From the Director's Desk, October 13, 2022
OVC Director Kristina Rose discusses support for survivors of homicide, her reflections on the September 2022 Office on Violence Against Women's Government-to-Government Tribal Consultation, FY 2022 funding awards, and the Crime Victims Fund and its current balance.
DARYL FOX: Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to the October 13, 2022, installment of From the Director’s Desk. We’re 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 tomorrow to the OVC website. At this time, it’s my pleasure to introduce Kristina Rose, OVC Director, for today’s briefing.
KRISTINA ROSE: Thank you so much Daryl.
And Good afternoon, everyone. This is Kris Rose and I’m the Director of the Office for Victims of Crime. Welcome to the second installment of From the Director’s Desk. There’s so much to report on since last month. And I’m excited to tell you that I’m actually calling from Buffalo, New York, where I’m sitting in this gorgeous room at the Resiliency Center that was set up as a place for victims and survivors from the TOPS shooting to come and be able to receive services. And it is just absolutely beautiful, a beautiful place. And I’m excited to be talking to you from here.
So we have—I have a number of things that I want to update you on.
First, I hope that all of you have had the opportunity to listen to the “Justice Today” podcast that we did with Roberta Roper. And we released it, last month, on the 25th, for the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. And Roberta’s story underscores the importance of honoring the memories of murder victims, and really recognizing the impact on surviving family members, and supporting the advocates—many of whom are survivors.
Advocates walk side-by-side with the survivors of homicide victims, offering validation, support, and information. And when I was talking to Roberta and about the importance of information—when, and how, and to whom it should be shared—she said, “Ask any family member of a homicide victim—what do you want? And they will say, to know that you will say their loved one’s name, you’ll remember them, that they lived and they were loved and their lives matter.” And advocates meet that profound need and empower survivors to be a voice for their loved ones.
At OVC, we’re exploring ways to increase awareness around advocacy services for survivors of homicide victims, expand our access--or expand access to peer support, and offer more funding options for these vital resources.
And part of that exploration is listening to the needs of the field. And I recently had the opportunity to do that at the Office on Violence Against Women’s Government-to-Government Tribal Consultation that they held in Anchorage, Alaska, last month. And I’ll tell you, over the course of the two-and-a-half days of testimony, we heard from Tribal leaders and their designees about the challenges and the despair that they endure on a regular basis.
Many Tribes lack law enforcement protection. There are few housing options or shelters for abused women. Rape victims must wait days for a plane to take them to the nearest hospital for a forensic exam. And that’s in the rural and isolated areas of Alaska. Children living in Tribal communities, so many of them are enduring sexual abuse at, you know, just at an alarming rate. Indigenous women go missing, they’re found murdered, and that’s happening with increasing regularity. And it’s something that we heard over and over again throughout the consultation. And as you can imagine, me and my colleagues from OVC, and I’m sure many others that were there—many other government representatives, left Alaska different people than when we arrived. And that consultation and the people that we met with in the Anchorage area have inspired us to work harder than ever to support our Tribal communities.
And we’re hosting our own Tribal consultation about the Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside on November 9. And information about participating in that is available on our website.
We also are encouraging you to register for the 17th National Indian Nations Conference. And that’s scheduled for December 6-9 at Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation in Palm Springs. And this conference will bring together many different disciplines at the local, state, federal, and Tribal level to share successes and challenges and lessons learned, best practices, and visions for the future of crime victim services in Alaska Native and American Indian communities. So we hope that you will join us there. And again, you can go to our website for more information.
On September 30, we finished making our FY ‘22 grant awards. And I wanted to tell you just about a few highlights. There are some—actually, there are so many amazing grants that we’ve made. One of them, we announced today, here in Buffalo, to the Erie County Medical Center, where they are going to be setting up a program for Advancing Hospital-Based Victim Services. And was just a wonderful announcement event, there, at the hospital and meeting all of the folks and the partners.
In addition, OVC awarded $2 million dollars to the National Center for Culturally Responsive Victim Services that’s managed by Ujima, to facilitate a micro-grant program to support the victim-serving organizations that are run by and for the communities they serve.
We also awarded a $3.75 million dollar grant to create the National Elder Justice Coalition Center. And this is a new national training and technical assistance effort that will support the development or the expansion of statewide Elder Justice Coalitions, which historically have had little dedicated funding. So the Center will help the coalitions grow and sustain a professional field of practice—all in an effort to increase access for older victims. We’re so excited about that one.
And now, I want to give you an update on the Crime Victims Fund. The latest data showed that the current balance of the CVF is just over $1.7 billion dollars and that includes the deposits and collections through the end of August. We should be getting our September numbers any day now.
But if you remember, our last call, the balance was just over $3 billion at the end of July. I was explaining that and we were anticipating that the Fund balance would be closer to $1.3 billion after we had completed making our ‘22 grant awards. So, with the President’s Budget and the FY 2023 Senate Mark setting the CVF obligation cap at $1.75 billion, we were preparing for a deficit of $450 to $650 million dollars. But, August brought with it a wonderful $280 million dollar deposit—the largest monthly total in all of FY ‘22. So that has put us much closer to meeting the FY ‘23 cap than anticipated last month. So we will know more when the September data becomes available, but right now, I’m very optimistic about being able to meet the 2023 cap—whatever that may be. Obviously, we don’t know what that is. But the President’s budget and the Senate are both at $1.75 billion.
So with October being National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, I just wanted to share some information with you about one of OVC’s favorite grant programs, the Emergency Transitional Pet Shelter Housing and Assistance Grant Program, which we affectionately call PAWS. Many domestic violence shelters are not equipped to accommodate pets, which can potentially lead to survivors delaying their critical services because of concerns for their pet's welfare. And PAWS addresses this gap by ensuring shelters and transitional housing options can accommodate victims of domestic violence and their companion animals. I’m pleased to announce that we awarded nearly $2.7 million dollars under this program, raising our total number of grantees to 22 plus a training and technical assistance provider. So we are really happy about that.
Tomorrow, I’m going to be heading to Dallas, Texas, for the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference, where I’ll be speaking to the Victim Services Committee. And I’ll also be holding a roundtable with law enforcement leaders from around the country to discuss their responses to crime victims and how they’re doing new and innovative things, and really to hear their advice on how we can be working with them better.
So thank you, very much for joining me today. If you ever have any questions about what I’ve discussed or if you have recommendations for things you’d like to hear in the future, please let us know by sending an email to [email protected].
And again, I’m just sincerely grateful for what each of you do every day to help crime survivors find their justice. Thanks for joining me and I’ll talk to you again next month.
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.