From the Director's Desk, September 8, 2022
OVC Director Kristina Rose discusses the Crime Victims Fund, its current balance, and efforts to ensure the Fund's long-term solvency to support crime victim services and compensation programs across the country.
DARYL FOX: Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to the inaugural September 8, 2022, installment of From the Director’s Desk. We are glad that you are able join us today. All audio lines are muted as this is a listen only briefing. For reference, this recording will be posted to the OVC website by tomorrow, September 9th. At this time, it is my pleasure to introduce Kristina Rose, OVC Director, for today’s briefing.
KRISTINA ROSE: Thank you so much Daryl.
Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Kris Rose and I’m the Director of the Office for Victims of Crime and I’m very excited to be kicking off this monthly OVC update which we are calling From the Director’s Desk.
I’m proud to say that this was a field-generated idea that came up at a meeting we had with advocates where they were expressing their concerns about the solvency of the Crime Victims Fund.
Well, it is my ethos to be transparent and it is the responsibility of my Office to do everything we can to be responsive to the needs of survivors of crime. But we can’t meet the needs of the people we serve without a robust Crime Victims Fund so that is the focus of today’s edition of From the Director’s Desk.
But before I get to that, I want to take a moment to tell you that I had the great privilege of spending the morning with Roberta Roper, a personal hero of mine. Roberta is the founder of the Stephanie Roper Committee and Foundation, which is now known as the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center.
Due to the passion, the creativity, and the diligence of Roberta and her amazing team, 100 pieces of crime victims’ legislation have been passed in Maryland over the past four decades. She is truly a remarkable person who has dedicated most of her adult life to improving the criminal justice system response to crime victims. My discussion with Roberta will air as a “Justice Today” podcast later this month. So stay tuned for more information on that!
Now, I will turn to the Crime Victims Fund or what we also call the CVF or simply “the Fund.” The Fund is financed by monetary fines and penalties paid by corporations and individuals who are convicted of federal offenses; not by taxpayer dollars. The Fund, created by the 1984 Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA as we call it, provides the financial support for crime victim services and compensation across the country and in the territories. OVC administers this Fund. Through training, technical assistance, and funding of direct services, VOCA-funded programs served over 10 million victims of crime in Fiscal Year 2021, and that includes both new and returning individuals.
In July of 2021, Congress passed a bill called the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund (also known as the VOCA Fix). And they passed that in an effort to stabilize the Fund. This new law, in addition to other provisions, required monetary penalties from Federal deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements to go into the Crime Victims Fund, rather than into the general Treasury.
Over the last several years, deposits into the Fund have not been keeping pace with prior years. We at OVC, we monitor the CVF each month, tracking what comes in through traditional criminal fines and what comes in through the deferred and non-prosecution agreements. The good news is that since the VOCA Fix passed, nearly a half billion dollars have been deposited into the Fund. However, those were attributed to two very large deposits and that has not been consistent each month.
The latest data show the current balance of the CVF at just over $3 billion, which includes all deposits and collections through the end of July.
After we have completed making our FY 2022 grants, OVC anticipates that the balance of the Fund will be between $1.1 and $1.3 billion on October 1st. And this is the funding that will be used for our Fiscal Year 2023 victim services programming.
Now the Fiscal Year 2023 President’s Budget and the FY 2023 Senate Mark have set the CVF obligation cap at $1.75 billion, which, as it stands right now, will leave a deficit of roughly $450 to $650 million. It’s possible that receipts over the coming fiscal year will enable us to meet the $1.75 billion cap. However, as you know, it’s impossible to predict the future.
While OVC does not control how much money is in the CVF, we are actively seeking solutions to reverse the shortage of funds. We have provided numerous briefings to Congressional staff about the VOCA Fix and about the status of the CVF. We have briefed top level DOJ leadership and we will continue to keep them apprised. I am committed to making sure that everyone who needs to know about the state of the Fund does, and those who can make any difference are aware that action is needed.
As I mentioned at the top, I am dedicated to being transparent about the Fund. Visit ovc.ojp.gov to see the monthly Fund balance and learn more about the CVF. The August charts should be updated and posted later next week.
Through these From the Director’s Desk briefings, I will continue to share information about the Fund; provide updates about OVC programs and initiatives; and discuss ideas on how we can all advance the field to improve options, access, and information for all survivors.
So thank you. Thank you for joining me today. I am sincerely grateful for what each of you do every day to help crime survivors find their justice. Thank you.
Opinions or points of view expressed in these recordings represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these recordings are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.