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Victim Advocacy/Advocates

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  • Resources (60)
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  • FAQs (73)
  • Funding (2)
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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

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 | HTML
 
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 Crime & Victimization in the United States Statistical Fact Sheet (2018) OVC
This fact sheet provides a snapshot of current research and victimization statistics in the United States. Use this and other fact sheets from the 2018 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Resource Guide (www.ovc.gov/ncvrw2018) to promote awareness about different types of crime, as graphics for your social media, and to inform other education efforts throughout the year.
PDF
 
2018 Crime Trends Statistical Fact Sheet (2018) OVC
This fact sheet provides a snapshot of current crime trends in the United States. Use this and other fact sheets from the 2018 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Resource Guide (www.ovc.gov/ncvrw2018) to promote awareness about different types of crime, as graphics for your social media, and to inform other education efforts throughout the year.
PDF
 

OJP Publications

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
 
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
 

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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.


Integrated Services for Minor Victims of Human Trafficking FY 2018 Competitive Grant Solicitation (PDF 678 kb)
Deadline: 04/04/2019
This program is designed to enhance the quality and quantity of services available to assist minor (under the age of 18) victims of human trafficking. Organizations funded under this program will provide (directly and through partnerships) a comprehensive array of services that minor victims of human trafficking often require to address their needs for safety, security, and healing. Funded applicants will be expected to serve minor victims of both labor trafficking and sex trafficking. OVC will conduct a pre-application webinar on February 20, 2019, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. e.t. Register at www.ovc.gov/grants/webinars.html. Apply by April 4, 2019.


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

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

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 | HTML
 
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 Crime & Victimization in the United States Statistical Fact Sheet (2018) OVC This fact sheet provides a snapshot of current research and victimization statistics in the United States. Use this and other fact sheets from the 2018 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Resource Guide (www.ovc.gov/ncvrw2018) to promote awareness about different types of crime, as graphics for your social media, and to inform other education efforts throughout the year.
PDF
 
2018 Crime Trends Statistical Fact Sheet (2018) OVC This fact sheet provides a snapshot of current crime trends in the United States. Use this and other fact sheets from the 2018 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Resource Guide (www.ovc.gov/ncvrw2018) to promote awareness about different types of crime, as graphics for your social media, and to inform other education efforts throughout the year.
PDF
 

OJP Publications

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
 
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
 

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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.
 
Mobile Apps Compiled by OVC
This section of the OVC site contains a list of free apps, created by government agencies and non-profit organizations, that provide information and resources about various types of victimization.
 
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.
 
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

Corporation for National and Community Service (CNS)
The Corporation for National and Community Service provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to engage in service that addresses the Nation's educational, public safety, environmental, and other human needs to achieve direct and demonstrable results and to encourage all Americans to engage in such service. In doing so, the corporation will foster civic responsibility, strengthen the ties that bind us together as a people, and provide educational opportunity for those who make a substantial commitment to service.
 
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.
 
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, the "peacemaker" arm of the U.S. Department of Justice for community conflicts and tensions, 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

National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association
NCASAA provides advocacy, public education, and resources for CASA programs across the country. The association also trains CASA volunteers, who work to find safe, permanent homes for abused and neglected children.
 
National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (NIWAP)
NIWAP is a national provider of training, legal and social science research, policy development, and technical assistance to providers and allied professionals who work with immigrant women, children and crime victims. NIWAP hosts a library which contains numerous resources on the legal rights of immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and other crimes.
 
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.
 
National Stalking Awareness Month
The Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime presents a versatile set of resources to help plan the observance of National Stalking Awareness Month and outreach throughout the year.
 
Start by Believing
Sponsored by End Violence Against Women International, this campaign Web site is designed to inform and change the way individuals respond to victims of sexual violence.
 

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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

Integrated Services for Minor Victims of Human Trafficking FY 2018 Competitive Grant Solicitation (PDF 678 kb)
Deadline: 04/04/2019
This program is designed to enhance the quality and quantity of services available to assist minor (under the age of 18) victims of human trafficking. Organizations funded under this program will provide (directly and through partnerships) a comprehensive array of services that minor victims of human trafficking often require to address their needs for safety, security, and healing. Funded applicants will be expected to serve minor victims of both labor trafficking and sex trafficking. OVC will conduct a pre-application webinar on February 20, 2019, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. e.t. Register at www.ovc.gov/grants/webinars.html. Apply by April 4, 2019.


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

Online Directory of Crime Victims Services.