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Victim and Witness Assistance

  • Publications (80)
  • Resources (31)
  • Forum Discussions (5)
  • FAQs (18)
  • Funding (1)
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Victim and witness assistance programs ensure that victims and witnesses of crimes are treated with fairness and respect, afforded their rights, and provided with the services they need to help ease the impact of victimization. Victim and witness assistance services include, but are not limited to, crisis intervention, emergency shelter and transportation, counseling, and criminal justice advocacy. All states and most territories receive annual state victim assistance program formula grants that must be used to support local community-based organizations and public agencies that provide services directly to victims.

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


OVC and OVC-Sponsored Publications

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)
 
Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States: Fiscal Year 2015 Status Report (November 2016) OVC-Sponsored, 84 pages, NCJ 250414.
This status report identifies progress made by federal agencies during fiscal years 2015 to address the goals, objectives, and the actions identified in the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, 2013–2017 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
 
A Healing Journey for Alaska Natives (October 2016) OVC, OVC Videos, NCJ 249906.
This five–video series is designed to educate federal, state, local, and tribal victim service providers, criminal justice professionals, and others who work with Alaska Native victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.
HTML
Part Of the OVC Videos Series
 
Achieving Excellence: Model Standards for Serving Victims and Survivors of Crime (August 2016) OVC, 1 pages, NCJ 250080.
This e-publication provides guidelines and recommendations to help victim service providers and program administrators improve the quality and consistency of their response to crime victims. It includes program standards for guidelines, policies, and procedures that victim-serving organizations should have in place; competency standards for providers’ general attitudes, knowledge, and skills; and ethical standards for addressing a range of issues that may occur during daily service provision.
Abstract | HTML
 
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program Development and Operation Guide (August 2016) OVC, 2 pages, NCJ 250082.
This Guide serves as a blueprint to improve your SANE program and ensure that all sexual assault victims receive the highest standard of patient-centered care.
Abstract | HTML
 

OJP Publications

Examining Criminal Justice Responses to and Help-Seeking Patterns of Sexual Violence Survivors With Disabilities (June 2016) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 87 pages, NCJ 250196.
The goal of this study used is to better understand the criminal justice experience of persons with disabilities that report a sexual assault or rape to the authorities. Results suggest that current criminal justice structures are not sufficient to provide support for one of the highest-risk adult populations for sexual assault and victimization in the U.S.
Abstract | PDF
 
Detroit Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Action Research Project (ARP), Final Report (February 2015) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 551 pages, NCJ 248680.
This report documents the Detroit Sexual Assault Action-Research Project, in which a multidisciplinary team looked at the issue of a large number of sexual assault kits (SAKs) that had not been sent to a crime lab for DNA-testing. The team identified the underlying factors that contributed to the issue; developed and evaluated a plan for testing the SAKs; and created and evaluated protocols for notifying victims of the results of the testing. The report also offers practitioner-friendly resources, including how to create victim-notification protocols.
Abstract | PDF
 
Evaluation of Services for Domestic Minor Victims of Human Trafficking (August 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 115 pages, NCJ 248578.
This primary goals of this evaluation were documenting program implementation of the three OVC funded programs, identify promising practices for service delivery programs, and informing delivery of current and future efforts to serve victims of sex and labor trafficking of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents under the age of 18.
Abstract | PDF
 
Improving Human Trafficking Victim Identification-Validation and Dissemination of a Screening Tool (June 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 455 pages, NCJ 246712.
This guide provides users with recommendations on how to build trust with potential victims, maintain confidentiality, and use the tool correctly. When properly used, the tool could give victim service providers, law enforcement and legal, healthcare, and social service providers with a standard means of identifying victims of human trafficking.
Abstract | PDF
 
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
 

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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 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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

More FAQs

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

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


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

More Funding Opportunities

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

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


Publications

OVC and OVC-Sponsored Publications

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)
 
Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States: Fiscal Year 2015 Status Report (November 2016) OVC-Sponsored, 84 pages, NCJ 250414. This status report identifies progress made by federal agencies during fiscal years 2015 to address the goals, objectives, and the actions identified in the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, 2013–2017 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
 
A Healing Journey for Alaska Natives (October 2016) OVC, OVC Videos, NCJ 249906. This five–video series is designed to educate federal, state, local, and tribal victim service providers, criminal justice professionals, and others who work with Alaska Native victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.
HTML
Part Of the OVC Videos Series
 
Achieving Excellence: Model Standards for Serving Victims and Survivors of Crime (August 2016) OVC, 1 pages, NCJ 250080. This e-publication provides guidelines and recommendations to help victim service providers and program administrators improve the quality and consistency of their response to crime victims. It includes program standards for guidelines, policies, and procedures that victim-serving organizations should have in place; competency standards for providers’ general attitudes, knowledge, and skills; and ethical standards for addressing a range of issues that may occur during daily service provision.
Abstract | HTML
 
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program Development and Operation Guide (August 2016) OVC, 2 pages, NCJ 250082. This Guide serves as a blueprint to improve your SANE program and ensure that all sexual assault victims receive the highest standard of patient-centered care.
Abstract | HTML
 

OJP Publications

Examining Criminal Justice Responses to and Help-Seeking Patterns of Sexual Violence Survivors With Disabilities (June 2016) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 87 pages, NCJ 250196. The goal of this study used is to better understand the criminal justice experience of persons with disabilities that report a sexual assault or rape to the authorities. Results suggest that current criminal justice structures are not sufficient to provide support for one of the highest-risk adult populations for sexual assault and victimization in the U.S.
Abstract | PDF
 
Detroit Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Action Research Project (ARP), Final Report (February 2015) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 551 pages, NCJ 248680. This report documents the Detroit Sexual Assault Action-Research Project, in which a multidisciplinary team looked at the issue of a large number of sexual assault kits (SAKs) that had not been sent to a crime lab for DNA-testing. The team identified the underlying factors that contributed to the issue; developed and evaluated a plan for testing the SAKs; and created and evaluated protocols for notifying victims of the results of the testing. The report also offers practitioner-friendly resources, including how to create victim-notification protocols.
Abstract | PDF
 
Evaluation of Services for Domestic Minor Victims of Human Trafficking (August 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 115 pages, NCJ 248578. This primary goals of this evaluation were documenting program implementation of the three OVC funded programs, identify promising practices for service delivery programs, and informing delivery of current and future efforts to serve victims of sex and labor trafficking of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents under the age of 18.
Abstract | PDF
 
Improving Human Trafficking Victim Identification-Validation and Dissemination of a Screening Tool (June 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 455 pages, NCJ 246712. This guide provides users with recommendations on how to build trust with potential victims, maintain confidentiality, and use the tool correctly. When properly used, the tool could give victim service providers, law enforcement and legal, healthcare, and social service providers with a standard means of identifying victims of human trafficking.
Abstract | PDF
 
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
 

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Related Resources

OVC Funded Resources

Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims
For over a decade, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has collaborated with OVC to promote crime victim rights and facilitate law enforcement's ability to effectively address victim needs. One of the key milestones of this collaboration includes the 21st Century Strategy for Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims, consisting of the Strategy, the Implementation Guide, the Resource Toolkit, and the Training Supplemental. This Web site, which captures the 21st Century Strategy and a number of other victim-related materials and publications, serves as a unique law enforcement resource center for enhanced victim response.
 
Identity Theft Victim Assistance Network Project
The Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center, Inc. (MCVRC), with funding from OVC, this project seeks to improve the response (infrastructure, training, outreach tools, and direct victim assistance services) to victims of identity theft nationwide.
 
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.
 
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
RAINN operates a 24-hour telephone hotline (1-800-656-HOPE) and an Online Hotline for victims of sexual assault. The secure web-based hotline provides a safe, secure, and anonymous place for victims to get help online. RAINN also works to promote education and prevention of sexual assault, compiles and shares links to Legal Resources, including the State Mandatory Regulations regarding children and the elderly.
 

Federal Resources

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.
 
Department of Defense (DoD) Safe Helpline
The Department of Defense (DoD) Safe Helpline is a confidential crisis support service for adult service members of the DoD community affected by sexual assault. Operated by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the helpline provides live, one-on-one expert advice and information 24/7.
 
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP)
The DEA-VWAP was implemented to ensure the rights of crime victims encountered in DEA investigations are met.
 
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.
 
World Trade Center Health Program
This program monitors, screens, treats and supports responders who responded to the disaster site at the World Trade Center in New York City and who may have been affected physically or mentally by their service. The site is designed to provide information related to all aspects of the World Trade Center Health Program, to highlight new developments in the program as they occur, and to help individuals find information of particular interest for them.
 

Non-Governmental Resources

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.
 
Helping And Lending Outreach Support (HALOS)
HALOS's mission is to provide resources and special opportunities to abused and neglected children and their caregivers through partnerships with faith-based and other community organizations. HALOS matches community donations to the needs of foster children and children cared for in the homes of family members other than their parents. OVC produced a toolkit available at www.ovc.gov/halos which offers lessons learned and suggests strategies for establishing programs like HALOS wherever foster families and relatives need additional support for the children in their care.
 
MiraMed
The mission of MiraMed is to protect, educate and support Russia’s disadvantaged youth and children growing up in institutions and eliminate the sexual trafficking of vulnerable young women and girls while assisting in the rescue, return and rehabilitation of trafficking victims.
 
National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA)
NAPSA provides state Adult Protective Services program administrators and staff with a forum for sharing information, solving problems, and improving the quality of services for victims of elder and vulnerable adult abuse.
 
National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators (NAVAA)
NAVAA's mission is to advance education, research, and public service to assure accessible quality services for crime victims nationwide, to strengthen exchange of information and communication among its members and to provide its members with training and technical assistance to effectively respond to the issues and challenges of supporting those services.
 

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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 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

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


FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

Back to Top


Funding

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

Back to Top


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