- Capacity-Building Overview
- Tribal Communities
- Terrorism and Mass Violence
- Combating Human Trafficking
- Support for Law Enforcement
- Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation
- Increasing Access and Equity
- Training and Technical Assistance
Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve
Following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Congress amended VOCA to authorize OVC to allocate up to $50 million per year from the Crime Victims Fund to establish the Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve (Reserve). The Reserve provides help primarily by funding immediate and direct services for victims of terrorism and criminal mass violence within the United States and abroad. It also provides supplemental funding directly to affected communities and TTA services. In FYs 2021 and 2022, Reserve support for victims totaled $6.8 million and $19.4 million, respectively.
OVC collaborates with federal, state, local, and international partners to ensure that victims and survivors of domestic mass violence and domestic and international terrorism incidents receive support to begin the healing process—physically, emotionally, and financially.
The OVC Director may replenish the Reserve by setting aside up to 5 percent of the amount remaining in the Crime Victims Fund in any fiscal year after the VOCA allocations have been awarded. The Reserve funded emergency expenses and other services for victims of terrorism and mass violence within the United States and abroad by supporting the following programs in FY 2021 and FY 2022:
- The Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP).
- The International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program (ITVERP).
- The Executive Office of United States Attorney’s support of mass violence and terrorism victims attending trials and sentencing.
- The Crime Victim Assistance Emergency Fund, FBI Office for Victim Assistance.
- Special Masters reimbursement in certain terrorism-related federal civil lawsuits.
OVC Supports Victims of Domestic Terrorism and Mass Violence
AEAP is one of the principal tools OVC uses to provide supplemental financial assistance to local communities in the wake of tragedy. These grants are methodically developed to ensure that allowable expenses are reimbursed and communities and victims are supported for up to several years as they recover, rebuild, and adjust to a dramatically changed way of life following domestic terrorism and mass violence incidents. Funded activities may include supplemental crime victim compensation; emergency relief, including crisis response efforts; and both immediate and ongoing assistance, including victim participation in the judicial process.
During the reporting period, OVC supported the following communities in their efforts to recover from incidents of mass violence and terrorism in the United States:
- On May 18, 2018, a gunman entered Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, and fatally shot 10 people, with 13 others wounded. OVC awarded $643,020 in AEAP funding to the State of Texas, Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division to support necessary and ongoing trauma-informed, evidence-based healing and resiliency-related services to direct and indirect victims of the shooting. This award will reimburse the Santa Fe Independent School District (SFISD) for costs incurred related to the establishment of the Wellness Counseling Suite, which is a resiliency center for victims.
- On July 28, 2019, a mass shooting occurred at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. The gunman killed three people and wounded 17 others. The festival supports 140 local charities and nonprofit organizations, and many high school students perform volunteer service hours at the event. It's estimated that more than 84,000 people attended the 3-day event in 2019. OVC awarded $3,954,899 to the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board to fund the Gilroy Strong Resiliency Center; victim-related overtime costs for first responder agencies; psychoeducation, mental health, behavioral health, first responder, and victim advocate training; and supplemental crime victim compensation.
- On May 31, 2019, a mass shooting occurred at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Twelve individuals were fatally shot, and four others were wounded. OVC awarded $6,338,718 to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services to provide counseling and other mental health-related services to victims and their families, and to support the Virginia Beach Strong Center, supplemental crime victim compensation, victim-related costs incurred by the City of Virginia Beach, training (including first responder training), and other services to support victims of this incident.
- On August 3, 2019, a gunman opened fire in a Walmart Supercenter in El Paso, Texas, killing 23 people and injuring 22 others; and on August 31, a gunman drove through the Midland/Odessa, Texas, communities and randomly opened fire, killing 7 people and wounding 24 others, which included 3 law enforcement officers. OVC awarded $3,077,347 in AEAP funding to the State of Texas, Office of the Governor, Public Safety Office for both incidents because they occurred within a few weeks of each other, and state resources supported both tragedies. This funding provided resources for victim compensation and services programs that supported the victims of both shootings.
- On August 4, 2019, a gunman opened fire in the Oregon District in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people and injuring several others. OVC awarded $488,054 in AEAP funding to the Ohio Attorney General's Office to support the victims of the shooting. The funds were used to support necessary and ongoing trauma-informed, evidence-based healing and resiliency services to direct and indirect victims of the shooting. It also provided funding for four additional mental health counselors and related costs for their services at two local mental health facilities.
- On May 20, 2020, a gunman randomly opened fire at the Westgate Entertainment Center in Glendale, Arizona, shooting 3 people and directly threatening another 27, who believed their lives were at risk. OVC awarded $2,884,714 in AEAP funding to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. This funding supported an outreach specialist position to assist victim advocates in the Glendale Police Department with providing ongoing assistance to victims. It was also used to reimburse the VOCA funds expended for crisis counseling, to support the immediate needs of victims, and to support a part-time claims specialist position in the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to provide timely and comprehensive assistance with victim compensation applications and claims processing.
- On December 25, 2020, an individual parked an RV loaded with explosives outside of a commercial communication building at 166 Second Avenue North in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, and detonated the vehicle while they were inside. The explosion injured eight people and damaged many local businesses. OVC awarded $662,401 in AEAP funding to the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs to support services to assist the victims of this event. AEAP funding also supported a broad and comprehensive team of service providers, law enforcement, community advocates, and other state and local partners convened a bombing response and recovery team to coordinate direct outreach and assistance efforts for victims of the bombing incident—both in the near and long term. In addition, AEAP funding was used to support the Salvation Army, Hands On Nashville, Tennessee Voices for Victims, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Family Intervention Program, and other community service providers so they could assist victims with crisis support and basic supplies to address their immediate needs.
- On March 22, 2021, a gunman opened fire at the Table Mesa King Soopers store in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people. OVC awarded $2,359,337 in AEAP funding to the Colorado Department of Public safety to support the Division of Criminal Justice in assisting local victim service agencies serving the victims of the shooting. This award provides for counseling and other mental health-related services to victims and their families, support for the Boulder Strong Resource Center, additional staffing and related support for victims related to criminal justice proceedings, and overtime expenses for the Boulder County Coroner’s office.
OVC Assists Victims of Terrorism Abroad
OVC’s International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program (ITVERP) provides financial reimbursement for qualifying expenses to qualified U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees who have suffered direct physical or emotional injury from an act of international terrorism while outside the United States.
The program reimburses victims and families for expenses associated with the victimization, such as out-of-pocket funeral and burial expenses; medical bills; mental health and crisis counseling; property loss, repair, and replacement; and miscellaneous costs such as temporary housing, local transportation, phone calls, and emergency travel. Support for international victims can also extend to funding emergency medical evacuations or other essential victim services, including participation in foreign trials, in coordination with DOJ components and other federal agencies. OVC funded 26 applicants totaling $88,623 in FY 2021, and 13 applicants totaling $110,267 in FY 2022.
OVC Supports Emergency Assistance for Terrorism Victims
As part of a DOJ-wide response to victims of terrorist acts within the United States and abroad, OVC provides funding to the Crime Victim Assistance Emergency Fund, administered by the FBI’s Victim Services Division. With this funding, the FBI supports services for victims and their families, including emergency food, clothing, shelter, and temporary housing; emergency transportation for medical care and travel assistance to reunite family members with injured survivors unable to travel; repatriation of the remains of a deceased victim; transportation expenses of secondary victims; crisis counseling; and child and dependent care. OVC provided the FBI with $500,000 in funding for this program in FY 2021, and $200,000 in FY 2022.
Additionally, OVC sets aside money each year through the Federal Crime Victims Assistance Fund to support direct services that U.S. Attorneys’ Offices request for victims of federal crimes. This fund pays for emergency shelter, emergency childcare, crisis counseling, transportation to court, and other critical direct services when local services are unavailable.
OVC Reimburses Special Masters Claims
The courts of the United States may appoint Special Masters to hear damage claims brought under the terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. In FY 2021, OVC reimbursed Special Master Deborah Greenspan and Alan Balaran a total of $398,690 for expenses incurred in multiple cases. In FY 2022, OVC reimbursed multiple Special Masters a total of $95,700 for expenses incurred in multiple cases, including Schwartz v. Iran and Ayres v. Iran.