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Victim and Witness Assistance

  • Publications (54)
  • Resources (28)
  • Forum Discussions (5)
  • FAQs (17)
  • 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

Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States: Fiscal Years 2013-2014 Status Report (July 2015) OVC, Report, 64 pages, NCJ 248967.
The Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, 2013–2017. This status report identifies progress made by federal agencies during fiscal years 2013-2014 to address the goals, objectives, and the actions identified in the Federal Strategic Action Plan to ensure that all victims of human trafficking in the U.S. are identified and have access to the services they need to recover.
PDF
 
Through Our Eyes: Children, Violence, and Trauma DVD (April 2015) OVC, 0 pages, NCJ 239938.
This video series addresses the needs of children exposed to crime, abuse, and violence; highlights major issues in child victimization; identifies promising practices for service providers and others working with young victims; and shows how trauma-informed care can help child victims recover to lead healthy, productive lives. Online only companion resource guides accompany each video.
Abstract | HTML
 
2015 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide (January 2015) OVC, 182 pages, NCJ 247813.
The 2015 NCVRW Resource Guide, released ahead of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 19 to 25, highlights this year’s theme, Engaging Communities. Empowering Victims. The Guide includes a wide array of user-friendly outreach tools and sample products, a Theme DVD, current statistics on victimization, information on the history of victims’ rights in the United States, and concrete, practical ideas for engaging your community and empowering victims. Hardcopy versions of this year's Guide, which can be ordered through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) at www.ncjrs.gov, include Introductory Materials and NCVRW Resource Guide Artwork.
Abstract | PDF | HTML
 
Identity (ID) Theft Toolkit (2014) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 2 pages, NCJ 248389.
National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network (NITVAN) coalitions across the country each contributed to the creation of this toolkit for victim advocates, attorneys, law enforcement officers, and anyone else involved in assisting victims. In this toolkit, you’ll find guidance on improving and expanding service to identity theft victims, starting a collaborative group in your area, as well as downloadable, ready-to-customize training materials, brochures, and more.
Abstract | HTML
 
Innovative Practices for Victim Services: Report From the Field (December 2014) OVC, Bulletin, 20 pages, NCJ 248495.
This e-bulletin provides brief descriptions of the innovative practices currently used by VOCA victim assistance and compensation programs throughout the country. This online resource promotes the replication of these practices, which cover six key program areas: needs assessment, systems advocacy and coordination, compensation, underserved populations, victims’ rights and services, and technology.
Abstract | HTML
 

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
 
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
 
Practical Implications of Current Intimate Partner Violence Research for Victim Advocates and Service Providers (January 2013) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 260 pages, NCJ 244348.
This report expands and enhances the 2009 report titled "Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges" to address the practical implications of current domestic violence research for victim advocates and service providers.
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 May 5 2015 at 2:00PM, Cris Sullivan, Director of the Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence and Professor of Ecological/Community Psychology at Michigan State Univers, and Keri Darling, founder and Director/Trainer of DVAS, Deaf Vermonters Advocacy Services, hosted a discussion on Build Your Own Body of Evidence-Based Knowledge

On Apr 22 2015 at 2:00PM, Teresa Huizar, Executive Director of National Children's Alliance, and Rebecca Khalil, J.D., staff attorney with the National Crime Victim Law Institute, hosted a discussion on Child Victims: Providing Effective Rights Enforcement Representation

On Apr 8 2015 at 2:00PM, Ann McCarty, Associate Director of the North County (California) Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center, and Leah Holland, former sexual assault response coordinator and domestic violence victim advocate coordinator, U.S. Army Garrison in Yongsan, South Korea, hosted a discussion on Providing Appropriate Support for Military Victims of Sexual Assault

On Mar 25 2015 at 2:00PM, Katie Monroe, Senior Advocate for National Partnerships at the Innocence Project, and Karin Ho, brings over 30 years combined experience as a victim advocate in the sexual assault, domestic violence and postconviction corrections field, hosted a discussion on Postconviction Exonerations and Victim Assistance

On Feb 25 2015 at 2:00PM, Jennifer Burkmire, advocate for children and a contract consultant for nonprofit organizations that provide social services, and Cynthia King, President of King & Associates, Inc, hosted a discussion on Developing an Effective Multidisciplinary Team

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 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

When may I submit my nomination for the National Crime Victims' Service Awards?
OVC is now accepting nominations for the 2016 National Crime Victims' Service Awards. These awards r... Read More

Does OVC provide direct services for victims of crime?
Yes. OVC provides direct services to people victimized on Tribal or federal lands, such as military ... Read More

What is the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Grant Program?
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) administers the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Progra... 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 2015 National Joint Training Conference for VOCA Victim Assistance and Victim Compensation Administrators (PDF 205 kb)
Deadline: 07/13/2015
One discretionary grant of $175,000 will be awarded to plan and administer the 2016 National Joint Training Conference for VOCA Victim Assistance and Victim Compensation Administrators, a 2.5-day conference that will provide training and technical assistance for Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) administrators, staff, and board members; and facilitate a forum for the presentation of state issues and practices. The conference will employ lectures, panels, workshops, and forums to explore ways to improve the delivery of crime victim services; provide an opportunity for VOCA administrators to exchange information, views, and experiences; and provide training and technical assistance on effective program operations. Those applying are strongly encouraged to begin the application process well in advance of the July 13, 2015, deadline.

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

Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States: Fiscal Years 2013-2014 Status Report (July 2015) OVC, Report, 64 pages, NCJ 248967. The Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, 2013–2017. This status report identifies progress made by federal agencies during fiscal years 2013-2014 to address the goals, objectives, and the actions identified in the Federal Strategic Action Plan to ensure that all victims of human trafficking in the U.S. are identified and have access to the services they need to recover.
PDF
 
Through Our Eyes: Children, Violence, and Trauma DVD (April 2015) OVC, 0 pages, NCJ 239938. This video series addresses the needs of children exposed to crime, abuse, and violence; highlights major issues in child victimization; identifies promising practices for service providers and others working with young victims; and shows how trauma-informed care can help child victims recover to lead healthy, productive lives. Online only companion resource guides accompany each video.
Abstract | HTML
 
2015 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide (January 2015) OVC, 182 pages, NCJ 247813. The 2015 NCVRW Resource Guide, released ahead of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 19 to 25, highlights this year’s theme, Engaging Communities. Empowering Victims. The Guide includes a wide array of user-friendly outreach tools and sample products, a Theme DVD, current statistics on victimization, information on the history of victims’ rights in the United States, and concrete, practical ideas for engaging your community and empowering victims. Hardcopy versions of this year's Guide, which can be ordered through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) at www.ncjrs.gov, include Introductory Materials and NCVRW Resource Guide Artwork.
Abstract | PDF | HTML
 
Identity (ID) Theft Toolkit (2014) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 2 pages, NCJ 248389. National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network (NITVAN) coalitions across the country each contributed to the creation of this toolkit for victim advocates, attorneys, law enforcement officers, and anyone else involved in assisting victims. In this toolkit, you’ll find guidance on improving and expanding service to identity theft victims, starting a collaborative group in your area, as well as downloadable, ready-to-customize training materials, brochures, and more.
Abstract | HTML
 
Innovative Practices for Victim Services: Report From the Field (December 2014) OVC, Bulletin, 20 pages, NCJ 248495. This e-bulletin provides brief descriptions of the innovative practices currently used by VOCA victim assistance and compensation programs throughout the country. This online resource promotes the replication of these practices, which cover six key program areas: needs assessment, systems advocacy and coordination, compensation, underserved populations, victims’ rights and services, and technology.
Abstract | HTML
 

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
 
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
 
Practical Implications of Current Intimate Partner Violence Research for Victim Advocates and Service Providers (January 2013) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 260 pages, NCJ 244348. This report expands and enhances the 2009 report titled "Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges" to address the practical implications of current domestic violence research for victim advocates and service providers.
Abstract | PDF
 

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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

CrimeSolutions.gov
CrimeSolutions.gov is a searchable online database of evidence-based programs covering a range of justice-related topics, including victim assistance programs; corrections; courts; crime prevention; substance abuse; juveniles; law enforcement; and technology and forensics. The site is a tool to understand, access and integrate scientific evidence about programs into programmatic and policy decisions.
 
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.
 
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

Girls Educational and Mentoring Services
The mission of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services is to empower young women, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential.
 
Greenbook Initiative
The Greenbook Initiative helps child welfare workers, domestic violence advocates and family court judges in communities across the country change their approach to family violence to better help battered women and their children achieve safety.
 
Maiti Nepal
Maiti Nepal was born out of a crusade to protect Nepali girls and women from crimes like domestic violence, trafficking for flesh trade, child prostitution, child labor and various forms of exploitation and torture.
 
National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)
NNEDV works closely with domestic violence coalitions, allied organization, and individuals to understand the ongoing and emerging needs of domestic violence victims and advocacy programs.
 
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.
 

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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 May 5 2015 at 2:00PM, Cris Sullivan, Director of the Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence and Professor of Ecological/Community Psychology at Michigan State Univers, and Keri Darling, founder and Director/Trainer of DVAS, Deaf Vermonters Advocacy Services, hosted a discussion on Build Your Own Body of Evidence-Based Knowledge

On Apr 22 2015 at 2:00PM, Teresa Huizar, Executive Director of National Children's Alliance, and Rebecca Khalil, J.D., staff attorney with the National Crime Victim Law Institute, hosted a discussion on Child Victims: Providing Effective Rights Enforcement Representation

On Apr 8 2015 at 2:00PM, Ann McCarty, Associate Director of the North County (California) Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center, and Leah Holland, former sexual assault response coordinator and domestic violence victim advocate coordinator, U.S. Army Garrison in Yongsan, South Korea, hosted a discussion on Providing Appropriate Support for Military Victims of Sexual Assault

On Mar 25 2015 at 2:00PM, Katie Monroe, Senior Advocate for National Partnerships at the Innocence Project, and Karin Ho, brings over 30 years combined experience as a victim advocate in the sexual assault, domestic violence and postconviction corrections field, hosted a discussion on Postconviction Exonerations and Victim Assistance

On Feb 25 2015 at 2:00PM, Jennifer Burkmire, advocate for children and a contract consultant for nonprofit organizations that provide social services, and Cynthia King, President of King & Associates, Inc, hosted a discussion on Developing an Effective Multidisciplinary Team


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 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

When may I submit my nomination for the National Crime Victims' Service Awards?
OVC is now accepting nominations for the 2016 National Crime Victims' Service Awards. These awards r... Read More

Does OVC provide direct services for victims of crime?
Yes. OVC provides direct services to people victimized on Tribal or federal lands, such as military ... Read More

What is the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Grant Program?
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) administers the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Progra... Read More

Back to Top


Funding

FY 2015 National Joint Training Conference for VOCA Victim Assistance and Victim Compensation Administrators (PDF 205 kb)
Deadline: 07/13/2015
One discretionary grant of $175,000 will be awarded to plan and administer the 2016 National Joint Training Conference for VOCA Victim Assistance and Victim Compensation Administrators, a 2.5-day conference that will provide training and technical assistance for Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) administrators, staff, and board members; and facilitate a forum for the presentation of state issues and practices. The conference will employ lectures, panels, workshops, and forums to explore ways to improve the delivery of crime victim services; provide an opportunity for VOCA administrators to exchange information, views, and experiences; and provide training and technical assistance on effective program operations. Those applying are strongly encouraged to begin the application process well in advance of the July 13, 2015, deadline.

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National Calendar of Crime Victim Assistance-Related Events
Upcoming Event(s)
41st National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) Conference
Dallas, TX
08/16/2015-08/19/2015

National Center for Victims of Crime's 2015 National Training Institute
Anaheim, CA
09/09/2015-09/11/2015

Online Directory of Crime Victims Services.