The Department of Justice today announced awards totaling more than $3.4 billion to fund thousands of local victim assistance programs across the country and to help compensate victims in every state for crime-related losses. Distributed through two grant programs administered by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), a component of the Department’s Office of Justice Programs, the awards surpass every other single-year grant amount in the program’s 34-year history.
The grants are supported by the Crime Victims Fund, a repository of federal criminal fines, fees, and special assessments. The fund includes zero tax dollars.
“I’ve been in or around law enforcement for nearly 40 years and some of the strongest and most inspiring people I have met have been survivors of crime,” said Attorney General Sessions. “We must ensure that this Department is always responsive to their needs and working for them. Today the Department continues its support by offering billions of dollars in services for crime victims. Through this grant funding from the Crime Victims Fund, we are helping victims walk the long and difficult road to recovery.”
Most of the funds – more than $3.3 billion – are being awarded to states under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Assistance Formula Grant Program and will support local government and community-based victim services. In 2017, VOCA grants funded more than 6,700 local organizations across the country. Over the last two years, VOCA-funded programs have reached more than 5.2 million victims, providing services ranging from emergency shelter and transportation to crisis counseling, long-term therapy, and civil legal assistance.
Victim compensation programs, operating in all 50 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia, are receiving almost $129 million to reimburse victims and survivors for medical fees, lost income, dependent care, funeral expenses, and other costs. This compensation is often a lifeline to victims who face enormous financial setbacks on top of the emotional strife they experience.
“Americans suffer from millions of violent acts every year, and only a fraction of victims get the help they so desperately need and deserve,” said OVC Director Darlene Hutchinson. “This historically large funding will vastly expand the network of services available, allowing state and local officials to determine where resources are needed so that survivors in every corner of our country have a place they can turn to for support.”
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.
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