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Victim and Witness Assistance

  • Publications (94)
  • Resources (36)
  • Forum Discussions (5)
  • FAQs (26)
  • 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

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
 
Keys to Collaboration Between Hospital-based Violence Intervention and Cure Violence Programs (2018) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 16 pages, NCJ 251823.
The Healing Justice Alliance, with funding support from OVC, published this report to help guide communities that are implementing, or are interested in implementing, both hospital-based violence intervention and cure violence programs to address violence impacting young males.
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
 

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
 

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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 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

When may I submit my nomination for the National Crime Victims' Service Awards?
Nominations for the 2020 National Crime Victims' Service Awards are now closed. For more information... 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
 
Keys to Collaboration Between Hospital-based Violence Intervention and Cure Violence Programs (2018) OVC-Sponsored, Grant, 16 pages, NCJ 251823. The Healing Justice Alliance, with funding support from OVC, published this report to help guide communities that are implementing, or are interested in implementing, both hospital-based violence intervention and cure violence programs to address violence impacting young males.
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
 

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
 

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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.
 
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.
 
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

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.
 
National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
NREPP is a searchable online registry of more than hundreds of interventions supporting mental health promotion, substance abuse prevention, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.
 
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): 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.
 

Non-Governmental Resources

Greenbook Initiative
The Greenbook Initiative helps child welfare workers, domestic violence advocates and family court judges in communities across the country change their approach to family violence to better help battered women and their children achieve safety.
 
Helping And Lending Outreach Support (HALOS)
HALOS's mission is to provide resources and special opportunities to abused and neglected children and their caregivers through partnerships with faith-based and other community organizations. HALOS matches community donations to the needs of foster children and children cared for in the homes of family members other than their parents. OVC produced a toolkit available at www.ovc.gov/halos which offers lessons learned and suggests strategies for establishing programs like HALOS wherever foster families and relatives need additional support for the children in their care.
 
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 Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators (NAVAA)
NAVAA's mission is to advance education, research, and public service to assure accessible quality services for crime victims nationwide, to strengthen exchange of information and communication among its members and to provide its members with training and technical assistance to effectively respond to the issues and challenges of supporting those services.
 
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.
 

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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 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

When may I submit my nomination for the National Crime Victims' Service Awards?
Nominations for the 2020 National Crime Victims' Service Awards are now closed. For more information... 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.

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

Online Directory of Crime Victims Services.