Office for Victims of Crime - Justice for Victims. Justice for All
Justice for Victims. Justice for All
Facebook     Twitter     You TubeEventsDirectoryE-Mail Updates
skip navigation
Browse By Topic

Victim and Witness Assistance

  • Publications (110)
  • Resources (42)
  • Forum Discussions (5)
  • FAQs (27)
  • Funding (1)
  • View All

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

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
 
National TeleNursing Center (NTC) Sustainability (February 2019) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 11 pages, NCJ 253058.
This report evaluates the potential sustainability, and presents unique challenges for expansion, of the National TeleNursing Center, a program established through a multi-year OVC grant.
Abstract | PDF
 
National TeleNursing Center: Program Evaluation Final Report (October 2018) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 76 pages, NCJ 253059.
OVC funded the National TeleNursing Center (NTC) to develop and evaluate telemedicine in providing consultation to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) nurses conducting forensic sexual assault medical examinations in remote and/or underserved hospitals. This report provides an overview of the development of the NTC, presents data on the delivery of services, provides updated results of site clinicians’ experiences with telenursing services, and discusses lessons learned from over five years of project implementation.
Abstract | PDF
 
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Toolkit (September 2018) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 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
 

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
 
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
 

Back to Top

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 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

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

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
 
National TeleNursing Center (NTC) Sustainability (February 2019) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 11 pages, NCJ 253058. This report evaluates the potential sustainability, and presents unique challenges for expansion, of the National TeleNursing Center, a program established through a multi-year OVC grant.
Abstract | PDF
 
National TeleNursing Center: Program Evaluation Final Report (October 2018) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 76 pages, NCJ 253059. OVC funded the National TeleNursing Center (NTC) to develop and evaluate telemedicine in providing consultation to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) nurses conducting forensic sexual assault medical examinations in remote and/or underserved hospitals. This report provides an overview of the development of the NTC, presents data on the delivery of services, provides updated results of site clinicians’ experiences with telenursing services, and discusses lessons learned from over five years of project implementation.
Abstract | PDF
 
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Toolkit (September 2018) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 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
 

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
 
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
 

Back to Top

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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 

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.
 
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP)
The DEA-VWAP was implemented to ensure the rights of crime victims encountered in DEA investigations are met.
 
National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)
Sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs, NCJRS offers information on victimology and victim assistance, criminal justice, juvenile justice, information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide. NCJRS supplies the victim services field with resources, publications, and program information. The NCJRS library collection includes more than 30,000 resources relevant to the field.
 
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.
 
Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office
The VOICE Office was established to serve the needs of crime victims and their families who have been affected by crimes committed by individuals with a nexus to immigration. The website provides a variety of useful information, including a dedicated toll-free VOICE Hotline to answer questions from victims (1-855-48-VOICE) and assistance signing-up to receive automated custody status information about an individual in custody (DHS-VINE).
 

Non-Governmental Resources

Center for Child and Family Studies
The Center for Child and Family Studies partners with public and private agencies to build, maintain, and restore families and communities.
 
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 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.
 
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.
 

Back to Top


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 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.

Back to Top


EventsDirectoryE-Mail Updates
Facebook     Twitter     You TubeEventsDirectoryE-Mail Updates
 
National Calendar of Crime Victim Assistance-Related Events
Upcoming Event(s)

Online Directory of Crime Victims Services.