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Victim and Witness Assistance

  • Publications (107)
  • Resources (42)
  • Forum Discussions (5)
  • FAQs (27)
  • 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

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
 
Vision 21: National Resource Center for Reaching Victims (August 2018) OVC, Fact Sheet, OVC Fact Sheets, 2 pages, NCJ 251958.
This fact sheet describes the OVC-funded National Resource Center for Reaching Victims project. The center seeks to be one-stop shop where providers, policymakers, and other professionals will be able to obtain information and expert guidance to enhance their capacity to identify, reach, and serve all victims, especially those from communities that too often have less access to healing services and avenues to justice.
Abstract | PDF
Part Of the OVC Fact Sheets Series
 
Vision 21: Center for Victim Research (August 2018) OVC, Fact Sheet, OVC Fact Sheets, 2 pages, NCJ 251959.
In response to the victim assistance field’s call for increased statistical data, evidence-based practices, and program evaluation, OVC funded the creation of the Center for Victim Research. This fact sheet describes how the Center is tool for victim service providers and researchers to connect and share knowledge, supports the field in two ways. It facilitates access to victim research and data while improving the utility of research and data collection to crime victim services nationwide.
Abstract | PDF
Part Of the OVC Fact Sheets Series
 

OJP Publications

Social Support Can Diminish Negative Effects of Elder Abuse (December 2017) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 2 pages, NCJ 251468.
This article summarizes the findings of a series of studies that have identified the critical role of social support in preventing and ameliorating the adverse effects of elder abuse. These research findings may help inform how victim service providers and allied professionals respond to victims of elder abuse.
Abstract | PDF
 
Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence: A Toolkit for Law Enforcement (February 2017) OJJDP-Sponsored, Report, 68 pages, NCJ 250768.
This toolkit provides practical resources to assist law enforcement agencies in building or enhancing effective operational responses to children exposed to violence (with or without a mental health partner).
Abstract | PDF
 
Examining Criminal Justice Responses to and Help-Seeking Patterns of Sexual Violence Survivors With Disabilities (June 2016) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 87 pages, NCJ 250196.
The goal of this study used is to better understand the criminal justice experience of persons with disabilities that report a sexual assault or rape to the authorities. Results suggest that current criminal justice structures are not sufficient to provide support for one of the highest-risk adult populations for sexual assault and victimization in the U.S.
Abstract | PDF
 
Detroit Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Action Research Project (ARP), Final Report (February 2015) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 551 pages, NCJ 248680.
This report documents the Detroit Sexual Assault Action-Research Project, in which a multidisciplinary team looked at the issue of a large number of sexual assault kits (SAKs) that had not been sent to a crime lab for DNA-testing. The team identified the underlying factors that contributed to the issue; developed and evaluated a plan for testing the SAKs; and created and evaluated protocols for notifying victims of the results of the testing. The report also offers practitioner-friendly resources, including how to create victim-notification protocols.
Abstract | PDF
 
Evaluation of Services for Domestic Minor Victims of Human Trafficking (August 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 115 pages, NCJ 248578.
This primary goals of this evaluation were documenting program implementation of the three OVC funded programs, identify promising practices for service delivery programs, and informing delivery of current and future efforts to serve victims of sex and labor trafficking of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents under the age of 18.
Abstract | PDF
 

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

More FAQs

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

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


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

More Funding Opportunities

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

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


Publications

OVC and OVC-Sponsored Publications

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
 
Vision 21: National Resource Center for Reaching Victims (August 2018) OVC, Fact Sheet, OVC Fact Sheets, 2 pages, NCJ 251958. This fact sheet describes the OVC-funded National Resource Center for Reaching Victims project. The center seeks to be one-stop shop where providers, policymakers, and other professionals will be able to obtain information and expert guidance to enhance their capacity to identify, reach, and serve all victims, especially those from communities that too often have less access to healing services and avenues to justice.
Abstract | PDF
Part Of the OVC Fact Sheets Series
 
Vision 21: Center for Victim Research (August 2018) OVC, Fact Sheet, OVC Fact Sheets, 2 pages, NCJ 251959. In response to the victim assistance field’s call for increased statistical data, evidence-based practices, and program evaluation, OVC funded the creation of the Center for Victim Research. This fact sheet describes how the Center is tool for victim service providers and researchers to connect and share knowledge, supports the field in two ways. It facilitates access to victim research and data while improving the utility of research and data collection to crime victim services nationwide.
Abstract | PDF
Part Of the OVC Fact Sheets Series
 

OJP Publications

Social Support Can Diminish Negative Effects of Elder Abuse (December 2017) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 2 pages, NCJ 251468. This article summarizes the findings of a series of studies that have identified the critical role of social support in preventing and ameliorating the adverse effects of elder abuse. These research findings may help inform how victim service providers and allied professionals respond to victims of elder abuse.
Abstract | PDF
 
Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence: A Toolkit for Law Enforcement (February 2017) OJJDP-Sponsored, Report, 68 pages, NCJ 250768. This toolkit provides practical resources to assist law enforcement agencies in building or enhancing effective operational responses to children exposed to violence (with or without a mental health partner).
Abstract | PDF
 
Examining Criminal Justice Responses to and Help-Seeking Patterns of Sexual Violence Survivors With Disabilities (June 2016) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 87 pages, NCJ 250196. The goal of this study used is to better understand the criminal justice experience of persons with disabilities that report a sexual assault or rape to the authorities. Results suggest that current criminal justice structures are not sufficient to provide support for one of the highest-risk adult populations for sexual assault and victimization in the U.S.
Abstract | PDF
 
Detroit Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Action Research Project (ARP), Final Report (February 2015) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 551 pages, NCJ 248680. This report documents the Detroit Sexual Assault Action-Research Project, in which a multidisciplinary team looked at the issue of a large number of sexual assault kits (SAKs) that had not been sent to a crime lab for DNA-testing. The team identified the underlying factors that contributed to the issue; developed and evaluated a plan for testing the SAKs; and created and evaluated protocols for notifying victims of the results of the testing. The report also offers practitioner-friendly resources, including how to create victim-notification protocols.
Abstract | PDF
 
Evaluation of Services for Domestic Minor Victims of Human Trafficking (August 2014) NIJ-Sponsored, Grant, 115 pages, NCJ 248578. This primary goals of this evaluation were documenting program implementation of the three OVC funded programs, identify promising practices for service delivery programs, and informing delivery of current and future efforts to serve victims of sex and labor trafficking of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents under the age of 18.
Abstract | PDF
 

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Related Resources

OVC Funded Resources

National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center
This OVC-funded initiative provides evidence-based information, training, and other resources for communities so they can effectively prepare for and respond to mass violence incidents.
 
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.
 
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.
 

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.
 
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.
 
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).
 
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.
 
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 Organization for Victims Assistance (NOVA)
NOVA advocates for victims’ rights, assists service providers, provides direct victim assistance, offers training, and coordinates a National Crisis Response Team and the National Crime Victim Information and Referral Hotline.
 
Salvation Army: Combating Human Trafficking
These pages provide highlights of The Salvation Army's efforts to eradicate human trafficking.
 
Shared Hope International
Shared Hope International is a worldwide effort to prevent and eradicate sex trafficking and slavery through education and public awareness.
 

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Web Forum Discussions

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

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

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

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

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

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


FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

Back to Top


Funding

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

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

Online Directory of Crime Victims Services.