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2023 Report to the Nation

Fiscal Years 2021 - 2022

VOCA Compensation and Assistance Highlights

OVC’s VOCA Compensation Formula Grant Program reimburses victims for financial losses resulting from their victimization. OVC disburses these funds to supplement state programs that provide financial assistance and reimbursement to victims for crime-related expenses, including medical and dental care, counseling, funeral and burial expenses, and lost wages. Compensation programs may also reimburse victims for other types of expenses related to their victimization, such as travel, temporary lodging, crime scene cleanup, and dependent care.

In FYs 2021 and 2022, VOCA state compensation benefits totaling $720,566,048 supported 407,745 claims and supported survivors of crime as they recovered from their losses and began the healing process (see exhibit 3A, exhibit 3B, and exhibit 4).

OVC’s VOCA Assistance Formula Grant Program supports thousands of victim assistance programs throughout the Nation annually. OVC’s funding of these programs—through subgrants to state agencies and local service providers—provides help for individuals, families, and communities recovering from both the immediate and prolonged effects of victimization. VOCA assistance supports crisis counseling, telephone and onsite information and referrals, criminal justice support and advocacy, emergency shelter, therapy, and other services. Funds can also be used to develop new initiatives that address emerging needs and gaps in services for individuals and communities. In FYs 2021 and 2022, VOCA-funded assistance reached a total of 31,388,852 crime victims (see exhibit 5 and exhibit 7).

State Spotlights

Mississippi Office of the Attorney General Victim Compensation Program

The Victim Compensation Program in Mississippi revamped the state’s forensic rape kit for the first time in 15 years. The new kit, which reduces the number of steps in a sexual assault forensic exam from 21 to 9, raises the standards for evidence collection, improving the likelihood of prosecutions and convictions. This project was accomplished through a coalition of stakeholders including sexual assault nurse examiners, law enforcement, and prosecutors. Furthermore, the Victim Compensation Program revised its administrative rules to include the changes to the forensic rape kit and to specify that victims of human trafficking are eligible to apply for compensation benefits.

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services

The Crisis Response Training Program, funded in part by formula VOCA assistance funds, developed the Field Guide: Responding to Incidents of Mass Victimization for use by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and allied first responders, which it posted to the Cal OES website. Cal OES also awards VOCA funding for the Mass Victimization/Crisis Response Victim Witness (VW) Assistance Centers statewide to develop and integrate mass victimization response plans in their respective counties to support and enhance immediate response and recovery efforts. Established protocols delineate roles and responsibilities and define the chain of command. Victim-witness mass victimization advocates meet regionally and with allied service providers to collaborate with each other.

Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs

The Office of Criminal Justice Programs (OCJP) provides VOCA funding for coordinated community response (CCR) specialists across Tennessee. Crisis response teams are a multidisciplinary criminal justice intervention in the fields of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse that work to ensure safety for victims. Through its CCR specialists, OCJP tracks the system’s response to cases, monitors compliance with policies and procedures, identifies gaps in victim safety, and facilitates change to address developing trends. Embedded within their local Family Justice Center, each OCJP-funded CCR specialist works with local stakeholders and survivors to conduct community assessments, facilitate communication among public and private partner agencies, and expand access to underserved, unserved, and inadequately served populations within each community.

Oklahoma Victims of Crime Act Board

In response to data from the Oklahoma Humane Society that stated that nearly 65 percent of domestic violence survivors have delayed leaving their abuser out of fear of harm to their animals, the Oklahoma Victims of Crime Act Board, awarded funding for the Oklahoma Humane Society’s Animal Advocacy Program in FY 2020. This program provides crisis intervention, case management, advocacy, and emotional support for victims of domestic violence and their animals. It provides foster homes, pet pantry assistance, safety planning, education on the correlation of domestic violence and animal abuse, and transportation of animals for veterinary care. It also assists victims of crime in legal pet-related matters, such as including the animals on protective orders and accessing funding for pet security deposits for establishing safe housing.