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Victim Advocacy/Advocates

  • Publications (146)
  • Resources (58)
  • Forum Discussions (5)
  • FAQs (74)
  • Funding (1)
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Every crime has a victim, but not every victim has a voice within the criminal justice system. Victims often need someone to help them identify and assert their rights, navigate an unfamiliar criminal justice system process, issue a victim impact statement, provide counseling and support, or locate and obtain the services they need to help ease the impact of their victimization. Victim advocates perform a myriad of functions that may include speaking or acting on a victim’s behalf; serving as a liaison between the victim and the court system to minimize the physical, psychological, emotional, and financial effects of the crime on the victim; and working to effect social and system changes.

The following resources provide information on issues related to victim advocacy.


OVC and OVC-Sponsored Publications

2019 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Poster (2019) OVC, NCJ 252740.
The poster evokes this year’s NCVRW theme—Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.—which celebrates the progress made by those before us as we look to a future of crime victim services that is even more inclusive, accessible, and trauma-informed. The poster is available for download and a customizable version is available. A limited number of color hardcopies can be ordered through the OVC Resource Center (www.ncjrs.gov).
HTML
 
2019 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Poster Kit (includes Theme Poster and awareness posters) (2019) OVC, NCJ 252741.
The poster kit contains the NCVRW Theme Poster and this year's awareness posters. These awareness materials are customizable and available to download. A limited number of color hardcopies can be ordered through the OVC Resource Center (www.ncjrs.gov).
HTML
 
What We Know About Identity Theft and Fraud Victims From Research- and Practice-Based Evidence (August 2019) OVC-Sponsored, 36 pages, NCJ 253627.
This report compiles research about identity theft and fraud victimization. The report covers research on topics including the prevalence of identity theft and fraud; risk and protective factors; and prevention, intervention, and victim services.
Abstract | PDF
 
Advancing the Implementation of Effective, Survivor-Driven Advocacy (May 2019) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 38 pages, NCJ 253514.
This publication describes a project which seeks to 1) enhance the quality of advocacy for domestic violence survivors and their children provided by a domestic violence program, Courage Connection, 2) increase Courage Connection’s capacity to engage in ongoing evaluation of their service delivery efforts, and 3) generate research knowledge about the conditions in which effective survivor-centered advocacy services are implemented in a domestic violence program setting.
Abstract | PDF
 
2019 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide (March 2019) OVC, 3 pages, NCJ 252369.
The 2019 NCVRW Resource Guide provides materials to create your own public awareness campaigns to raise awareness about crime victims’ rights and the services available to victims of crime. The guide features campaign materials in both English and Spanish, including planning tips, artwork, and more.
Abstract | HTML
 

OJP Publications

Victim Service Providers in the United States, 2017 (November 2019) BJS, NCJ 252648.
This report provides statistics from the National Census of Victim Service Providers, the first national data collection on the number and characteristics of these organizations. The report describes the types of organizations that serve victims, maps their locations, and reports on the rate of victim service providers per 100,000 U.S. residents by state. The census was conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics with support from OVC.
PDF
 
Financial Support for Victims of Crime: A Quick Guide for Corrections and Community Supervision Officers (August 2018) BJA-Sponsored, Grant, 4 pages, NCJ 252127.
Corrections, probation, and parole officers can play an important role to inform victims of services, rights, and programs. This guide outlines how to provide victims of crime with information on restitution, victim compensation, and other types of financial assistance.
Abstract | PDF
 
Questioning Bias: Validating A Bias Crime Victim Assessment Tool In California And New Jersey, Summary Overview (July 2018) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 29 pages, NCJ 252010.
This study investigated the experiences of hate incidents, crimes and factors affecting underreporting among youth and adults in LGBT, Hispanic, Black, Muslim communities in New Jersey and Los Angeles. Based on the research findings, the Vera Institute of Justice developed an assessment tool, the Bias Crime Assessment Tool, to improve the identification of hate crime victimization, better reflect victims’ experiences, increase confidence in the reporting process, and help to record more accurate data.
Abstract | PDF
 
Social Support Can Diminish Negative Effects of Elder Abuse (December 2017) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 2 pages, NCJ 251468.
This article summarizes the findings of a series of studies that have identified the critical role of social support in preventing and ameliorating the adverse effects of elder abuse. These research findings may help inform how victim service providers and allied professionals respond to victims of elder abuse.
Abstract | PDF
 
Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence: A Toolkit for Law Enforcement (February 2017) OJJDP-Sponsored, Report, 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
 

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Every crime has a victim, but not every victim has a voice within the criminal justice system. Victims often need someone to help them identify and assert their rights, navigate an unfamiliar criminal justice system process, issue a victim impact statement, provide counseling and support, or locate and obtain the services they need to help ease the impact of their victimization. Victim advocates perform a myriad of functions that may include speaking or acting on a victim’s behalf; serving as a liaison between the victim and the court system to minimize the physical, psychological, emotional, and financial effects of the crime on the victim; and working to effect social and system changes.

The following resources provide information on issues related to victim advocacy.


Every crime has a victim, but not every victim has a voice within the criminal justice system. Victims often need someone to help them identify and assert their rights, navigate an unfamiliar criminal justice system process, issue a victim impact statement, provide counseling and support, or locate and obtain the services they need to help ease the impact of their victimization. Victim advocates perform a myriad of functions that may include speaking or acting on a victim’s behalf; serving as a liaison between the victim and the court system to minimize the physical, psychological, emotional, and financial effects of the crime on the victim; and working to effect social and system changes.

The following resources provide information on issues related to victim advocacy.


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

Every crime has a victim, but not every victim has a voice within the criminal justice system. Victims often need someone to help them identify and assert their rights, navigate an unfamiliar criminal justice system process, issue a victim impact statement, provide counseling and support, or locate and obtain the services they need to help ease the impact of their victimization. Victim advocates perform a myriad of functions that may include speaking or acting on a victim’s behalf; serving as a liaison between the victim and the court system to minimize the physical, psychological, emotional, and financial effects of the crime on the victim; and working to effect social and system changes.

The following resources provide information on issues related to victim advocacy.


What is the difference between compensation and restitution?
Restitution is a court action that requires perpetrators to make financial payments to their victims... Read More

How do I add my program/organization to the Online Directory of Crime Victim Services?
Visit the Get Posted section of the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Online Directory of Crime Vict... Read More

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

What is the Online Directory of Crime Victim Services?
The Online Directory of Crime Victim Services is a Web-enabled, online resource sponsored by the Off... 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

More FAQs

Every crime has a victim, but not every victim has a voice within the criminal justice system. Victims often need someone to help them identify and assert their rights, navigate an unfamiliar criminal justice system process, issue a victim impact statement, provide counseling and support, or locate and obtain the services they need to help ease the impact of their victimization. Victim advocates perform a myriad of functions that may include speaking or acting on a victim’s behalf; serving as a liaison between the victim and the court system to minimize the physical, psychological, emotional, and financial effects of the crime on the victim; and working to effect social and system changes.

The following resources provide information on issues related to victim advocacy.


FY 2020 Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking (PDF 1.6 mb)
Deadline: 02/03/2020
The program will support the following types of housing assistance for victims of all forms of human trafficking: (1) transitional housing, including funding for the operating expenses of a newly developed or existing transitional housing program; (2) short-term housing assistance, including rental or utilities payment assistance and assistance with related expenses. Projects must also include support services designed to enable victims of human trafficking and any dependents to locate and secure permanent housing and find employment. OVC conducted a pre-application webinar on December 19, 2019, and a recording and transcript of this webinar are available at www.ovc.gov/grants/webinars.html. View changes to page 6 of the solicitation at www.ovc.gov/grants/pdftxt/fy-2020-housing-assistance-change.pdf. Apply by February 3, 2020.

More Funding Opportunities

Every crime has a victim, but not every victim has a voice within the criminal justice system. Victims often need someone to help them identify and assert their rights, navigate an unfamiliar criminal justice system process, issue a victim impact statement, provide counseling and support, or locate and obtain the services they need to help ease the impact of their victimization. Victim advocates perform a myriad of functions that may include speaking or acting on a victim’s behalf; serving as a liaison between the victim and the court system to minimize the physical, psychological, emotional, and financial effects of the crime on the victim; and working to effect social and system changes.

The following resources provide information on issues related to victim advocacy.


Publications

OVC and OVC-Sponsored Publications

2019 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Poster (2019) OVC, NCJ 252740. The poster evokes this year’s NCVRW theme—Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.—which celebrates the progress made by those before us as we look to a future of crime victim services that is even more inclusive, accessible, and trauma-informed. The poster is available for download and a customizable version is available. A limited number of color hardcopies can be ordered through the OVC Resource Center (www.ncjrs.gov).
HTML
 
2019 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Poster Kit (includes Theme Poster and awareness posters) (2019) OVC, NCJ 252741. The poster kit contains the NCVRW Theme Poster and this year's awareness posters. These awareness materials are customizable and available to download. A limited number of color hardcopies can be ordered through the OVC Resource Center (www.ncjrs.gov).
HTML
 
What We Know About Identity Theft and Fraud Victims From Research- and Practice-Based Evidence (August 2019) OVC-Sponsored, 36 pages, NCJ 253627. This report compiles research about identity theft and fraud victimization. The report covers research on topics including the prevalence of identity theft and fraud; risk and protective factors; and prevention, intervention, and victim services.
Abstract | PDF
 
Advancing the Implementation of Effective, Survivor-Driven Advocacy (May 2019) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 38 pages, NCJ 253514. This publication describes a project which seeks to 1) enhance the quality of advocacy for domestic violence survivors and their children provided by a domestic violence program, Courage Connection, 2) increase Courage Connection’s capacity to engage in ongoing evaluation of their service delivery efforts, and 3) generate research knowledge about the conditions in which effective survivor-centered advocacy services are implemented in a domestic violence program setting.
Abstract | PDF
 
2019 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide (March 2019) OVC, 3 pages, NCJ 252369. The 2019 NCVRW Resource Guide provides materials to create your own public awareness campaigns to raise awareness about crime victims’ rights and the services available to victims of crime. The guide features campaign materials in both English and Spanish, including planning tips, artwork, and more.
Abstract | HTML
 

OJP Publications

Victim Service Providers in the United States, 2017 (November 2019) BJS, NCJ 252648. This report provides statistics from the National Census of Victim Service Providers, the first national data collection on the number and characteristics of these organizations. The report describes the types of organizations that serve victims, maps their locations, and reports on the rate of victim service providers per 100,000 U.S. residents by state. The census was conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics with support from OVC.
PDF
 
Financial Support for Victims of Crime: A Quick Guide for Corrections and Community Supervision Officers (August 2018) BJA-Sponsored, Grant, 4 pages, NCJ 252127. Corrections, probation, and parole officers can play an important role to inform victims of services, rights, and programs. This guide outlines how to provide victims of crime with information on restitution, victim compensation, and other types of financial assistance.
Abstract | PDF
 
Questioning Bias: Validating A Bias Crime Victim Assessment Tool In California And New Jersey, Summary Overview (July 2018) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 29 pages, NCJ 252010. This study investigated the experiences of hate incidents, crimes and factors affecting underreporting among youth and adults in LGBT, Hispanic, Black, Muslim communities in New Jersey and Los Angeles. Based on the research findings, the Vera Institute of Justice developed an assessment tool, the Bias Crime Assessment Tool, to improve the identification of hate crime victimization, better reflect victims’ experiences, increase confidence in the reporting process, and help to record more accurate data.
Abstract | PDF
 
Social Support Can Diminish Negative Effects of Elder Abuse (December 2017) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 2 pages, NCJ 251468. This article summarizes the findings of a series of studies that have identified the critical role of social support in preventing and ameliorating the adverse effects of elder abuse. These research findings may help inform how victim service providers and allied professionals respond to victims of elder abuse.
Abstract | PDF
 
Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence: A Toolkit for Law Enforcement (February 2017) OJJDP-Sponsored, Report, 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
 

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Related Resources

OVC Funded Resources

Center for Victim Research
The OVC-funded Center for Victim Research is a tool for victim service providers and researchers to connect and share knowledge. CVR facilitates access to victim research and data while improving the utility of research and data collection to crime victim services nationwide. CVR’s library collection offers open-access research materials, special access to research for VOCA-funded organizations, and free training.
 
Linking Systems of Care for Children and Youth Project
This project is designed to reach underserved children, youth, and families in Illinois, Montana, Ohio, and Virginia who are victims of crime. This demonstration product seeks to provide immediate and long-range services for through collaboration and coordination of systems of care and inform victim service providers and other stakeholders of the most effective strategies and programs to address the needs of this population.
 
National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center
This OVC-funded initiative provides evidence-based information, training, and other resources for communities so they can effectively prepare for and respond to mass violence incidents.
 
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.
 
Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Administrators
This resource provides information and guidance to help improve the management of Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds. OVC will also periodically post notifications, updates, and resources for state VOCA administrators.
 

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.
 
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Disaster Distress Helpline
The Disaster Distress Helpline is dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. This toll free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone 800–985–5990 (for Spanish, press 2) and SMS (text 'TalkWithUs', or for Spanish, text 'Hablanos', to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters.
 
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ): Community Relations Service (CRS)
CRS is the "peacemaker" arm of the U.S. Department of Justice for community conflicts and tensions. It provides expert guidance and assistance to community officials and civic leaders to help resolve and prevent racial and ethnic conflict, violence, and civil disorders.
 

Non-Governmental Resources

Casa de Esperanza
This organization provides bilingual advocacy and services to Latina victims of intimate partner violence. Victims may contact the Casa de Esperanza 24-hour crisis line at 651-772-1611.
 
National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL)
NCALL's mission is to eliminate abuse in later life by challenging beliefs, policies, practices and systems that allow abuse to occur and continue and to improve safety, services and support to victims through advocacy and education.
 
Safe Horizon
Safe Horizon's mission is to provide support, prevent violence, and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families, and communities. Safe Horizon's program to assist victims and survivors of human trafficking helps deliver intensive case management, shelter, legal services, and mental health care to survivors of trafficking.
 
Shared Hope International
Shared Hope International is a worldwide effort to prevent and eradicate sex trafficking and slavery through education and public awareness.
 
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 difference between compensation and restitution?
Restitution is a court action that requires perpetrators to make financial payments to their victims... Read More

How do I add my program/organization to the Online Directory of Crime Victim Services?
Visit the Get Posted section of the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Online Directory of Crime Vict... Read More

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

What is the Online Directory of Crime Victim Services?
The Online Directory of Crime Victim Services is a Web-enabled, online resource sponsored by the Off... 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

Back to Top


Funding

FY 2020 Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking (PDF 1.6 mb)
Deadline: 02/03/2020
The program will support the following types of housing assistance for victims of all forms of human trafficking: (1) transitional housing, including funding for the operating expenses of a newly developed or existing transitional housing program; (2) short-term housing assistance, including rental or utilities payment assistance and assistance with related expenses. Projects must also include support services designed to enable victims of human trafficking and any dependents to locate and secure permanent housing and find employment. OVC conducted a pre-application webinar on December 19, 2019, and a recording and transcript of this webinar are available at www.ovc.gov/grants/webinars.html. View changes to page 6 of the solicitation at www.ovc.gov/grants/pdftxt/fy-2020-housing-assistance-change.pdf. Apply by February 3, 2020.

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National Calendar of Crime Victim Assistance-Related Events
Upcoming Event(s)

Online Directory of Crime Victims Services.