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Types of Funding

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Overview: Types of Funding

Federal, state, and Tribal victim assistance and compensation programs receive formula grants, discretionary grants, and set-asides according to a statutorily established annual allocation procedure.

Starting in 2000, in response to large fluctuations in deposits (also known as receipts), Congress established an appropriation cap on funds available for distribution (or obligation) intended to maintain the Crime Victims Fund (the Fund) as a stable source of support for future victim services. As of May 2024, the Fund balance is over $1.5 billion.

Each year, once Congress establishes the appropriation cap, the funds are allocated in accordance with the following process:

  • The Children’s Justice Act receives $10 million plus 50 percent of the previous year’s deposits over $324 million, with a maximum award of $20 million.
  • OVC provides funding to the Executive Office for United States Attorneys to support victim specialists who assist victims of federal crimes during justice system proceedings and provide advice regarding victims' rights, such as the right to make oral and written victim impact statements at sentencing hearings.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) receives funding for victim specialists assigned to field offices across the country to personally assist victims of federal crimes and provide information on criminal cases as they progress and throughout court proceedings.
  • The Federal Victim Notification System (VNS) receives approximately $5 million.
  • Since 2015, Congress has allocated $10 million per fiscal year in VOCA funds for the Office of the Inspector General to use in auditing and assessing risks and deficiencies in the management of OVC programs.
  • OVC Formula Grants
    • Allocations for state compensation formula grants may not exceed 47.5 percent of the remaining balance based on the states’ compensation payments.
    • State victim assistance formula grants receive 47.5 percent of the remaining balance plus any funds not needed to reimburse victim compensation programs at the statutorily established rates.
    • Set-aside funds for a Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside program that provide support to Tribal communities to enhance services for victims of crime.
  • Five percent of the remaining balance is allocated for OVC discretionary grants.

Additional information about each of these funding streams and the Fund allocation process is available in the 2023 OVC Report to the Nation.

Children’s Justice Act

The Children's Justice Act provides up to $20 million annually to help states and Tribes develop, establish, and operate programs to improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases, particularly cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation, and to improve the handling of cases of suspected child abuse or neglect fatalities.

OVC administers millions in funding annually to Tribes through its Children’s Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities Program to support culturally relevant programs in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

U.S. Attorney’s Offices

Victim assistance staff in U.S. Attorneys’ Offices assist victims of federal crimes and inform them of their rights and how to access needed services, including restitution and their right to make oral and written victim impact statements at an offender’s sentencing, in accordance with the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

FBI victim specialists use expertise in victim assistance, crisis intervention, and social services to keep victims of federal crimes informed of case developments and proceedings and direct them to appropriate resources in accordance with the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance. OVC supports full-time equivalent positions at FBI headquarters and at field offices throughout the United States.

Federal Victim Notification System

The Federal Victim Notification System is automated database that notifies victims of federal criminal case events regarding offenders, including the status of an investigation, filing of criminal charges and the disposition of those charges, release or detention status, and public court hearings.

The Federal Victim Notification System is administered by EOUSA for participation by all U.S. Attorney’s Offices; DOJ Criminal Division; FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Federal Funding

Federal revenues deposited into the Fund come from—

  • Criminal fines from convicted federal offenders, with exceptions for funds related to certain environmental, railroad, unemployment insurance, and postal service violations.
  • Forfeited appearance bonds from convicted federal offenders.
  • Special forfeitures of collateral profits from crime.
  • Special assessments for individuals and corporations convicted of federal crimes.
  • Gifts, donations, and bequests by private parties.

Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve

The VOCA statute allows amounts retained in the Fund above the annual appropriation cap to be used to replenish the Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve (the Reserve), up to $50 million annually. The OVC Director may replenish the Reserve by setting aside up to 5 percent of the amounts remaining in the Crime Victims Fund in any fiscal year after the VOCA allocations for that year. The Reserve funds emergency expenses and other services for victims of terrorism and mass violence within the United States and abroad.

The Reserve supports the following programs:

Federal Partnerships

OVC also partners with other government agencies to provide innovative services that address the wide range of issues that affect victims. The following programs help victims in fundamental ways:

  • The Federal Crime Victims Assistance Fund assists victims and survivors with services immediately after the crime, such as paying for travel expenses for family members and cleaning up the crime scene, and is managed by the following agencies:
    • FBI;
    • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
    • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives;
    • Executive Office for United States Attorneys; and
    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations.
  • The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) is a centralized debt collection program that helps agencies collect delinquent debts owed to the Federal Government by matching delinquent debtor files against outstanding debts. When TOP finds a match, the program intercepts funds before they reach the debtor and uses them to offset any outstanding debt owed to the government, such as federal tax refunds. Since 2003, TOP has helped U.S. Attorneys’ Offices intercept criminals’ funds and use them to pay criminals’ debts, resulting in over $200 million in restitution paid to crime victims.
  • OVC funds several victim-centered Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) programs to assist in BIA’s mission to enhance quality of life, promote economic opportunity, and fulfill the responsibility of protecting and improving the lives of those in American Indian/Alaska Native communities.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice’s Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) funds federally recognized Tribes, Tribal consortia, and Tribally designated organizations. CTAS Purpose Area 6, managed by OVC, is funded under the Children’s Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities to support communities in developing, establishing, and operating programs that improve the investigation, prosecution, and handling of child abuse—especially child sexual abuse—in a culturally appropriate and trauma-informed manner to lessen trauma for child victims. 
  • OVC partners with other program offices at the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice to support the Community Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative. This program funds efforts to prevent and reduce violent crime in communities by supporting comprehensive, evidence-based violence intervention and prevention programs.

Trafficking Victims Protection Act

Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and subsequent reauthorizations, OVC receives specially designated government funds, independent of appropriations from the Fund, to support victim service organizations to provide trauma-informed, culturally appropriate services for survivors of human trafficking.

OVC supports a variety of human trafficking grant initiatives, which include the Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking program and the Services for Victims of Human Trafficking program. For more information, visit the Map of OVC-Funded Human Trafficking Services and Task Forces.

Date Modified: June 20, 2024
Date Created: April 23, 2020