From the Director’s Desk, April 13, 2023
During this call, Director Rose provided updates about the 2023 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, new funding opportunities, the status of the Crime Victims Fund, and more.
DARYL FOX: Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to the April 2023 installment of From the Director’s Desk. We’re glad you’re 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, Daryl. Good afternoon, everyone. Oh, April is such a busy month at OVC. And this month we commemorate National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, all of them in April. And as you know, the theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week—Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change.—is all about listening to survivors and making sure they have access to, and are invited to, the spaces where decisions are made that impact them … all in an effort to ensure that our responses and our services are credible, meaningful, and centered on individual needs.
And to lift up this theme, in just under two weeks, on April 26, we’ll be hosting our NCVRW commemoration on the National Mall, a Candlelight Vigil. And our special guests are:
- Jerome Brown, who’s the Director of the SNUG Street Outreach Program at the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services;
- Anna Nasset, from Stand Up Resources; and
- Roberta Roper from the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center.
And the vigil itself will feature videos produced by Video/Action; musical performances by the talented Kelly Jackson of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians; and The American Pops Orchestra. I think I speak for all of us here at OVC, when I say how very important it is to bear witness to the experiences of survivors who demonstrate such courage by their willingness to share their thoughts with us. And for that reason, I hope to see many of you there. There's still time to register. Just go to the OVC website at ovc.ojp.gov.
Now, we’re not the only office at DOJ hosting events during NCVRW. Our colleagues in the Environment and Natural Resources Division will be joined by representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on April 25th for an in-person and virtual event about elevating the voices of environmental crime victims. Now, this is open to the public, and RSVPs are required. And I think they’re even due tomorrow. So check out our Events Calendar on the OVC website for details on how you can register.
In other NCVRW news, we’ve released additional Resource Guide materials since last month. We have black and white versions of the public awareness posters available. And, for the first time, we’ve released the sample proclamation in multiple languages; Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Chinese Simplified. And finally, thanks to a partnership with U.S. Postal Inspection Service, NCVRW theme posters and hotline fliers have made their way into thousands of post offices across the country. Now, if you see one in your local post office, I would just love to hear about it, and so would the postal service. Post a picture on any social media channel, tag OVC and USPIS, the United States Postal inspection Service, name the post office, and reference #NCVRW2023. We are extremely grateful to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for helping us to raise awareness about NCVRW and victims’ rights on a national scale.
So it's hard to believe that since my last directors message last month that we've lost more innocent people to mass violence events in Nashville and in Louisville. And that is in addition to the lives we lose daily to gun violence in communities all across this country. These tragedies feel personal to those of us at OVC, as I’m sure they do to you. And sadly, each violent event broadens the circle of men, and women, and children, who have been directly and indirectly impacted by gun violence. If you, or someone in your community is interested in developing a victim response plan, just so you are prepared in the event of a domestic terrorism or mass violence event, please visit the OVC-funded Mass Violence Victims Resource Center at the Medical University of South Carolina at www.NMVVRC.org. And that stands for Mass Violence Victims Resource Center. There, you will find in an enormous amount of information, resources, templates, checklists—everything to help get you started.
So, before I get to the President’s FY 2024 budget and the Crime Victims Fund, I want to first talk about just a few recent sites visits that I went on. I traveled with OVC Grants Management Specialist, Kristen Weschler, to the Domestic Housing First Symposium in Seattle, Washington. And while there, we took an extra day to visit three of OVC’s human trafficking grantees. We went to see the YMCA of Greater Seattle. We went to visit Real Escape from the Sex Trade, or REST, and the International Rescue Committee. I have to tell you, I was so impressed with each of these organizations and their approaches to rapid rehousing for survivors of human trafficking. I want to thank each one of them, each one of those individuals that we met with, at those three sites for hospitality and for sparing a few of their precious hours to tell us about their lifesaving work.
And next week, I’m heading to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs with OVC Grants Management Specialist, Ivette Estrada, for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Forensic Center of Excellence. Now since 1995, Memorial Hospital has had the only forensic nurse program in that area and now they're expanding it to include the center of excellence. And the center of excellence is the first of its kind to be built inside the ER department, and it’s going to be resourced just like other departments, like an Intensive Care Unit. I have to tell you I love this kind of innovative thinking and I'm really excited to go to Colorado!
After that, I’m heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico to join the National Organization for Victim Assistance, or NOVA, for an event that will kick-off the new OVC-funded Youth Advocacy Leadership Corps. The corps is being created to inspire a new generation of young victim advocates to provide services --to provide services in the communities that need it the most. And, as you can imagine, I’m very excited for this project! But I don’t want to spill the beans, because this is going to be their first, kind of, opportunity to let people know who they are. So, what I’ll do is, I’ll report more about it in next month’s broadcast.
So, in case you haven’t checked it out yet, OVC’s has released 23 solicitations. Actually, it may even be 25 now, including several new ones since the last time I talked to you all last month. We have solicitations, several solicitations on human trafficking, including an OVC fellowship, our Advancing Technology to Improve Victim Services solicitation. We have a solicitation for funding multidisciplinary teams to better identify and respond to cases of abuse of older adults. We have funding for a fellow, to help us here with culturally responsive services for victims of crime. We have a solicitation that’s out that creates state-run hate crime reporting hotlines, funding for an action partnerships solicitation. And action partnerships are with membership-based organizations for funeral homes, burial services, and medical examiner and coroner services to help them in their responses to victims and the family members of homicide victims. And then one more, we have a new solicitation on supporting children, youth and families who are impacted by the drug crisis. Now most of these funding opportunities have Grants.gov deadlines in May, so I encourage you to move quickly and register to attend the respective pre-application webinars. And feel free to share these funding opportunities far and wide, especially with folks who may never have applied for an OVC grant before. And you can check out a series of webinars that we produced last year that discussed preparing your proposal and building your budget. And these recorded webinars are accessible from the “Funding Webinars” page under the “Current Funding Opportunities” section of the OVC website.
So, lastly, I want to bring you up to speed with where we are with the Crime Victims Fund and the President’s FY 2024 budget. So, the President’s FY 2024 budget request calls for a cap of the Crime Victims Fund at $1.2 billion dollars for the Crime Victims Fund. This represents a 37 percent reduction from the FY 2023 enacted level, and a 54 percent reduction from the FY 2022 enacted level. The $60 million dollar Tribal Set-Aside mark represents a $35 million increase [decrease] from FY 2023 and a $70 million increase--decrease from the previous FY 2022 level. The FY 2024 President’s Budget sets the Victims of Trafficking appropriation at $90 million, a reduction of $5 million from the FY 2023 enacted levels and a $2 million increase from FY 2022 levels.
Now, I know that sounds like a lot of reductions; and I’m already hearing your concerns for crime victims and their ability to access services in the event of a reduction of the CVF funds in Fiscal Year ‘24. Those concerns are valid, and I hear you. This Administration believes that lowering the CVF cap in ‘24 is the best way to protect the balance of the Fund over the long term, so that it can continue to serve victims in the years ahead. I believe we all have the same goal of making certain there is funding available to support crime victims for many years to come.
And now, to the Crime Victims Fund. We just got some preliminary numbers for the March receipts. The amount collected for the month of March is $273 million dollars, bringing the total FY ‘23 receipts to $817 million dollars. Now, the amount of the March receipts may change, as the March reporting is completed and confirmed, but right now, it appears to be the best month that we have had in Fiscal Year ’23. And that is good news indeed.
So why don't we end on that positive note?
Take care. Thank you so much for joining me this month. Enjoy the rest of your week, and thank you. Thank you for everything you’re doing to help victims find their justice.
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.