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Victim and Witness Assistance

  • Publications (102)
  • Resources (38)
  • Forum Discussions (5)
  • FAQs (22)
  • 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
 
It's Not an "Accident": It's a Crime! (April 2018) OVC-Sponsored, 2 pages, NCJ 251642.
All victims of crime should be treated with dignity and respect, including victims of drunk driving crashes. This brochure provides information to law enforcement officers on how to respond to DUI crash victims and the services that may be available to them, including crime victim compensation. This resource was produced by the National Sheriffs' Association with funding support from OVC.
Abstract | PDF
 
Help for Victims of DUI Crashes (April 2018) OVC-Sponsored, 2 pages, NCJ 251675.
All victims of crime should be treated with dignity and respect, including victims of drunk driving crashes. This brochure provides information to victims of DUI crashes and the rights and services that may be available to them, including crime victim compensation. This resource was produced by the National Sheriffs' Association with funding support from OVC.
Abstract | PDF
 

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, Electronic Document, 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 2018 Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside Program (PDF 489 kb)
Deadline: 08/06/2018
Under the solicitation, OVC will award eligible tribes, tribal consortia, and tribal designees grants to support a wide-range of services for victims of crime. OVC anticipates making up to $110 million available through this solicitation to support tribes to improve victim services. In developing the scope of activities allowable with this funding, OVC took into account input from tribal leaders and other stakeholders regarding needs for victim services in tribal communities. This solicitation has a streamlined, two-phase process by which tribes may apply for and receive the tribal set-aside funding. This solicitation has a streamlined, two-phase application process for this unique program. OVC conducted a Phase 1 pre-application webinar on June 28, 2018, and a recording of this webinar is available at www.ovc.gov/grants/webinars.html. View frequently asked questions and answers at www.ovc.gov/grants/FY18-tribal-set-aside-FAQs.pdf. Apply by 9:00 p.m. e.t. on August 6, 2018.

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
 
It's Not an "Accident": It's a Crime! (April 2018) OVC-Sponsored, 2 pages, NCJ 251642. All victims of crime should be treated with dignity and respect, including victims of drunk driving crashes. This brochure provides information to law enforcement officers on how to respond to DUI crash victims and the services that may be available to them, including crime victim compensation. This resource was produced by the National Sheriffs' Association with funding support from OVC.
Abstract | PDF
 
Help for Victims of DUI Crashes (April 2018) OVC-Sponsored, 2 pages, NCJ 251675. All victims of crime should be treated with dignity and respect, including victims of drunk driving crashes. This brochure provides information to victims of DUI crashes and the rights and services that may be available to them, including crime victim compensation. This resource was produced by the National Sheriffs' Association with funding support from OVC.
Abstract | PDF
 

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, Electronic Document, 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

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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
CrimeSolutions.gov
CrimeSolutions.gov is a searchable online database of evidence-based programs covering a range of justice-related topics, including victim assistance programs; corrections; courts; crime prevention; substance abuse; juveniles; law enforcement; and technology and forensics. The site is a tool to understand, access and integrate scientific evidence about programs into programmatic and policy decisions.
 
Department of Defense (DoD): 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.
 
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

Crime Victims Advocacy Council
Crime Victims Advocacy Council seeks to help crime victims cope with their suffering and pain by concentrating their energies and resources in support groups, community education, crime prevention, raising community consciousness and acting as an advocate for crime victim’s rights.
 
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.
 
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 Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)
NNEDV works closely with domestic violence coalitions, allied organization, and individuals to understand the ongoing and emerging needs of domestic violence victims and advocacy programs.
 
Trauma Intervention Programs Inc. (TIP)
TIP assists citizen volunteers who respond to traumatic incidents at the request of police, fire and hospital personnel to support those who are emotionally traumatized.
 

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Web Forum Discussions

Each month the Nation's experts answer your questions about best practices in victim services. Below are upcoming and most recent session discussions in this topic:

On Nov 16 2016 at 2:00PM, Harlan Pruden, member of the Cree Nation and Managing Editor of TwoSpiritJournal.com, and Elton Naswood, of the Near to the Water People Clan and member of the Community Expert Advisory Council for the Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training , hosted a discussion on Serving Two-Spirit/LGBTQ Victims in Tribal Communities

On Oct 19 2016 at 2:00PM, Dana DeHart, Ph.D., Research Professor & Assistant Dean for Research at the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work, and Angie McCown, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Victim Services Division, hosted a discussion on Model Standards for Serving Victims and Survivors of Crime

On Sep 27 2016 at 2:00PM, Krista Flannigan, J.D., Director, Institute for Crime Victim Research & Policy at Florida State University, and Karen Thomas, President of the Connections Training Group, LLC, hosted a discussion on Serving Victims of Mass Violence

On Sep 14 2016 at 2:00PM, Donna Barry, APN, FN-CSA, DNP, has been the Director of the University Health Center at Montclair State University, and Anthony Walker, former Chief of Police for Norfolk State University, hosted a discussion on Campus Services for Victims of Sexual Assault

On Jul 20 2016 at 2:00PM, Merry O'Brien, M.S.W., the Network for Victim Recovery of DC’s Identity Theft Assistance, and Paula Pierce, J.D., former Manager of Hotline Services for Texas Legal Services Center, hosted a discussion on Serving Victims of Financial Fraud and Fraud Prevention


FAQs

What is the 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 2018 Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside Program (PDF 489 kb)
Deadline: 08/06/2018
Under the solicitation, OVC will award eligible tribes, tribal consortia, and tribal designees grants to support a wide-range of services for victims of crime. OVC anticipates making up to $110 million available through this solicitation to support tribes to improve victim services. In developing the scope of activities allowable with this funding, OVC took into account input from tribal leaders and other stakeholders regarding needs for victim services in tribal communities. This solicitation has a streamlined, two-phase process by which tribes may apply for and receive the tribal set-aside funding. This solicitation has a streamlined, two-phase application process for this unique program. OVC conducted a Phase 1 pre-application webinar on June 28, 2018, and a recording of this webinar is available at www.ovc.gov/grants/webinars.html. View frequently asked questions and answers at www.ovc.gov/grants/FY18-tribal-set-aside-FAQs.pdf. Apply by 9:00 p.m. e.t. on August 6, 2018.

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EventsDirectoryE-Mail Updates
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National Calendar of Crime Victim Assistance-Related Events
Upcoming Event(s)
2018 VOCA National Training Conference
Savannah, GA
08/07/2018-08/09/2018

30th Annual Crimes Against Children Conference
Dallas, TX
08/13/2018-08/16/2018

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.