooperation between social workers and their professional organisations.
 
National Organization for Victims Assistance (NOVA)
NOVA advocates for victims’ rights, assists service providers, provides direct victim assistance, offers training, and coordinates a National Crisis Response Team and the National Crime Victim Information and Referral Hotline.
 
We Regret to Inform You ... (Death Notification Training)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, in partnership with Penn State University, created this free web based training for law enforcement agencies and other first responders responsible for notifying the family members of those who have died suddenly as a result of a crime, an accident, a suicide, or other type of incident. The training is designed to enhance the professionalism, dignity, and compassion of those tasked with delivering death notifications, including: law enforcement, victim advocates, coroners, medical examiners, chaplains, hospital staff, and others.
 

Back to Top


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 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

On Jul 13 2016 at 2:00PM, Pamela Todd, Ph.D., CEO and founder of Ray of Hope Foster Care, Inc.,, and Diane Payne, owner of Justice for Native Children Consulting, hosted a discussion on Support and Services for Drug-Endangered Children

On Jun 22 2016 at 2:00PM, Sid Jordan, J.D., consultant with the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence (CEGV) in King County, Washington, hosted a discussion on Integrating the Needs of LGBTQ Victims into Mainstream Victim Services

On May 24 2016 at 2:00PM, Linda McFarlane, MSW, LCSW, Deputy Executive Director, Just Detention International, and Jeralita Costa, community victim liaison with the Washington State Department of Corrections,, hosted a discussion on Helping Incarcerated Victims of Crime

On Apr 7 2016 at 2:00PM, Kristian Hall, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, North Carolina National Guard, and Yvonne Viel, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Test Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, hosted a discussion on Confidentiality for Victims of Military Sexual Trauma


FAQs

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

When may I submit my nomination for the National Crime Victims' Service Awards?
OVC is now accepting nominations for the 2017 National Crime Victims' Service Awards. These awards ... Read More

Back to Top


Funding

FY 2016 Using Telemedicine Technology to Enhance Access to Sexual Assault Forensic Exams (PDF 224 kb)
Deadline: 07/28/2016
OVC will make awards under two purpose areas to develop or enhance statewide telemedicine programs to deliver expert Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner guidance and support to medical professionals conducting sexual assault forensic exams in state correctional facilities, institutions of higher education, and rural and tribal communities. OVC will make one award of up to $1.2 million under purpose area one for the demonstration project to develop or enhance access, within their state, to sexual assault forensic exams for adult and adolescent victims of sexual assault using telemedicine technology in underserved communities. Under purpose area two, OVC will make one award of up to $300,000 to one technical assistance (TA) provider to support the demonstration site. Apply by July 28, 2016.

Back to Top


EventsDirectoryE-Mail UpdatesRSS
Facebook     Twitter     You TubeEventsDirectoryE-Mail Updates
 
National Calendar of Crime Victim Assistance-Related Events
Upcoming Event(s)
2016 National Center for Victims of Crime National Training Institute
Philadelphia, PA
09/19/2016-09/21/2016

15th National Indian Nations Conference: Justice for Victims of Crime
Palm Springs, CA
12/08/2016-12/10/2016

Online Directory of Crime Victims Services.