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Victim and Witness Assistance

  • Publications (107)
  • Resources (39)
  • Forum Discussions (5)
  • FAQs (26)
  • 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

2018 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Kit (includes Theme Poster and awareness posters) (2018) OVC, PS000032KIT.
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
 
2018 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Theme Poster (2018) OVC, PS000032.
The poster is available for download and a customizable version is available. The poster evokes this year’s NCVRW theme—Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims—which emphasizes the importance of inclusion in victim services. A limited number of color hardcopies can be ordered through the OVC Resource Center (www.ncjrs.gov).
HTML
 
2018 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide (2018) OVC, 3 pages, NCJ 251052.
The 2018 NCVRW Resource Guide provides a wealth of materials for promoting public awareness campaigns for NCVRW and throughout the year. The guide includes planning tips, artwork, crime and victimization fact sheets, and more. Help OVC Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims.
Abstract | HTML
 
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Toolkit (September 2018) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 0 pages, NCJ 252125.
This second edition of the SART Toolkit provides resources for communities wanting to develop SARTs — coordinated teams of people who serve victims of sexual assault — and for communities wanting to improve their SART responses. The toolkit reviews the basics, lays out the steps involved building a SART, outlines strategic planning for SART operations, and describes how to remain focused on serving victims of crime.
Abstract | HTML
 
Vision 21: National Resource Center for Reaching Victims (August 2018) OVC, Fact Sheet, OVC Fact Sheets, 2 pages, NCJ 251958.
This fact sheet describes the OVC-funded National Resource Center for Reaching Victims project. The center seeks to be one-stop shop where providers, policymakers, and other professionals will be able to obtain information and expert guidance to enhance their capacity to identify, reach, and serve all victims, especially those from communities that too often have less access to healing services and avenues to justice.
Abstract | PDF
Part Of the OVC Fact Sheets Series
 

OJP Publications

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
 
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
 

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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 2019 Guidance for Invited Applications for Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program for Crime Victim Compensation and/or Assistance (PDF 473 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 domestic terrorism or mass criminal violence. The criminal act has to be of sufficient magnitude that the jurisdiction cannot provide needed services to victims of the incident with existing resources and it places an undue financial hardship on the jurisdiction’s ability to respond to victims of other crimes in a timely and comprehensive manner. This is not a competitive solicitation. 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

2018 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Kit (includes Theme Poster and awareness posters) (2018) OVC, PS000032KIT. 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
 
2018 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Theme Poster (2018) OVC, PS000032. The poster is available for download and a customizable version is available. The poster evokes this year’s NCVRW theme—Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims—which emphasizes the importance of inclusion in victim services. A limited number of color hardcopies can be ordered through the OVC Resource Center (www.ncjrs.gov).
HTML
 
2018 National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide (2018) OVC, 3 pages, NCJ 251052. The 2018 NCVRW Resource Guide provides a wealth of materials for promoting public awareness campaigns for NCVRW and throughout the year. The guide includes planning tips, artwork, crime and victimization fact sheets, and more. Help OVC Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims.
Abstract | HTML
 
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Toolkit (September 2018) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 0 pages, NCJ 252125. This second edition of the SART Toolkit provides resources for communities wanting to develop SARTs — coordinated teams of people who serve victims of sexual assault — and for communities wanting to improve their SART responses. The toolkit reviews the basics, lays out the steps involved building a SART, outlines strategic planning for SART operations, and describes how to remain focused on serving victims of crime.
Abstract | HTML
 
Vision 21: National Resource Center for Reaching Victims (August 2018) OVC, Fact Sheet, OVC Fact Sheets, 2 pages, NCJ 251958. This fact sheet describes the OVC-funded National Resource Center for Reaching Victims project. The center seeks to be one-stop shop where providers, policymakers, and other professionals will be able to obtain information and expert guidance to enhance their capacity to identify, reach, and serve all victims, especially those from communities that too often have less access to healing services and avenues to justice.
Abstract | PDF
Part Of the OVC Fact Sheets Series
 

OJP Publications

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
 
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
 

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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.
 
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.
 
Pathways to Safety International
Pathways to Safety International (formerly the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center) provides crisis services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
 
VictimConnect Resource Center - Confidential referrals for crime victims
VictimConnect serves victims of any crime in the United States. Trained specialists are available to help you locate referrals for mental health counseling, financial compensation, legal services, civil justice options, support groups, crime reporting, identity theft recovery and more.
 
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

Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP)
OVC manages AEAP, which offers five funding streams to provide timely relief to communities affected by terrorism and criminal mass violence for immediate and ongoing victim assistance services in the form of grants to qualifying applicants (including state victim assistance and compensation programs); U.S. Attorneys' Offices; federal, state, and local governments; and nongovernmental victim service organizations.
 
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.
 
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.
 

Non-Governmental Resources

International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
IFSW is a global organization striving for social justice, human rights and social development through social work, best practices and international cooperation between social workers and their professional organizations.
 
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 Helpline for Men Who Were Sexually Abused or Assaulted
Trained advocates are available 24/7 to chat with men who have experienced sexual abuse or assault or with people seeking to help a loved one. Access the one-on-one chat for services such as crisis support and information and referrals. Or join a support group facilitated by a trained counselor. This free and anonymous service is provided by 1in6, in partnership with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
 
National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs
Violence is preventable, and trauma centers and emergency rooms have a golden moment of opportunity at the hospital bedside to engage with a victim of violence and to stop the cycle of violence. The Network's purpose is to strengthen existing programs and help develop similar programs in communities across the country.
 
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.
 

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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 2019 Guidance for Invited Applications for Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program for Crime Victim Compensation and/or Assistance (PDF 473 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 domestic terrorism or mass criminal violence. The criminal act has to be of sufficient magnitude that the jurisdiction cannot provide needed services to victims of the incident with existing resources and it places an undue financial hardship on the jurisdiction’s ability to respond to victims of other crimes in a timely and comprehensive manner. This is not a competitive solicitation. Only after OVC has consulted with an eligible organization can an application be submitted.

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EventsDirectoryE-Mail Updates
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National Calendar of Crime Victim Assistance-Related Events
Upcoming Event(s)
National Indian Nations Conference: Justice for Victims of Crime
Agua Caliente Reservation, CA
12/05/2018-12/07/2018

Online Directory of Crime Victims Services.