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2024 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Resource Guide

Landmarks in Victims’ Rights and Services

Crime Victims’ Rights in America: A Historical Overview

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) creates an opportunity for communities to come together and reflect on the history of crime victims’ rights. This historical overview outlines the progress of the crime victims’ rights movement from 1965 to the present, including:

  • the creation and growth of local, state, and national victim service organizations;
  • the passage of key federal and state legislation; 
  • notable court decisions; 
  • groundbreaking reports and studies; and 
  • advances in victim assistance approaches. 

This section of the NCVRW Resource Guide tells the story of our Nation’s capacity to help crime victims rebuild their lives. Use these milestones to inform your speeches, op-ed columns, media interviews, and other education efforts. 

Craft “This Day in History” posts that are relevant to your social media networks. However you share this information, let it remind your community of how far we’ve come. Let it provide inspiration and hope for the work ahead, both during NCVRW and throughout the year.

Key Federal Victims’ Rights Legislation

1974: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

1980: Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act 

1982: Victim and Witness Protection Act

1982: Missing Children’s Act

1984: Victims of Crime Act 

1984: Justice Assistance Act 

1984: Missing Children’s Assistance Act 

1984: Family Violence Prevention and Services Act

1985: Children’s Justice Act

1988: Drunk Driving Prevention Act

1990: Hate Crime Statistics Act 

1990: Victims of Child Abuse Act 

1990: Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act 

1990: National Child Search Assistance Act

1992: Battered Women’s Testimony Act 

1993: Child Sexual Abuse Registry Act 

1994: Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act 

1994: Violence Against Women Act

1996: Community Notification Act (Megan’s Law)

1996: Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act

1996: Mandatory Victims’ Restitution Act

1997: Victims’ Rights Clarification Act

1998: Identity Theft and Deterrence Act 


2000: Trafficking Victims Protection Act 

2001: Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (established the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund)

2003: PROTECT Act (Amber Alert Law)

2003: Prison Rape Elimination Act 

2003: Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act

2004: Justice For All Act (including Title I: The Scott Campbell, Stephanie Roper, Wendy Preston, Louarna Gillis, and Nila Lynn Crime Victims’ Rights Act)

2006: Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act

2010: Tribal Law and Order Act 

2015: Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act 

2016: Native American Children’s Safety Act 

2018: Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018

2019: Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent

Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act

2020: Not Invisible Act of 2019

2021: Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act

2021: VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021

2022: Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022

Commemorating 40 Years of VOCA

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Victims of Crime Act, commonly shortened to VOCA. This act was passed by Congress and signed into law on October 12, 1984. VOCA established the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), a Federal Victim Notification System, discretionary grants for victim service organizations, victim assistance positions in the Department of Justice, financial support for the Children’s Justice Act Program, and assistance and compensation for victims and survivors of terrorism.

In 1988, the law was amended establishing the federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) as the administrator of the CVF. The CVF consists of deposits from federal criminal fines, forfeited bail bonds, penalties, and special assessments collected by U.S. Attorneys' Offices, federal courts, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act was signed into law in 2021, mandating that monetary penalties from federal deferred and non-prosecution agreements also be added to the CVF rather than the General Treasury. Crucially, the CVF does not use taxpayer dollars. Since 2007, more than $31 billion has been deposited into the CVF.

Because of VOCA and CVF, OVC is able to support thousands of programs annually with millions of dollars invested in services provided directly to crime victims who have suffered physical, emotional, and financial harm from victimization.

Victims Rights Landmarks Throughout the Years



  • California establishes the first crime victim compensation program. By 1970, New York, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, and the U.S. Virgin Islands also establish programs. 


  • The first three victim-assistance programs are established: 
    • Aid for Victims of Crime in St. Louis, Missouri (now the Crime Victim Center)
    • Bay Area Women Against Rape in San Francisco, California. 
    • D.C. Rape Crisis Center in Washington, D.C. 


  • The results of the first annual National Crime Victimization Survey are released. The survey, commissioned by the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, asks U.S. household members about their exposure to crime. It complements the FBI’s annual compilation of crimes reported to law enforcement agencies. 


  • The Law Enforcement Assistance Administration funds the first victim/witness programs in the Brooklyn and Milwaukee District Attorneys’ Offices and seven other offices through a grant given to the National District Attorneys Association to establish model assistance programs for victims, encourage victim cooperation, and improve prosecution.
  • The first law-enforcement-based victim-assistance programs are established in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Congress passes the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which establishes the Child Welfare Information Gateway. The new center establishes an information clearinghouse and provides technical assistance and model programs.


  • The first Victims’ Rights Week is organized by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
  • Citizen activists from across the country unite to expand victim services and increase recognition of victims’ rights by forming the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA).


  • The National Organization for Women forms a task force to examine the problem of battering. It calls for research into the problem, along with money for battered women’s shelters.
  • The first national conference on battered women is sponsored by the Milwaukee Task Force on Women in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • In Fresno County, California, Chief Probation Officer James Rowland creates the first victim impact statement to provide the sentencing court with an objective inventory of the victim’s injuries and losses.
  • The first hotline for battered women is started by Women’s Advocates in St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • Women’s Advocates and Haven House in Pasadena, California, establish the first shelters for battered women.
  • Nebraska and Wisconsin become the first states to abolish the marital rape exemption. 



  • The National Coalition Against Sexual Assault is formed to combat sexual violence and promote services for rape victims.
  • The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is organized as a voice for the battered women’s movement on a national level.
  • Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc. (POMC), a self-help support group, is founded in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Minnesota becomes the first state to allow probable cause (warrantless) arrests in cases of domestic assault, whether or not a protection order exists. 


  • Frank G. Carrington founds the Crime Victims’ Legal Advocacy Institute Inc. to promote the rights of crime victims in the civil and criminal justice systems. The nonprofit organization is renamed VALOR, the Victims’ Assistance Legal Organization, in 1981.
  • The Office on Domestic Violence is established in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (later closed in 1981).
  • The World Society of Victimology is formed to promote research relating to crime victims and victim assistance, advocate for victims’ interests, and advance cooperation of international, regional, and local agencies concerned with crime victims’ issues.


  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is founded after the death of 13-year-old Cari Lightner, who was killed by a repeat drunken-driving offender. The first two MADD chapters are established in Sacramento, California, and Annapolis, Maryland.
  • Congress passes the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.
  • Wisconsin passes the first Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights.
  • The first National Day of Unity is established in October by NCADV to mourn battered women who have died, celebrate women who have survived the violence, and honor all who have worked to end domestic violence.
  • The first Victim Impact Panel is sponsored by Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID) in Oswego County, New York. 


  • President Ronald Reagan proclaims the first national Crime Victims’ Week in April.
  • The abduction and murder of 6-year-old Adam Walsh prompts a national campaign to raise public awareness about missing children and enact laws to better protect children.
  • The Attorney General’s Task Force on Violent Crime recommends that a separate national task force be created to examine victims’ issues. 


  • In a Rose Garden ceremony, President Reagan appoints members to the Task Force on Victims of Crime, which holds public hearings in six cities across the Nation to focus attention on the needs of crime victims. The task force’s final report offers 68 recommendations that become the framework for advancing new programs and policies. Its final recommendation, to amend the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to guarantee that “the victim, in every criminal prosecution, shall have the right to be present and to be heard at all critical stages of judicial proceeding,” becomes a vital source of new energy for securing constitutional amendments for victims’ rights in each state.
  • The Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 brings “fair treatment standards” to victims and witnesses in the federal criminal justice system.
  • California becomes the first state to amend its constitution to address the interests of crime victims by establishing a constitutional right to victim restitution.
  • The passage of the Missing Children’s Act of 1982 helps guarantee that identifying information about missing children is promptly entered into the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer system.
  • Congress abolishes, through failure of 1984 appropriations, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration; many grassroots and system based victim assistance programs close.


  • The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is established by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) within the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to implement recommendations from the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime.
  • OVC establishes a national resource center, trains professionals, and develops model legislation to protect victims’ rights.
  • U.S. Attorney General William French Smith establishes a Task Force on Family Violence, which holds six public hearings across the United States.
  • U.S. Attorney General Smith issues the first Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance, which outlines standards for federal victim and witness assistance and the implementation of victims’ rights contained in the federal Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982.
  • In April, President Reagan honors crime victims in a White House Rose Garden ceremony.
  • The First National Conference of the Judiciary on Victims of Crime is held at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, with support from the National Institute of Justice. Conferees develop recommendations for the judiciary on victims’ rights and services.
  • President Reagan proclaims the first National Missing Children’s Day in observance of the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz.
  • Wisconsin passes the first Child Victim and Witness Bill of Rights.
  • The International Association of Chiefs of Police Board of Governors adopts a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights and establishes a Victims’ Rights Committee to focus attention on the needs of crime victims by law enforcement officials nationwide.


  • The passage of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) establishes the Crime Victims Fund, made up of federal criminal fines, penalties, and bond forfeitures, to support state victim compensation and local victim assistance programs.
  • President Reagan signs the Justice Assistance Act, which establishes a financial assistance program for state and local government and funds 200 new victim service programs.
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is established as the national resource agency for missing children. The center was mandated as part of the Missing Children’s Assistance Act of 1984.
  • The Task Force on Family Violence presents its report to the U.S. Attorney General with recommendations for action, including improving the criminal justice system’s response to battered women and establishing prevention and awareness activities, education and training, and data collection and reporting.
  • The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was enacted, providing strong incentives to states for raising the minimum age for drinking to 21, saving thousands of young lives in years to come.
  • The Spiritual Dimension in Victim Services in Charleston, South Carolina, is founded to involve the faith community in violence prevention and victim assistance.
  • Congress passes the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, which earmarks federal funding for programs serving victims of domestic violence.
  • Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) is organized at the first police survivors’ seminar held in Washington, D.C., by 110 relatives of officers killed in the line of duty.
  • A victim/witness notification system is established within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  • Victim/witness coordinator positions are established in the U.S. attorneys’ offices within DOJ.
  • California State University, Fresno, initiates the first victim services certificate program offered for academic credit by a university. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $68 million.
  • The National Victim Center (renamed the National Center for Victims of Crime in 1998) is founded in honor of Sunny von Bülow to provide a strong national voice on behalf of crime victims and to educate Americans about the devastating effect of crime on our society.
  • The United Nations General Assembly adopts the Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, which serves as the basis for victim service reform at national and local levels throughout the world.
  • President Reagan announces the Child Safety Partnership to enhance private sector efforts to promote child safety, clarify information about child victimization, and increase public awareness of child abuse.
  • The U.S. surgeon general issues a report identifying domestic violence as a major public health problem. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $62 million.
  • OVC awards the first grants to support state victim assistance and compensation programs.
  • Two years after its passage, VOCA is amended by the Children’s Justice Act to provide funds specifically for investigating and prosecuting child abuse.
  • More than 100 victim advocates meet in Washington, D.C., at a forum sponsored by NOVA, and formally agree to seek a federal constitutional amendment on victims’ rights.
  • Rhode Island passes a victims’ rights constitutional amendment granting victims the right to restitution, to submit victim impact statements, and to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • MADD’s Red Ribbon Campaign enlists motorists to display a red ribbon on their automobiles, signaling a pledge to drive safely and soberly during the holidays. (This national public awareness effort has since become an annual campaign.)
  • By year’s end, 35 states have established victim compensation programs. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $77 million.
  • The National Victims’ Constitutional Amendment Network and Steering Committee are formed at a meeting hosted by the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC). This initiative becomes instrumental in the passage of victims’ rights amendments throughout the United States.
  • Security on Campus Inc. (now the Clery Center) is established by Howard and Connie Clery, following the robbery, rape, and murder of their daughter, Jeanne, at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
  • Security on Campus raises national awareness about crime and victimization on our Nation’s campuses.
  • The American Correctional Association establishes a Task Force on Victims of Crime.
  • NCADV establishes the first national, toll free domestic violence hotline.
  • October is officially designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to honor battered women and those who serve them.
  • In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Booth v. Maryland (482 U.S. 496) that victim impact statements are unconstitutional (in violation of the Eighth Amendment) when applied to the penalty phase of a capital trial because “only the defendant’s personal responsibility and moral guilt” may be considered in capital sentencing. Significant dissenting opinions are offered.
  • Victims and advocates in Florida, frustrated by five years of inaction by their legislature on a proposed victims’ rights constitutional amendment, begin a petition drive. Thousands of citizens sign petitions supporting constitutional protection for victims’ rights. The Florida legislature reconsiders, and the constitutional amendment appears on the 1988 ballot.


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $93 million.
  • OVC sets aside funds for the Victim Assistance in Indian Country grant program to provide direct services to Native Americans by establishing “on reservation” victim assistance programs in Indian Country.
  • The National Aging Resource Center on Elder Abuse is established by a cooperative agreement among the American Public Welfare Association, the National Association of State Units on Aging, and the University of Delaware. Renamed the National Center on Elder Abuse, it provides information and statistics on this issue of growing concern.
  • State v. Ciskie is the first case to allow the use of expert testimony to explain the behavior and mental state of an adult rape victim. The testimony is used to show why a victim of repeated physical and sexual assaults by her intimate partner would not immediately call the police or take action. The jury convicts the defendant on four counts of rape.
  • The Drunk Driving Prevention Act is passed, and all states raise the minimum drinking age to 21.
  • Victims’ rights constitutional amendments are introduced in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, South Carolina, and Washington. Florida’s amendment is placed on the November ballot, where it passes with 90 percent of the vote. Michigan’s amendment passes with more than 80 percent of the vote.
  • OVC sponsors the first Indian Nations: Justice for Victims of Crime conference in Rapid City, South Dakota.
  • Amendments to VOCA establish OVC, elevate the position of director by making Senate confirmation necessary for appointment, and encourage state compensation programs to cover victims of domestic violence, homicide, and drunken driving. In addition, VOCA amendments, at the behest of MADD and POMC, add a new “priority” category for funding victim assistance programs for “previously underserved victims of violent crime.”
  • OVC establishes a Federal Emergency Fund for victims in the federal criminal justice system. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $133 million.
  • In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirms in South Carolina v. Gathers its 1987 decision in Booth v. Maryland that victim impact evidence and arguments are unconstitutional when applied to the penalty phase of a capital trial. Again, significant dissenting opinions are offered.
  • The legislatures in Texas and Washington pass victims’ rights constitutional amendments. Both are ratified by voters.


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $146 million.
  • Congress passes the Hate Crime Statistics Act, requiring the U.S. attorney general to collect data on the incidence of certain crimes motivated by prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.
  • The Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act, requiring institutions of higher education to disclose murder, rape, robbery, and other crimes on campus, is signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
  • Congress passes the Victims of Child Abuse Act, which features reforms to make the federal criminal justice system less traumatic for child victims and witnesses.
  • The Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 incorporates a bill of rights for federal crime victims and codifies services that should be available to victims of crime.
  • Congress passes legislation proposed by MADD to prevent drunken drivers and other offenders from filing bankruptcy to avoid paying criminal restitution or civil fines.
  • The Arizona petition to place the victims’ rights constitutional amendment on the ballot succeeds, and the amendment is ratified by voters.
  • The first National Incidence Study on Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children in America finds that in a one-year period there were as many as 450,000 runaways; 127,000 thrownaways; 438,000 children who were lost, injured, or otherwise missing; 4,600 children abducted by non-family members; and 114,600 children who were targets of attempted abduction by non-family members.
  • The National Child Search Assistance Act requires law enforcement to enter reports of missing children and unidentified persons into the FBI’s NCIC computer system.
  • California becomes the first state in the country to pass a law against stalking, CA Penal Code Section 646.9. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $128 million.
  • U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduces the first Congressional Joint Resolution (H.R.J. Res. 247) to place victims’ rights in the U.S. Constitution.
  • California State University, Fresno, approves the first bachelor’s degree program in victimology in the Nation.
  • NCVC releases America Speaks Out, a report on the first national public opinion poll to examine citizens’ attitudes about violence and victimization.
  • In a 7-2 decision in Payne v. Tennessee (501 U.S. 808), the U.S. Supreme Court reverses its earlier decisions in Booth v. Maryland (1987) and South Carolina v. Gathers (1989) and rules that testimony and prosecutorial arguments commenting on the murder victim’s good character, as well as how the victim’s death affected his or her survivors, do not violate the defendant’s constitutional rights in a capital case.
  • U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr issues new comprehensive guidelines that establish procedures for the federal criminal justice system to respond to the needs of crime victims. The 1991 Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance implement new protections of the Crime Control Act of 1990, integrating requirements of the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, the Victims of Child Abuse Act, and the Victim and Witness Protection Act.
  • The American Probation and Parole Association establishes a Victim Issues Committee to examine victims’ issues and concerns related to community corrections.
  • The New Jersey legislature passes a victims’ rights constitutional amendment, which voters ratify in November.
  • Colorado legislators introduce a victims’ rights constitutional amendment on the first day of NCVRW. The bill is unanimously passed by both Houses to be placed on the ballot in 1992.
  • In an 8-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Simon & Schuster v. New York Crime Victims Board that New York’s notoriety-for-profit statute was overly broad and unconstitutional. By this time, many states had passed notoriety-for profit statutes to prevent convicted criminals from profiting on the proceeds of depictions of their crimes in the media or publications.
  • The Washington secretary of state implements the Nation’s first Address Confidentiality Program, which provides victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault an alternative, confidential mailing address and secures the confidentiality of two normally public records: voter registration and motor vehicle records.
  • By the end of 1991, seven states have incorporated victims’ rights into their state constitutions. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $221 million.
  • NCVC releases Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, a groundbreaking study that includes data on rape frequency, victims’ reporting rate to police, the impact of rape on victims’ mental health, and the effect of media disclosure of victim identities on reporting rape to law enforcement.
  • The Association of Paroling Authorities International establishes a Victim Issues Committee to examine victims’ needs, rights, and services in parole processes.
  • Congress reauthorizes the Higher Education Bill, which includes the Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights.
  • The Battered Women’s Testimony Act, which urges states to accept expert testimony in criminal cases involving battered women, is passed by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
  • In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court, in R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, strikes down a local hate crimes ordinance in Minnesota. The ordinance had prohibited the display of a symbol that one knew or had reason to know “arouses anger, alarm, or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, or gender,” and was found to violate the First Amendment.
  • Five states — Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, and New Mexico — ratify victims’ rights constitutional amendments.
  • Twenty-eight states pass anti-stalking laws.
  • Massachusetts passes a landmark bill creating a statewide computerized domestic violence registry and requiring judges to check the registry when handling such cases. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $144 million.
  • Wisconsin ratifies its victims’ rights constitutional amendment, bringing the total number of states with these amendments to 14.
  • Congress passes the International Parental Kidnapping Act, which makes it a federal felony to remove a child from the United States or to keep a child outside of the United States with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights.
  • President William J. Clinton signs the “Brady Bill,” requiring a waiting period for the purchase of handguns.
  • Congress passes the Child Sexual Abuse Registry Act, establishing a national repository for information about child sex offenders.
  • NCVC launches INFOLINK (later renamed the National Crime Victim Helpline), a toll free service that provides trained victim advocacy and support for victims of all types of crime.
  • Twenty-two states pass anti-stalking statutes, bringing the total number of states with anti-stalking laws to 50, plus the District of Columbia. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $185 million.
  • The American Correctional Association Victims Committee publishes the landmark Report and Recommendations on Victims of Juvenile Crime, which offers guidelines for improving victims’ rights and services within the juvenile justice system.
  • Six additional states pass victims’ rights constitutional amendments—the largest number ever in a single year—bringing the total number of states with amendments to 20. States with new amendments include Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Maryland, Ohio, and Utah.
  • President Clinton signs a comprehensive package of federal victims’ rights legislation as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The Act includes:
    • the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which authorizes more than $1 billion in funding for programs to combat violence against women; 
    • enhanced VOCA funding provisions;
    • establishment of a National Child Sex Offender Registry; and 
    • enhanced sentences for drunk drivers with child passengers.
  • Kentucky becomes the first state to institute automated telephone notification for crime victims of their offender’s status, location, and release date.
  • OVC establishes the Community Crisis Response program, using the NOVA model, to improve services for victims in communities that have experienced a crime resulting in multiple violent victimizations.


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $233 million.
  • Legislatures in three states — Indiana, Nebraska, and North Carolina — pass victims’ rights constitutional amendments that are placed on the states’ ballots in 1996.
  • The National Victims’ Constitutional Amendment Network proposes the first draft of language for a federal victims’ rights constitutional amendment.
  • The first class graduates from the National Victim Assistance Academy (NVAA) in Washington, D.C.
  • Supported by OVC, NVAA provides an academically credited, 45-hour curriculum on victimology, victims’ rights, and other victim-related topics.
  • The Anatomy of Fraud: Report of a Nationwide Survey by Richard Titus, Fred Heinzelmann, and John M. Boyle is published. The report is based on the first nationwide survey, conducted in 1991 by the National Institute of Justice, to determine the scope of fraud and its effects, with findings that an estimated $40 billion is lost to fraud each year. One-third of the people surveyed reported that an attempt to defraud them had occurred in the previous year.
  • DOJ issues the revised Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance, which increases the accountability of federal criminal justice officials, directing that performance appraisals and reports of best efforts include information on guidelines compliance.
  • The Beijing World Conference on Women issues a landmark call for global action to end violence against women.
  • DOJ creates the Violence Against Women Office to provide federal leadership in developing the national capacity to reduce violence against women and administer justice for and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. 


  • The Crime Victims Fund reaches a historic high, with more than $525 million in deposits.
  • Federal victims’ rights constitutional amendments are introduced in both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support.
  • Both presidential candidates and Attorney General Janet Reno endorse the concept of a federal victims’ rights constitutional amendment.
  • Eight states ratify the passage of victims’ rights constitutional amendments, raising the total number of such state constitutional amendments to 29 nationwide.
  • President Clinton reaffirms his support of federal constitutional rights for crime victims in a Rose Garden ceremony attended by members of Congress, criminal justice officials, and representatives of local, state, and national victims’ rights organizations. 
  • The Community Notification Act, known as “Megan’s Law,” amends the Child Sexual Abuse Registry law to provide for notifying communities of the location of convicted sex offenders.
  • President Clinton signs the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, providing $1 million to strengthen antiterrorism efforts, make restitution mandatory in violent crime cases, and expand compensation and assistance for victims of terrorism both at home and abroad, including victims in the military.
  • OVC uses its new authority under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act to provide substantial financial assistance to the victims and survivors of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
  • The Mandatory Victims’ Restitution Act, enacted as Title II of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, allows federal courts to award “public harm” restitution directly to state VOCA victim assistance programs. The Act makes restitution in federal cases mandatory, regardless of the defendant’s ability to pay. It also requires federal courts to order restitution for victims of fraud.
  • The VOCA definition of “crime victim” is expanded to include victims of financial crime, allowing this group to receive counseling, advocacy, and other support services.
  • Congress establishes the National Domestic Violence Hotline to provide crisis intervention, information, and referrals for victims of domestic violence and their friends and family.
  • The Church Arson Prevention Act is enacted to respond to an increasing number of acts of arson against religious institutions around the country.
  • The Drug-Induced Rape Prevention Act is enacted to address the emerging issue of drug-facilitated rape and drug-facilitated sexual assault.
  • The DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention issues the Juvenile Justice Action Plan, which includes recommendations for victims’ rights and services within the juvenile justice system for victims of juvenile offenders. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $363 million.
  • Congress passes the Victims’ Rights Clarification Act of 1997 to clarify existing federal law allowing victims to attend a trial and to appear as “impact witnesses” during the sentencing phase of both capital and non-capital cases. President Clinton signs the act, allowing the victims and survivors of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995 to observe the trial and to provide input at sentencing.
  • A federal victims’ rights constitutional amendment is reintroduced in the opening days of the 105th Congress with strong bipartisan support. The Senate and House Judiciary Committees conduct hearings on the proposed federal victims’ rights constitutional amendment. While not endorsing specific language, Attorney General Janet Reno testifies at the Senate hearing in support of federal constitutional rights for crime victims.
  • To fully recognize the sovereignty of Indian nations, OVC for the first time provides victim assistance grants directly to Tribes in Indian Country. 
  • Congress enacts a federal anti-stalking law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997.
  • Due to the large influx of VOCA funds in the previous fiscal year, OVC hosts a series of regional meetings with state VOCA administrators to encourage states to develop multi-year funding strategies to help stabilize local program funding, expand outreach to previously underserved victims, and support the development and implementation of technologies to improve victims’ rights and services.
  • OVC continues its support of the victims and survivors of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City by funding additional advocates, crisis counseling, and travel expenses for the bombing victims to attend court proceedings.
  • When the venue of the trial is changed to Denver, Colorado, OVC provides funding for a special closed-circuit broadcast to victims and survivors in Oklahoma City. 
  • OVC releases New Directions from the Field: Victims’ Rights and Services for the 21st Century, which assesses the Nation’s progress in meeting the recommendations set forth in the Final Report of the 1982 President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime and issues more than 250 new recommendations from the field for the next millennium. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $324 million.
  • Senate Joint Resolution 44, a new bipartisan version of a federal victims’ rights constitutional amendment, is introduced in the Senate by Senators Jon Kyl (R- AZ) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The Senate Judiciary Committee subsequently approves S.J. Res. 44 by an 11-6 vote. No further action is taken on S.J. Res. 44 during the 105th Congress.
  • Four new states pass state victims’ rights constitutional amendments: Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Tennessee. The Supreme Court of Oregon overturns the Oregon state victims’ rights amendment, originally passed in 1996, citing structural deficiencies.
  • The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 are passed. Part E of this legislation, “Grants to Combat Violent Crimes Against Women on Campus,” is authorized through 2003 and appropriates $10 million in grant funding to the Violence Against Women Grants Office for Fiscal Year 1999. Another primary aim of this legislation is to reduce binge drinking and illegal alcohol consumption on college campuses.
  • Congress enacts the Child Protection and Sexual Predator Punishment Act of 1998, providing for numerous sentencing enhancements and other initiatives addressing sex crimes against children, including crimes facilitated by the use of interstate facilities and the Internet.
  • Congress passes the Crime Victims with Disabilities Awareness Act, representing the first effort to systematically gather information about the extent of victimization of individuals with disabilities. This legislation directs the U.S. attorney general to conduct a study on crimes against individuals with developmental disabilities. In addition, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is required to include statistics on the nature of crimes against individuals with developmental disabilities and victim characteristics in its annual National Crime Victimization Survey by 2000.
  • The Identity Theft and Deterrence Act of 1998 is signed into law. This landmark federal legislation outlaws identity theft and directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to consider various factors in determining penalties, including the number of victims and the value of losses to any individual victim. The Act further authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to log and acknowledge reports of identity theft, provide information to victims, and refer complaints to appropriate consumer reporting and law enforcement agencies.
  • OVC provides funding for the U.S. Department of State to develop a victim assistance specialist position to improve the quality and coordination of services provided to U.S. citizens who are victimized abroad. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $985 million.
  • The proposed federal victims’ rights constitutional amendment (Senate Joint Resolution 3, identical to S.J. Res. 44) is introduced in the 106th Congress.
  • The fifth National Victim Assistance Academy is held at five university locations across the United States, bringing the total number of NVAA graduates to nearly 1,000.
  • OVC issues the first grants for creating State Victim Assistance Academies.
  • NCVC forms the National Crime Victim Bar Association to promote civil justice for victims of crime. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $777 million.
  • Congress passes a new national drunken driving limit of 0.08 blood alcohol concentration with the support of MADD, other victim advocacy organizations, and leading highway safety, health, medical, law enforcement, and insurance groups. The new law, passed with bipartisan support, requires states to pass 0.08 “per se intoxication” laws or lose a portion of their annual federal highway funding.
  • Congress reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act, extending VAWA through 2005 and authorizing funding at $3.3 billion over the five-year period. In addition to expanding federal stalking statutes to include Internet stalking, the act authorizes:
    • $80 million a year for rape prevention and education grants; 
    • $875 million over five years for battered women’s shelters; 
    • $25 million in 2001 for transitional housing programs; and 
    • $25 million to address violence against older women and women with disabilities.
  • The Internet Crime Complaint Center website is created by DOJ, the FBI, and the National White Collar Crime Center to combat Internet fraud by giving consumers a convenient way to report violations and by centralizing information about fraud crimes for law enforcement.
  • Attorney General Janet Reno revises and reissues the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance, which mandates that every DOJ employee who comes into contact with crime victims receives at minimum one hour of training about victims’ rights laws and the guidelines.
  • The National Crime Victimization Survey reports the lowest rate recorded since the survey’s creation in 1973.
  • The Treasury Department conducts the National Summit on Identity Theft, which addresses prevention techniques, victims’ experiences, and remediation in the government and private sector. The summit is the first national-level conference involving law enforcement, victims, industry representatives, and nonprofit organizations interested in the issue. At the summit, Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers unveils four new initiatives for addressing identity theft.
  • The U.S. Senate addresses a federal victims’ rights constitutional amendment for the first time. Following debate, the measure (S.J. Res. 3) is withdrawn for further consideration by its cosponsors, Senators Kyl (R-AZ) and Feinstein (D-CA), when it becomes apparent that the measure will not receive the two thirds majority vote necessary for approval.
  • Congress passes and the president signs the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. This new law significantly strengthens criminal enforcement, prosecution, and penalties against traffickers; provides new protections for victims; and enables victims of severe forms of trafficking to seek benefits and services available to other crime victims. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $544 million.
  • The National Crime Victimization Survey reports that victimization rates continue to drop, reaching a new low of 26 million victims for the year 2000.
  • On September 11, 2001, two hijacked planes crash into the World Trade Center, another into the Pentagon, and a fourth into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing 2,974 victims and injuring countless others in the worst terrorist attacks on American soil. 
  • Congress responds to the terrorist acts of September 11 with a raft of new laws providing funding for victim assistance, tax relief for victims, and other accommodations and protections for victims.
  • As part of the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act, a new federal victim compensation program is created specifically for the victims of September 11. The program includes many types of damages normally available only through civil actions, such as payment for pain and suffering, lifetime lost earnings, and loss of enjoyment of life. To receive compensation, claimants are required to waive their right to bring civil action for damages suffered as a result of the terrorist acts.
  • Congress passes and President George W. Bush signs the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, a package of antiterrorism legislation that includes changes to VOCA, including increasing the percentage of state compensation payments reimbursable by the federal government and allowing OVC to fund compliance and evaluation projects.
  • OVC augments state victim compensation funding to aid victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania; offers assistance to victims of the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon through the Pentagon Family Assistance Center; and establishes a toll free telephone number and secure website for victims and their immediate family members.
  • The Child Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Act and Jennifer’s Law increase the annual Crime Victims Fund set-aside for child abuse victims from $10 million to a maximum of $20 million and allow the use of Byrne grant funds for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Jennifer’s Law authorizes $2 million per year through Fiscal Year 2002 for states to apply for grants to cover costs associated with entering complete files of unidentified crime victims into the FBI’s NCIC database.
  • New regulations, policies, and procedures for victims of trafficking dramatically change the response to this class of crime victims by agencies throughout the federal government, including the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and several DOJ agencies (the FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and U.S. attorneys’ offices). 



  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $519 million.
  • OVC releases final program guidelines and an accompanying application kit for the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program for Terrorism and Mass Violence Crimes, which provides funding to compensate and assist victims of terrorism and mass violence that occur within and outside the United States. 
  • The National Crime Victimization Survey continues to show a decline in crime victimization. Violent crime victimization dropped 10 percent from the previous year, and property crime dropped 6 percent. 
  • President Bush attends the presentation of the NCVRW awards and announces the administration’s support for the proposed Crime Victims’ Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • The National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators (NAVAA) is established. With OVC support, NAVAA provides technical assistance and training to state VOCA assistance administrators. 
  • OVC makes available the first Helping Outreach Programs to Expand program grants for grassroots, nonprofit, and community-based victim organizations and coalitions to improve outreach and services for victims of crime through program development, networking, coalition building, and service delivery. 
  • Congress appropriates approximately $20 million to fund services for trafficking victims, including shelter, medical and mental health care, legal assistance, interpretation, and advocacy. 
  • President Bush hosts the first White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children and announces his support for the Hutchison-Feinstein National AMBER Alert Network Act of 2002, which would help develop, enhance, and coordinate the AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) program. The assistant attorney general for OJP is designated as the National AMBER Alert coordinator at DOJ. 
  • By the end of 2002, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam have established crime victim compensation programs. 
  • Our Vulnerable Teenagers: Their Victimization, Its Consequences, and Directions for Prevention and Intervention is released by the Evident Change (formerly the National Council on Crime and Delinquency) and NCVC. This landmark report documents the disproportionate representation of teenagers, ages 12-19, as victims of crime, and discusses promising prevention and intervention strategies.
  • Congress passes federal legislation making the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), formerly known as the Violence Against Women Office, a permanent part of DOJ with a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed director. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $361 million.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee passes the federal victims’ rights constitutional amendment to ensure basic rights for victims nationwide.
  • Congress passes and President Bush signs the PROTECT Act of 2003—also known as the “AMBER Alert” law—which creates a national AMBER network to facilitate rapid law enforcement and community response to kidnapped or abducted children.
  • The American Society of Victimology (ASV) is established at the first American Symposium on Victimology, held in Kansas City, Kansas. The ASV serves as a forum for academics and practitioners on all topics related to victimology in partnership with the World Society of Victimology.
  • The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 is enacted to track and address the issue of rape in correctional institutions and develop national standards aimed at reducing prison rape.
  • Congress establishes January as National Stalking Awareness Month.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline, operated by the Texas Council on Family Violence, receives its one-millionth call.
  • The U.S. Postal Service releases the Stop Family Violence postage stamp to raise money for domestic violence prevention programs.
  • Congress appropriates $22 million for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Family Advocacy Program, $900,000 of which is for the National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness, Intervention, and Prevention Campaign in the military services.
  • The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 is enacted to provide new protections against identity theft and help victims of identity theft recover their financial losses.
  • Congress passes and President Bush signs the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Along with reauthorizing programs created under the first TVPA, this legislation strengthens prevention efforts, supports prosecution of offenders, simplifies the process by which victims are certified eligible for benefits, and allows benefits and services to be available for victims’ family members who are legally allowed to come to the United States. The legislation also creates a civil cause of action for victims of forced labor or forced prostitution. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $834 million.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense Task Force on Care for Victims of Sexual Assault releases its report and recommendations for preventing sexual assault in the military and providing a sensitive response to victims. The recommendations include establishing a single office within the U.S. Department of Defense to handle sexual assault matters, launching an information campaign to inform personnel about services available to victims, and convening a summit to update the definition of sexual assault and address victim privacy concerns within the military context. 
  • The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act is enacted, defining aggravated identity theft as stealing another person’s identity in connection with the commission of other specified felonies. The legislation also prohibits the court from ordering an offender's sentence for identity theft to run concurrently with a sentence imposed on the same offender for any other crime. 
  • Congress passes and President Bush signs the Justice for All Act of 2004, which includes the Scott Campbell, Stephanie Roper, Wendy Preston, Louarna Gillis, and Nila Lynn Crime Victims’ Rights Act, providing substantive rights for crime victims. The law provides mechanisms at the federal level to enforce the rights of crime victims, giving victims and prosecutors legal standing to assert victims’ rights, authorizing the filing of writs of mandamus to assert a victim’s right, and requiring the U.S. attorney general to establish a victims’ rights compliance program within DOJ. The legislation authorizes $155 million in funding over the next five years for victim assistance programs at the federal and state levels. This omnibus crime legislation also provides funding for DNA testing, crime labs, sexual assault forensic examiners, and programs for post-conviction DNA testing. 
  • President Bush hosts the first national training conference on human trafficking, which brings together trafficking response teams of federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and victim service providers from at least 21 cities with a known concentration of trafficking victims. The conference emphasizes the importance of combating trafficking using a victim-centered approach.
  • NCVC releases Repairing the Harm: A New Vision for Crime Victim Compensation in America, which examines compensation data from all 50 states, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, and compensation programs in other countries. The report also recommends a framework for strengthening victim compensation in the United States.


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $668 million. 
  • DOJ establishes an online national sex offender registry that provides real time access to public sex offender data nationwide with a single internet search. 
  • OVC and the Bureau of Justice Assistance initiate a program to establish teams of law enforcement task forces and victim services personnel to respond to human trafficking. The primary program goals are to develop sustainable programs to combat human trafficking through proactive law enforcement and prosecution at all levels of government, to coordinate U.S. Attorneys’ Offices’ efforts, to collaborate with victim service providers, and to increase the identification and rescue of trafficking victims. 
  • The U.S. House of Representatives establishes the first congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, co-chaired by Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX) and Jim Costa (D-CA). The mission of the caucus is to elevate crime victim issues in Congress in a bipartisan manner, without infringing on the rights of the accused, and to advocate for crime victims’ interests before the administration and within Congress. 
  • DOJ announces more than $84 million in DNA grants nationwide as part of President Bush’s Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology initiative. The initiative is designed to improve the Nation’s capacity to use DNA evidence by eliminating casework and convicted offender backlogs, funding research and development, improving crime lab capacity, providing training for all stakeholders in the criminal justice system, and conducting testing to identify missing persons. 
  • Attorney General Alberto Gonzales issues the revised Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance, which incorporates provisions for crime victims’ rights and remedies, including those in the Justice for All Act that had been enacted since the publication of the previous edition. The guidelines also address victim and witness assistance in human trafficking and identity theft cases. 
  • The National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators releases the Crime Victims Fund Report, which highlights the Crime Victims Fund’s contribution to the federal government’s efforts to assist victims, analyzes the sources of deposits into the fund, examines the issues involved in administering it, and explores future challenges to the fund’s capacity to meet victims’ needs. 
  • The American Bar Association (ABA) releases Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams: A Replication Manual, developed by the ABA Commission on Law and Aging and funded by OVC, providing guidance to communities on establishing elder abuse fatality review teams that examine deaths caused by or related to elder abuse. 
  • DOJ issues its final rule implementing the victims’ rights compliance provisions of the Crime Victims Rights’ Act portion of the Justice for All Act. The rule establishes the Office of the Victims’ Rights Ombudsman within the Executive Office for United States Attorneys to receive and investigate complaints relating to the provision or violation of the rights of crime victims. The rule also creates procedures for filing complaints, investigating complaints, and imposing disciplinary sanctions against employees when warranted. 
  • The U.S. Department of Defense announces a new sexual assault policy. The policy creates a military-wide definition of sexual assault, sets a baseline standard for prevention and response training for the armed services, and requires all military installations to have a sexual assault response coordinator with a staff of victim advocates. The policy also requires the establishment of a senior level of command to handle sexual assault cases and review any administrative discharges of sexual assault victims. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $650 million. 
  • Congress passes and President Bush signs the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005. This reauthorization of VAWA increases focus on access to services by underserved populations; includes provisions for early intervention, prevention, and health care; and promotes a national commitment to keep women and children safe from fear and abuse. The act:
    • creates the Sexual Assault Services Program, which is the first federal funding stream dedicated to direct services for victims of sexual assault.
    • provides housing resources to prevent victims from becoming homeless and ensure that victims can access the criminal justice system without jeopardizing their current or future housing. 
    • establishes prevention programs that intervene early with children who have witnessed domestic violence, support young families at risk for violence, and change social norms through targeted interventions with men and youth.
    •  improves the response to violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women, funding research and establishing a Tribal registry to track sex offenders and orders of protection.
    • creates a National Resource Center on Workplace Responses.
  • Congress passes and President Bush signs the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005. This law expands the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 by enhancing efforts to fight domestic trafficking in persons. 
  • During the NCVRW ceremony, OVC awards the first Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Awards to honor outstanding individuals whose leadership, vision, and innovation have led to significant changes in public policy and practice that benefit crime victims. 
  • President Bush signs the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. Along with increasing supervision of sex offenders, this wide-ranging legislation also extends the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act to federal habeas corpus proceedings arising out of state convictions, eliminates the statute of limitations for federal prosecution of certain sexual offenses and child abduction, and extends the civil remedy for child sex crime victims to persons victimized as children, even if their injuries did not surface until the person became an adult. 
  • Attorney General Gonzales launches Project Safe Childhood, aimed at ending internet-based child sexual exploitation. This nationwide project creates locally designed partnerships of federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies together with community leaders to develop a coordinated strategy to prevent, investigate, and prosecute sexual predators, abusers, and pornographers who target children. All U.S. attorneys are charged with taking the lead in designing a strategic plan for their community. 
  • The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decides Kenna v. U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, in which the court considered whether the Crime Victims’ Rights Act portion of the Justice for All Act gave victims the right to speak at sentencing hearings. The case involved a father and son who swindled dozens of victims. The defendants pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. More than 60 victims submitted victim impact statements. At the father’s sentencing hearing, several victims spoke about the effects of the crimes, but at the son’s sentencing, the judge refused to allow the victims to speak. The court held that the district judge had made a mistake, and made three key points: (1) in passing the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, it was the intent of Congress to allow victims to speak at sentencing hearings, not just to submit victim impact statements; (2) victims have a right to speak even if there is more than one criminal sentencing; and (3) the remedy for a crime victim denied the right to speak at a sentencing hearing is to have the sentence vacated and a new sentencing hearing held in which the victims are allowed to speak. 
  • DOJ issues its final rule implementing the new International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program (ITVERP). This new federally administered program extends crime victim compensation to American victims of terrorism abroad, reimbursing them for direct, out-of-pocket expenses resulting from an act of terror.
  • President Bush signs the Older Americans Act Reauthorization (OAA), which includes victim-related provisions. It requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop a long-term plan for a national response to elder abuse; improves access to programs and services under OAA by addressing the needs of older individuals with limited English proficiency; promotes multidisciplinary responses by states and Indian Tribes to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation; and preserves the long-term care ombudsman program. 


  • For the first time ever, Crime Victims Fund deposits surpass $1 billion (totaling $1.02 billion).
  • Attorney General Gonzales and Federal Trade Commission Chair Deborah Platt Majoras release the President’s Identity Theft Task Force strategic plan to combat identity theft. Task force recommendations include reducing the unnecessary use of Social Security numbers by federal agencies, establishing national standards requiring private entities to safeguard the personal data they compile and to notify consumers of any breach that poses a significant risk of identity theft, implementing a consumer awareness campaign, and creating a National Identity Theft Law Enforcement Center to coordinate law enforcement efforts and information to improve the investigation and prosecution of identity thieves. 
  • OVC makes the first payments of the ITVERP program to U.S. victims of international acts of terrorism, including victims of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; the October 2002 Bali, Indonesia, nightclub bombing; the May 2003 bombing of expatriate housing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and the 2003 airport bombing in Davao City, Philippines. 
  • House and Senate resolutions establishing September 25 as the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims coincide with the first annual national event held on Capitol Hill. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $896 million. 
  • President Bush signs into law the Identity Theft Enhancement and Restitution Act as part of the Former Vice President Protection Act of 2008. This legislation permits courts to order restitution for cybercrime victims for the costs associated with identity theft, including the loss of time and money spent restoring their credit record. 
  • OVC releases two guides on the rights of victims of perpetrators with mental illness, a long underserved victim population. Responding to People Who Have Been Victimized by Individuals with Mental Illnesses sets out the steps policymakers, advocates, mental health professionals, and others can take to understand and protect the rights and safety of these crime victims. A Guide to the Role of Crime Victims in Mental Health Courts offers practical recommendations for mental health court practitioners about how to engage crime victims in case proceedings. Both publications were developed by the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center. 
  • Congress passes the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008, which amends the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. This legislation extends funding for various programs to serve homeless youth, including programs to prevent the sexual abuse of youth. It includes a requirement for regular statistical reports on the problem. 
  • OVC releases the Resource Guide for Serving U.S. Citizens Victimized Abroad, an online guide to help U.S.- based victim service providers deliver comprehensive and effective services to victims of overseas crime. The guide helps service providers access resources abroad and in the United States. 
  • The Government Accountability Office releases a report on the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act. The report makes a number of recommendations for improving the implementation of the act, including making efforts to increase victims’ awareness of mechanisms for enforcing their rights, restructuring the complaint investigation process to promote greater independence and impartiality of investigators, and identifying performance measures regarding victims’ rights. 
  • President Bush signs legislation requiring the DOJ to develop and implement a National Strategy on Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, to improve the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, to increase resources for regional computer forensic labs, and to make other improvements to increase the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute child predators. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $1.75 billion. 
  • BJS releases the first national statistics on the prevalence of stalking in America. Stalking Victimization in the United States finds that 3.4 million persons identified themselves as victims of stalking in a 12-month period. 
  • President Barack Obama signs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which includes supplemental funding for crime victim assistance and compensation, STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women formula grants, and transitional housing programs for domestic violence victims. 
  • President Obama issues the first White House Proclamation of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 
  • President Obama names Lynn Rosenthal to the newly created position of White House advisor on violence against women. 
  • Congress passes and the president signs the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, expanding federal fraud laws to cover mortgage fraud, additional forms of securities fraud, and certain money laundering; and authorizing additional funding for investigation and prosecution of such fraud. The new law also establishes a Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to examine the causes of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States and present its findings to the president and Congress in 2010. 
  • President Obama and the House of Representatives recognize the 15th anniversary of the passage of VAWA through a presidential proclamation and House resolution. 
  • BJS releases the first national report on crimes against persons with disabilities, based on the National Crime Victimization Survey. The report finds that the rate of nonfatal violent crime against persons with disabilities was 1.5 times higher than the rate for persons without disabilities. The report fulfilled the mandate of the Crime Victims with Disabilities Awareness Act. 
  • DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention releases a report on a national survey on children’s exposure to violence, the most comprehensive survey to date on this issue. The report includes findings regarding children’s direct and indirect exposure to specific categories of violence, how exposure to violence changes as children grow up, and the prevalence and incidence of multiple and cumulative exposures to violence. 
  • President Obama establishes the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force—comprising more than 20 agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners—to examine mortgage fraud, Ponzi schemes, tax fraud, predatory lending, credit card fraud, and more. Its goal is to improve efforts to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, recover proceeds for victims, and address financial discrimination in the lending and financial markets. 
  • Congress passes and the president signs the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The act extends the definition of federal hate crimes to include crimes based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability; authorizes the attorney general to provide assistance to state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting hate crimes; and amends the Hate Crimes Statistics Act to include crimes motivated by gender and gender identity, as well as hate crimes committed by and against juveniles.


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $2.4 billion. 
  • The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force launches StopFraud.gov, which combines resources from federal agencies on ways consumers can protect themselves from fraud and report fraudulent activity. It also includes information about the task force activities.
  • President Obama signs the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, legislation that mandates that cruise ship personnel promptly report serious crime on board ships to both the FBI and the U.S. Coast Guard, requires the cruise industry to comply with certain security provisions, and requires ships to be equipped with a video surveillance system and maintain a log book to record reporting of deaths, missing individuals, thefts, and other crimes. 
  • President Obama signs the Tribal Law and Order Act, designed to increase Tribal law enforcement agencies’ power to combat crime on reservations and to increase the accountability of federal agencies responsible for public safety in Indian Country. The act requires federal prosecutors to keep data on criminal cases in Indian Country that they decline to prosecute and to support prosecutions in Tribal court by sharing evidence. It also increases the maximum sentence that a Tribal court can impose from one to three years in prison, expands training of Tribal law enforcement officers on handling domestic violence and sexual assault cases, calls for standardized protocols for investigating and prosecuting sexual assault, and provides Tribal police greater access to criminal history databases. 
  • DOJ releases its first National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, designed to increase coordination among the Nation’s investigators, better train investigators and prosecutors, advance law enforcement’s technological capabilities, and enhance research to inform decisions on deterrence, incarceration, and monitoring. The strategy also includes a renewed commitment to public awareness and community outreach. The effort includes relaunching Project Safe Childhood, which marshals federal, state, Tribal, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who exploit children via the internet, and to identify and rescue victims. 
  • President Obama signs the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010, which includes a requirement that the Coast Guard submit an annual report to Congress on sexual assaults involving members of the Coast Guard. 
  • President Obama signs the Elder Justice Act, the first comprehensive legislation to address the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults at the federal level. The law authorizes a variety of programs and initiatives to better coordinate federal responses to elder abuse, promote elder justice research and innovation, support Adult Protective Services systems, and provide additional protections for residents of long-term care facilities. The Elder Justice Act establishes the Elder Justice Coordinating Committee to coordinate activities related to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation across the federal government. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total nearly $2 billion. 
  • President Obama issues the first White House proclamation of National Stalking Awareness Month. The president calls on all Americans to learn to recognize the signs of stalking, acknowledge stalking as a serious crime, and urge victims not to be afraid to speak out or ask for help. 
  • President Obama signs the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to provide health benefits for those who suffered health injuries from living or working near the site of the collapsed World Trade Center or for first responders and cleanup workers at any of the sites of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It also extends the 9/11 victims’ compensation fund for five years to allow the filing of new claims related to health injuries associated with debris removal at the crash sites. 
  • President Obama signs the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, which strengthens the military’s response to sexual assault by requiring the development of a comprehensive policy for sexual assault prevention and response and issues standards to evaluate the effectiveness of prevention and response programs in each military branch. 
  • OVC launches Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services, an initiative to expand the vision and impact of the crime victim services field. 
  • President Obama signs the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act, which requires the Peace Corps to develop a comprehensive sexual assault policy, create an Office of Victim Advocacy and a Sexual Assault Advisory Council, and institute volunteer training on sexual assault, risk reduction, and response. 
  • President Obama signs the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which includes provisions to prevent and respond to military sexual assault. The act ensures that members and dependents who are victims of sexual assault have access to legal assistance and sexual assault advocates, whether the victim chooses unrestricted or confidential reporting of the assault. The act also calls for timely action on a sexual assault victim’s application for consideration of a change of station or unit to reduce the possibility of retaliation for reporting the assault, requires the development of training in sexual assault prevention and response, and makes other related changes. 
  • Attorney General Eric H. Holder revises and reissues the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance, the standards for officers and employees of DOJ investigative, prosecutorial, correctional, and parole components in the treatment of victims of and witnesses to crime. The revisions clarify DOJ’s responsibilities to provide mandated rights and services enumerated in the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and the Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act, as well as other statutory requirements. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $2.79 billion.
  • Congress passes and President Obama signs the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011, removing the requirement of Senate confirmation for 170 executive positions, including that of the OVC director. 
  • Attorney General Eric H. Holder revises and reissues the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance to include guidelines that examine the unique requirements of vulnerable victims, including an update to address the scope of the federal child abuse reporting requirement under section 13031 of the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990.
  • BJS, with funding from OVC, embarks on a landmark three-year research study on the victimization of persons with disabilities who are in institutional settings. 
  • Attorney General Holder releases a final rule to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse in confinement facilities, in accordance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. This landmark rule sets national standards for four categories of facilities: adult prisons and jails, lockups, community confinement facilities, and juvenile facilities. The rule is the first-ever federal effort to set standards aimed at protecting inmates in all such facilities at the federal, state, and local levels. Highlights include access to free forensic medical exams for all victims of sexual abuse and access to a victim advocate from a rape crisis center. 
  • The Unified Crime Report (UCR) definition of rape changes to include any gender of victim or perpetrator, as well as instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol or because of age). The UCR definition is used by the FBI to collect information from local law enforcement agencies about reported rapes. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $8.95 billion. 
  • OVC releases the final report of its Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services initiative. The report creates a framework for addressing the challenges for the victim services field, making recommendations in four broad categories: support for the development of research; continued strategic planning in the victim assistance field; ensuring the statutory, policy, and programmatic flexibility necessary to address enduring and emerging crime victim issues; and expanding the field’s capacity to meet the demands of the 21st century. 
  • Congress passes and President Obama signs the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA 2013). The measure expands protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender survivors; Native American and Native Alaskan survivors; and teens and young adults. The reauthorization allows grant funds to be used to develop and promote legislation and policies that enhance best practices for responding to violence against women. It adds stalking to several grant programs, including Grants to Encourage Arrests, and to campus safety provisions for the first time. It ensures that sexual assault victims do not incur the cost of forensic exams by requiring jurisdictions to provide exams to victims free of charge and without any out-of-pocket expense (rather than victims being reimbursed after paying the cost themselves, permissible previously). The law also, for the first time, provides that Tribes will be able to exercise their sovereign power to investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence non-Indians who assault Indian spouses or dating partners or violate a protection order in Indian Country. 
  • Included in VAWA 2013 is the SAFER Act, which requires DOJ to ensure that at least 75 percent of the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant funds are used to analyze backlogged sexual assault kits and expand the capacity of labs to test such evidence. It allows Debbie Smith grants to be used to conduct audits of untested sexual assault kits in law enforcement custody, as well as untested kits held by labs. It also requires that protocols for the effective processing of DNA evidence be established within 18 months. 
  • The Trafficking Victims Protection Act Reauthorization is also adopted as part of VAWA 2013. Along with reauthorizing important grant programs, the law makes it a crime to destroy, conceal, or confiscate someone’s passport for more than 48 hours for the purpose of smuggling or controlling that person. It also requires that state plans for foster care and adoption assistance include prevention measures and responses to the trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. 
  • Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel releases a memo directing the immediate implementation of various measures to strengthen the military’s sexual assault prevention and response programs. Victim-related measures include creating a program to provide legal representation to sexual assault victims throughout the justice process, providing commanders with options to assign or transfer a service member accused of committing sexual assault, and changing the Manual for Courts-Martial to allow victims to give input to the post-trial action phase of courts-martial. 
  • OVC releases updated regulations for the VOCA Assistance formula grants. The new regulations are designed to increase the effectiveness of such funding by increasing flexibility, reducing the administrative burden related to the funding, broadening the types of services that can be funded, drawing attention to previously underserved populations of victims, and supporting the training of volunteers who provide direct services to victims. 


  • Crime Victims’ Fund deposits total $3.59 billion. 
  • President Obama signs the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, which contains numerous reforms to address sexual assault in the military, including requiring independent review of decisions not to refer charges for trial and limiting command discretion to modify court-martial findings, removing the statute of limitations on sexual assault, creating a special victims’ counsel to provide independent legal assistance to sexual assault victims, implementing anti-retaliation policies for victims who report sexual assault, and allowing victims to apply for a permanent change of station or unit transfer. 
  • The White House announces the release of the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States. The plan outlines steps federal agencies will take to identify all victims of human trafficking and implement a victim services network that is comprehensive, trauma-informed, and responsive. 
  • In January 2014, the White House Council on Women and Girls releases Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action, a report that analyzes the most recent data on rape and sexual assault in the United States. It identifies who is at risk of victimization, examines the cost of sexual violence (to both survivors and communities), and outlines the criminal justice response. The report describes the steps that the administration has taken to combat rape and sexual assault and provides recommendations for further action. 
  • Under a provision of VAWA 2013, DOJ selects three American Indian Tribes for a pilot program to extend criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country. VAWA 2013 recognizes that Tribes have a right to exercise special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction over certain defendants, regardless of their Indian or non-Indian status, who commit acts of domestic or dating violence in Indian Country. This provision takes effect in 2015, but the pilot project allows selected Tribes to begin exercising special jurisdiction sooner. 
  • President Obama issues a Presidential Memorandum to establish the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to share best practices to increase transparency, enforcement, public awareness, and interagency coordination to prevent violence and support victims of sexual assault on college campuses. In April, the task force releases its first report, Not Alone, which provides recommendations to school administrators. 

    President Obama signs the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 2013, which directs the U.S. attorney general to issue a state-by-state report on child abuse laws within six months, with a particular focus on penalties for cases of severe child abuse. The law also amends the federal criminal code to enhance penalties for child abuse committed by habitual offenders.
  • President Obama launches the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and to ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. The initiative comprises six milestones, the last one being “Keeping Kids on Track and Giving Them Second Chances.” A key goal of this milestone is to address the overrepresentation of African American and Latino men in the criminal and juvenile justice systems and reduce the rates of violence and victimization for all young people. 
  • Congress appropriates funding to implement some of the recommendations in Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services. For the first time ever, OVC makes awards to support initiatives such as capacity building at the state level and access to services for American citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents at the national and international level through innovative technology. 
  • President Obama signs the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2014. This act directs the secretary of state to report annually to Congress on international child abduction cases and ensure that U.S. diplomatic and consular missions properly report these abduction cases. The secretary of state will also establish memoranda of understanding with countries that are unlikely to join the Hague Abduction Convention and advise the president on countries that do not cooperate in or fail to resolve abduction cases. 
  • President Obama signs the Victims of Child Abuse Reauthorization Act of 2013. This act authorizes appropriations for children’s advocacy centers and the development of multidisciplinary child abuse investigation and prosecution programs. Additionally, the act authorizes appropriations to national organizations that provide technical assistance and training to attorneys and professionals working with the criminal prosecution of child abuse cases. 
  • President Obama is joined by Vice President Joe Biden, leaders from institutions of higher education, media companies, grassroots organizations, and celebrities to launch the “It’s on Us” public service campaign, which includes a personal commitment to help keep men and women safe from sexual assault. It is a pledge not to be a bystander, but to be part of the solution, to recognize that nonconsensual sex is sexual assault, to identify situations in which sexual assault may occur, to intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, and to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported. The “It’s on Us” campaign raises awareness about the problem of sexual assault on college campuses and invites everyone to be part of the solution. 

    President Obama signs the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, which requires states to develop policies and procedures to identify, document, screen, and determine appropriate services for children in foster care who are victims of, or at risk of, sex trafficking. The act also mandates data collection and reporting by states and establishes a National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States to advise on policies for improving the Nation’s response to the sex trafficking of children and youth. 


  • Crime Victims’ Fund deposits total $2.64 billion. 
  • President Obama signs the Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which releases $2.36 billion from VOCA, almost quadruple the amount of funding released in 2014. 
  • President Obama signs the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. This legislation contains a variety of provisions aimed at improving the response to victims of trafficking, including establishing the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund; providing grant funds to enhance services for runaway and homeless victims; creating the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking; and improving training for law enforcement, health professionals, and other service providers who work with trafficking victims. The act also expressly recognizes child pornography production as a form of human trafficking. 
  • The White House releases the Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States: Fiscal Years 2013–2014. This status report documents the progress of federal agencies during Fiscal Years 2013–2014 to ensure that all victims of human trafficking in the United States are identified and have access to the services they need to recover. OVC serves as a co-chair in the Federal Strategic Action Plan’s development, along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families and the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign. 
  • The White House convenes the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. Held once each decade to reflect on issues affecting America’s seniors, the conference includes a focus on elder justice to address elder financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect and announces numerous federal efforts involving research, reporting, training, outreach, and more. 
  • DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women announces the launch of The Center for Changing Our Campus Culture, an online clearinghouse of resources related to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on campus. This website provides the latest information, materials, and resources for campus administrators, faculty, and staff, as well as campus and community law enforcement, victim service providers, students, parents, and other key stakeholders. 
  • In coordination with the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance and DOJ’s Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism, OVC announces the release of Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resources. This online toolkit is designed to help jurisdictions implement a comprehensive, victim-centered response to incidents of mass violence by developing victim assistance protocols, addressing gaps in resources, and creating and maintaining partnerships with stakeholders. 
  • The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault releases a resource guide to support students, faculty, administrators, and communities around the country in preventing sexual violence and improving the response to violence at colleges and universities. The resource guide compiles guidance, tools, model policies and procedures, training and technical assistance, funding opportunities, and public messaging materials. The task force also releases a sample memorandum of understanding to assist campuses and law enforcement agencies in working together to protect students and address the needs of sexual assault survivors.
  • OVC, in partnership with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, releases the supporting Male Survivors of Violence Demonstration Initiative, designed to enhance and support trauma-informed systems of care for male crime victims and, in particular, boys and young men of color. The initiative seeks to strengthen victim service providers’ knowledge and skills to produce innovative programs and practices that foster a better understanding among criminal and juvenile justice systems, and guide service providers regarding the rights and needs of these boys and young men. 
  • DOJ, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launch a federal Domestic Violence and Housing Technical Assistance Consortium to provide national training, technical assistance, and resource development on domestic violence and housing. The consortium supports national training and technical assistance awards to develop resources and foster increased collaboration among domestic violence and homeless service providers to better address the critical housing needs of victims of domestic violence and their children.
  • President Obama signs the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, which provides special victims counsel to victims of sexual assault, including noncivilian U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) employees. The act also requires standardized training for these counsels, anti-retaliation and privacy protections for victims, and victim notification of the availability of such counsel. The act also directs DoD to develop a plan to improve its response to sexual assaults against male employees. 
  • DOJ releases Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. This guidance is accompanied by a roundtable discussion and report, which provide recommendations from key stakeholders on improving the law enforcement response to victims of sexual violence, especially in vulnerable populations. 
  • President Obama signs the Consolidated Appropriations Act. This legislation reauthorizes the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides health benefits and compensation to individuals who were injured or killed in 9/11 rescue and recovery efforts and includes the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund as well. The Act also establishes the Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund to pay civil judgments against certain foreign state sponsors of terrorism. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $1.48 billion. 
  • The White House announces a set of executive actions to address gun violence. Those actions include expanding and bolstering the background check system to cover certain sales that take place online and at gun shows, supporting research into firearm safety technology, and providing more funding for mental health treatment, FBI staff, and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 
  • The Bureau of Justice Statistics releases the Campus Climate Survey Validation Study, This report presents the results of a nine-school assessment of undergraduate sexual victimization, including estimates of the prevalence of sexual assault, rape, and sexual battery during the 2014–2015 academic year. 
  • OVC launches an initiative to reduce language barriers for underserved victims. The two-pronged approach addresses training and technical assistance for victim service providers and enhances OVC’s ability to incorporate language access into its programs. 
  • The Office on Violence Against Women releases the National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations, Pediatric (Pediatric SAFE Protocol). This protocol provides specific guidance on forensic medical examinations and outlines the need for a coordinated community response to sexual assault investigations. 
  • DOJ’s National Institute of Justice publishes its research report, Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men, which examines the prevalence of intimate partner and sexual violence and the impact of such violence on local communities. The study found that four in five American Indian and Alaska Native adults have been victims of violence. 
  • President Obama signs the Native American Children’s Safety Act, providing protections for Native American children in foster care, including requiring that Tribes establish systems for criminal background checks and for accessing Tribal and state registries before placements. 
  • The White House convenes the first United State of Women summit to examine issues of gender equality, including violence against women. 
  • OVC publishes a final rule to implement the victim assistance formula grant program authorized by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984. This rule codifies and updates existing program guidelines to reflect statutory and policy changes since 1984. The final rule provides greater flexibility for state use of VOCA funds to support a continuum of victim services, including comprehensive legal assistance, transitional housing, relocation, forensic interviews, and medical examinations. It also clarifies support for underserved victims and eliminates a previous restriction against using VOCA funds to serve victims in detention and correctional facilities. 
  • OVW announces more than $3.2 million to help communities prevent domestic violence homicides. These funds will go to programs that seek to improve the criminal justice system’s response to victims and that provide technical assistance and training. OVW also announces the addition of Miami and Winnebago counties in Illinois as replication sites for the evidence based Lethality Assessment Program model, which encourages victims to access domestic violence support and shelter services. 
  • DOJ releases the 2016 National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction. The strategy provides a comprehensive assessment of the nature and scope of crimes against children, including child pornography, sextortion, live streaming of child sexual abuse, child sex trafficking, child sex tourism, and sex offense registry violations. The report also includes a section on the unique challenges faced in Indian Country. 
  • Together, OVW and OVC award 10 grants totaling $9.85 million to various national and local organizations to help implement DOJ’s Guidance on Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. The grants fund enhanced training and technical assistance across the nation, research and evaluation, and implementation resources for law enforcement agencies. 
  • OVW announces the launch of the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center website, Safer Families, Safer Communities. The website is part of a newly established resource center that supports implementing and enforcing firearm restrictions on domestic violence perpetrators to reduce domestic-violence-related crimes involving firearms, particularly homicide. 
  • President Obama signs the Survivors’ Bill of Rights on October 7, 2016, which ensures that sexual assault survivors who fall under federal jurisdiction have access to sexual assault forensic exams and information about the testing and results of that evidence. The law allows survivors to request that their kits be stored until the statute of limitations expires. 
  • The U.S. Department of Defense releases The DoD Plan to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Assault of Military Men. Under this plan, the department will convene a working group to address four objectives: developing an outreach plan, increasing understanding of how men experience assault, tailoring support services and health care to better meet men’s needs, and developing metrics to track the plan’s progress. 
  • Congress reauthorizes the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act (first passed in 2007), which obligates DOJ and, specifically, the FBI to examine the investigation and prosecution of criminal civil rights statute violations that resulted in a death prior to 1980. Previously, the act pertained only to fatal statute violations prior to 1970. All authorities with jurisdiction are called to coordinate, share, and discuss information pertaining to the act with civil rights organizations, institutions of higher education, and DOJ entities; support the full accounting of all victims; hold perpetrators of racially motivated crimes accountable; keep families regularly informed about the investigation’s status; and develop a public repository of related documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act. 
  • President Obama signs the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016. This wide-reaching legislation increases access to restitution, reauthorizes victim-notification grants, reduces the rape-kit backlog by allocating funds for testing and auditing kits, and defrays costs associated with DNA testing after conviction. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $6.58 billion. 
  • DOJ announces the Justice Department’s National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, as required by the 2015 Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. The national strategy sets out a plan to improve coordination within DOJ and develop strategies within each federal district to end human trafficking. 
  • The National Census of Victim Service Providers (NCVSP) is the first-ever national count of all programs responding to victims and survivors of crime and abuse, providing the most comprehensive picture of the victim services field to date by identifying the size and scope of the field. Funded by OVC and BJS, the NCVSP will capture basic information about the field, help reveal gaps and opportunities, and result in the first national all-inclusive list of active victim service providers. 
  • The Safe Housing Partnerships website, a product of the Domestic Violence and Housing Technical Assistance Consortium, launches to provide useful resources and tools that support victim advocates and providers at the critical intersection of domestic violence, sexual assault, homelessness, and housing. Funded and supported by an unprecedented partnership between DOJ, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, this multiyear consortium brings together national, state, and local organizations to collaboratively build and strengthen technical assistance for both housing/ homelessness providers and domestic violence service providers. 
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces the creation of the U.S. Department of Justice Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. Members are from DOJ agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 
  • OVC releases the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit to help victim service providers and first responders build resilient staff. The toolkit is based on research showing that vicarious trauma, left unaddressed, results in poorer quality response to victims and contributes to staff burnout and turnover. The toolkit helps agencies assess their current capacity as a vicarious trauma-informed organization and then take steps to address gaps. 
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement establishes the Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement office to acknowledge and serve the needs of crime victims and their families who have been affected by crimes committed by individuals with a nexus to immigration. 
  • DOJ announces the National Public Safety Partnership, a new initiative to fight crime by pledging existing federal resources to 12 cities: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Birmingham, Alabama; Buffalo, New York; Cincinnati and Toledo, Ohio; Houston, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jackson and Memphis, Tennessee; Kansas City, Missouri; Lansing, Michigan; and Springfield, Illinois. The partnership provides a framework to enhance federal support for local jurisdictions in reducing gang and gun violence. 
  • The National Institute of Justice releases National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach, developed in response to the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting Act of 2013. This report, developed by a multidisciplinary working group, focuses on a victim-centered approach to collecting DNA evidence in sexual assault cases. It includes 35 recommendations for law enforcement, medical providers, victim advocates, prosecutors, and laboratories. 
  • DOJ announces more than $47 million in funding to combat human trafficking and provide services for victims of human trafficking nationwide. 
  • Congress passes, and the president signs, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act, which requires the designation of Elder Justice Coordinators in federal judicial districts at DOJ, implementation of elder abuse training for FBI agents, and establishment of a working group that advises on policy. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits totaled $444.8 million. 
  • President Donald Trump signs the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. Amending the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990, this law protects minor and amateur athletes who compete in organizations recognized by the International Olympic Committee. 
  • The U.S. Department of Defense Safe Helpline expands its resources by creating a new website, an app, and two online, anonymous, self-paced education programs: How to Support a Survivor and Safe Helpline 101. The helpline provides visitors and callers with information on sexual assault and advice on how to understand and cope with it. 
  • DOJ announces a nationwide rollout of an initiative to increase awareness and reporting of sexual harassment in housing. The initiative includes a task force between DOJ and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to implement three major components of the initiative: a shared strategy for combating sexual harassment in housing across the country, an outreach toolkit, and a public awareness campaign. 
  • Congress passes, and the president signs, the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act, which permits Tribal AMBER Alert systems to be integrated into statewide systems and makes Native American Tribes eligible for AMBER Alert grants.
  • DOJ and the U.S. Department of Agriculture form a working group on reducing elder abuse and financial exploitation in Tribal and rural areas. 
  • The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018, (P.L. 115-141) includes a 3 percent set-aside from the Crime Victims Fund for American Indian Tribes to improve services to victims of crime. In Fiscal Year 2018, the set-aside was $133 million. Tribes, Tribal consortia, and Tribal designees are eligible to receive awards. 
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions establishes the DOJ Cyber-Digital Task Force to canvass how DOJ is combating the global cyber threat. The task force releases its first report in July 2018.
  • The FBI releases its annual Crime in the United States Report, part of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, revealing that the nationwide rate of crime decreased in 2017, after increases in 2015 and 2016. 
  • DOJ announces $35 million in funding to support law enforcement agencies in combating the illegal manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine, heroin, and prescription opioids, and another $35 million to establish new programs to provide services for child victims of the opioid crisis. The latter is funded under OVC’s Enhancing Community Responses to the Opioid Crisis: Serving Our Youngest Crime Victims program and includes awards to 41 sites and a technical assistance provider, totaling $29.8 million to help youth impacted by the opioid crisis. 
  • DOJ launches a new hate crimes website to provide a centralized portal for the Department’s hate crimes resources for law enforcement, media representatives, researchers, victims, advocacy groups, and other related organizations and individuals. 


  • Crime Victims Fund deposits total $495 million.
  • OVC releases National TeleNursing Center (NTC) Sustainability, an evaluation of the sustainability and possible expansion of the OVC-funded NTC. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health implemented the NTC sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) program to develop and evaluate telemedicine for providing consultation to SANE nurses conducting forensic sexual assault medical examinations in remote and underserved hospitals. The OVC-sponsored report presents and evaluates three core themes of sustainability: building capacity for sustainability, building capacity for technical assistance, and building sustainability through nursing scholarship and leadership. It also identifies some of the unique challenges facing NTC expansion, including interstate licensing requirements; differing procedures, protocols, and policies for testing evidence kits, as well as differences in evidence kits themselves; and general financial sustainability of the programs. 
  • The American Bar Association, with funding support from OVC, releases an update to the 2005 Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams: A Replication Manual to guide communities interested in establishing elder abuse fatality review teams to examine deaths caused by or related to elder abuse. This document was updated to include information on the criteria and selection of cases for review, confidentiality practices, preventing “blame and shame,” and a comparison of 27 categories of professionals serving as team members. 
  • President Trump proclaims May 3 as the first Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day to draw attention to acts of violence committed against American Indian and Alaska Native people, particularly women and children. 
  • Attorney General William P. Barr declares a law enforcement emergency in rural Alaska under the Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Program, making $6 million immediately available for critical law enforcement needs of Alaska Native villages, including the hiring, equipping, and training of village public safety officers and Tribal police officers working in rural Alaska, and for mobile detention facilities. In addition, the DOJ Office on Community Oriented Policing Services awards $4.5 million for 20 officer positions, along with equipment and training, to Alaska Native grantees, and the DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance makes $162,000 available to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to establish an additional Project Safe Neighborhoods target site encompassing rural Alaska. 
  • Recognizing that Alaska has the highest per-capita crime rate in the country and the unique circumstances of Alaska’s geographical and jurisdictional landscape, Attorney General Barr announces a Rural Alaska Violent Crime Reduction Working Group. The working group will look for ways to build the capacity of federal, state, and Tribal law enforcement in rural Alaska, with a particular emphasis on crimes of domestic violence and crimes against children. 
  • Congress approves, and the president signs into law, the Supporting and Treating Officers In Crisis Act of 2019, which amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to expand support for police officer family services, including care for stress reduction, suicide prevention, mental health programs, and other purposes. The bill reauthorizes $7.5 million annually (for Fiscal Years 2020–2024) for grant programs to provide training and technical assistance to support law enforcement officers and their families. This includes specialized training for identifying, reporting, and responding to officer mental health crises and suicide. 
  • Congress approves, and the president signs into law, the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. This bill funds through Fiscal Year 2092 the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001. Additionally, the bill modifies the Victim Compensation Fund to allow claims to be fled until October 2090, to require that its policies and procedures be reassessed at least once every five years (currently, at least once annually), to require claimants to be paid for the amount by which a claim was reduced on the basis of insufficient funding, to remove the cap on noneconomic damages in certain circumstances, and to periodically adjust the annual limit on economic-loss compensation for inflation. It also provides statutory authority for the attorney general to appoint a special master and up to two deputy special masters to administer the Victim Compensation Fund. 
  • DOJ announces more than $274 million in funding to improve public safety and serve crime victims in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, including a $167.2 million set-aside for the Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside Program. Under this program, OVC directly awards nearly $107.3 million to 175 applicants to help Tribes develop, expand, and improve services to victims of crime. Set-aside funds are also awarded to Tribal communities to address specific gaps in victim services, and for substantial training and technical assistance. 
  • President Trump establishes the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice to study ways to reduce crime and restore the public’s confidence in law enforcement. The commission will examine how certain social conditions affect law enforcement’s ability to police; ways to improve officer recruitment, training, and retention; major issues facing rural and Tribal law enforcement; issues affecting the physical safety and mental health of police officers; methodologies, techniques, and targeted deterrence strategies to reduce crime. 
  • OVC releases What We Know About Identity Theft and Fraud Victims From Research- and Practice-Based Evidence. The OVC-sponsored report summarizes the findings from research and practice on victimization due to identity theft and fraud and identifies research gaps that should be filled to improve the Nation’s response to identity fraud and other fraud victimization. 
  • BJS releases Victim Service Providers in the United States, 2017, which provides statistics from the National Census of Victim Service Providers, the first national data collection on the number and characteristics of these organizations. The report describes the types of organizations that serve victims, maps their locations, and reports on the rate of victim service providers per 100,000 U.S. residents by state. The census was conducted by BJS with support from OVC. 
  • President Trump establishes the Task Force on Missing or Murdered Native Americans and Alaska Natives to develop protocols for new and unsolved cases, form multijurisdictional cold case teams, establish greater clarity of roles and responsibilities, and facilitate better coordination and collaboration with Tribal communities, resulting in long-term strategies to address complex issues. 
  • Congress approves, and the president signs into law, the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2019, which reauthorizes grants that support state and local efforts to process DNA evidence in rape kits. Specifically, the law reauthorizes through Fiscal Year 2024 the following: grants under the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program; grants to provide DNA training and education for law enforcement personnel, corrections personnel, and court officers; and grants under the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Program. 

  • On January 30, President Trump signs the Executive Order on Combating Human Trafficking and Online Child Exploitation in the United States. The executive order expands prevention education programs, promotes housing opportunities for survivors, makes removing child sexual abuse material from the Internet a priority, improves methodologies for estimating the prevalence of human trafficking, and creates a website listing all federal resources for combating trafficking. 
  • DOJ launches the National Elder Fraud Hotline to help combat fraud against older Americans and provide services to victims. The hotline connects callers age 60 and older with a caseworker who can assist them with reporting a crime and connect them with other resources, as needed. 
  • Congress authorizes a Tribal set-aside from the Crime Victims Fund to provide funding to improve services for victims of crime in Tribal communities. Under this program, OVC directly awards more than $112 million to help Tribes develop, expand, and improve services for victims of crime and other public safety initiatives by providing funding, programming, and technical assistance. 
  • DOJ announces more than $35 million in funding to provide safe, stable housing and appropriate services for victims of human trafficking through the first OVC grant program focused on transitional housing. The program provides transitional and short-term housing assistance for trafficking victims, and offers the support needed to help victims locate permanent housing, secure employment, and obtain occupational training and counseling. 
  • In July 2020, OJP announces the consolidation of its law enforcement, juvenile justice, and victim services human trafficking initiatives into a new Human Trafficking Division within OVC. This consolidation better aligns funding, training, assistance, and other resources to bring traffickers to justice and serve trafficking victims. 
  • In August 2020, DOJ announces the establishment of a new Tribal Division within OVC to ensure that the office is appropriately staffed to serve American Indian and Alaska Native communities by streamlining the distribution and management of Tribal grant awards. 
  • In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, OVC launches the Represent Resilience art initiative, a virtual display of original artwork by survivors, advocates, and anti-trafficking professionals across the country. 
  • On October 10, 2020, Congress passes, and the president signs into law, Savanna’s Act, which directs DOJ to review, revise, and develop law enforcement and justice protocols to address the crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans. The bill requires DOJ to conduct specific outreach to Tribes, Tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations; develop regionally appropriate guidelines for responding to cases of missing or murdered Native Americans; provide training and technical assistance to Tribes and law enforcement agencies on how to implement the new guidelines; and report statistics on missing or murdered Native Americans. 
  • On October 10, 2020, Congress passes, and the president signs into law, the Not Invisible Act of 2019, which promotes the coordination of efforts to reduce violent crime within Indian Country and against Native Americans. The new law mandates the coordination of prevention efforts, grants, and programs related to missing, murdered, and trafficked Native Americans; establishment of a joint commission on violent crime within Indian Country and against Native Americans; and recommendations for identifying, reporting, and responding to instances of missing persons, murder, and human trafficking. 
  • On October 17, 2020, Congress passes, and the president signs into law, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020, which designates 988 as the universal telephone number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. Under the bill, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services must develop a strategy for providing access to competent, specialized services for high-risk populations such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth; minorities; and individuals in rural areas. 
  • On October 30, 2020, Congress passes, and the president signs into law, the Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, and Amateur Athletes Act of 2020, which establishes safeguards to protect amateur athletes from abuse, including sexual abuse, by coaches and employees in U.S. Olympic and Paralympic sports. The bill mandates that any allegation of child abuse of an amateur athlete who is a minor be immediately reported to law enforcement. 
  • DOJ announces nearly $3 million in funding to build or enhance community responses to address the needs of victims of female genital mutilation and cutting. This grant program, the first from OJP to address this crime, also provides targeted technical assistance to educate frontline victim services providers on how to identify and serve victims and persons at risk of being victimized. 


  • On January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden signs the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, which calls on each federal agency to assess whether, and to what extent, its programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups. These assessments will better equip agencies to develop policies and programs that deliver resources and benefits equitably to all. 
  • On March 8, 2021, the president signs the Executive Order on the Establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council. The council will coordinate federal government efforts to advance gender equity and equality in domestic and foreign policy—including by promoting workplace diversity, fairness, and inclusion across the federal workforce and military—with sensitivity to the experiences of those who suffer discrimination based on multiple factors, including membership in an underserved community. 
  • The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law on March 11, 2021, allows the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to award $797.5 million to support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as their children, through COVID testing, vaccines, and mobile health units and boosted support for sexual assault service providers and culturally specific services. On May 26, 2021, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announces a comprehensive strategy for reducing violent crime. The DOJ effort establishes a set of four fundamental principles to guide violent crime reduction: build trust and earn legitimacy, invest in prevention and intervention programs, target enforcement efforts and priorities, and measure results. These principles will guide DOJ’s U.S. Attorneys’ offices, law enforcement components, grant-making components (including OVC), and litigating divisions. 
  • On June 17, 2021, OVC releases Child Victims and Witnesses Support Materials to support children and youth during their involvement with the justice system as victims and witnesses. Based on the input of national experts, the materials teach children and youth ages 2-18 how the justice system works, what their rights are, the roles of the different practitioners they’ll meet, and how they can cope with the difficult feelings they might have. The accompanying guides for practitioners and for parents and caregivers provide additional information on how to use the materials, as well as tips for supporting child victims and witnesses. 
  • On July 22, 2021, in a historic effort to stabilize the Crime Victims Fund, Congress passes, and the president signs into law, the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021. The bill requires funds collected by the federal government under deferred and non-prosecution agreements to be deposited into the Crime Victims Fund; clarifies that states may waive a requirement that victim compensation programs promote victim cooperation with law enforcement; allows or requires states to waive matching requirements for Crime Victims Fund grant funds under certain circumstances; and provides the attorney general with the authority to provide no-cost extensions to VOCA award recipients. As of October 31, 2021, deferred/non-deferred prosecution deposits into the fund totaled $224 million.
  • On August 12, 2021, OVW announces the expansion of its Firearms Technical Assistance Project to help communities across the country reduce domestic violence homicides and injuries committed with firearms. Under the project, OVW will award an estimated $6 million for up to 12 sites to implement policies, protocols, and promising practices to prevent abusers from having access to firearms in domestic violence cases, and another $4 million for training and technical assistance on firearms and domestic violence.
  • On September 20, 2021, OVC Director Kristina Rose announces the launch of the OVC Center for VOCA Administrators (the OVC VOCA Center). The center provides no-cost training and technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of VOCA Administrators to manage VOCA formula victim assistance and victim compensation funds. 
  • On September 20, 2021, OVC awards $3 million to Ujima Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community, and its partner, The National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault, to establish the very first National Center for Culturally Responsive Victim Services. The brainchild of OVC’s Communities of Color Working Group, the center will facilitate the delivery of national scale, high-quality training and technical assistance to increase access to victim services and victim compensation for victims of crime in areas that have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by inequality, including communities of color. 
  • On October 28, 2021, DOJ announces that OJP will award more than $21 million to investigate and prosecute hate crimes and assist hate crime victims. Of that, OVC awards $2 million to Futures Without Violence to strengthen the capacity of the victim services field to better support and respond to the needs of individuals and communities victimized by hate crime. OVC-administered funding will also be used to provide technical assistance to state, local, and Tribal service providers to help identify and serve hate crime victims. 
  • On October 31, 2021, BJS releases Services for Crime Victims, 2019, which presents statistics on five types of victim service providers that provided crime victims assistance in 2019: nonprofit or faith-based; governmental; hospital, medical, or emergency; campus; and Tribal. It also examines the average number of services provided, type of services most commonly provided, gaps in services, and organizations that commonly referred victims to victim service providers for assistance. 
  • In November 2021, OJP releases When a Loved One Goes Missing: Resources for Families of Missing American Indian and Alaska Native Adults. Published by the Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives (known as Operation Lady Justice), the guide provides information on steps to take in searching for a missing loved one, suggestions for how to cope with trauma and grief, information on assistance and support services, and resources for navigating this difficult situation. It also includes tips for caring for a returned loved one. 
  • On November 15, 2021, during the White House Tribal Nations Summit, DOJ announces awards made under the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS). Through CTAS, DOJ awards 137 grants totaling $73 million to 85 American Indian and Alaska Native communities to improve public safety and serve crime victims. The funds are designed to help enhance Tribal justice systems and strengthen law enforcement, improve the handling of child abuse cases, combat domestic violence, and support Tribal youth programs. 
  • On November 15, 2021, President Biden signs the Executive Order on Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People, which calls for a coordinated plan to provide more support for Tribal law enforcement agencies to develop Tribal-centric responses to crimes. The executive order also mandates the development of a strategy to analyze crime and missing persons data, along with plans to prevent violence against Indigenous people and provide more support services for survivors of violence. 
  • On December 3, 2021, the White House releases the 2021 National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which lays out a broad, multidisciplinary, government-wide approach to addressing human trafficking and its effects on survivors, their communities, and national security. The plan emphasizes the use of victim-centered and trauma-informed approaches that are necessary for success in anti-trafficking efforts. 


  • The Office for Victims of Crime awards $2 million to the National Center for Culturally Responsive Victim Services to facilitate a micro-grant program supporting victim-serving organizations in communities across the U.S. This will help victims in underserved communities access necessary services.
  • OVC awards $3.75 million to establish the National Elder Justice Coalition Center, which will offer training and technical assistance and help expand statewide elder justice coalitions. Such coalitions have historically been underfunded.
  • In 2021, OVC awards $2 million to Futures Without Violence to partner with community organizations across the U.S. to implement culturally responsive projects addressing hate crimes in underserved communities. In 2022, Futures Without Violence uses OVC’s award to fund 11 community-based groups to promote awareness, healing, reconciliation, and access to resources and to develop new approaches to address hate crimes and help survivors heal. 
  • The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act is signed into law on March 3, 2022, allowing people asserting claims of sexual harassment or assault to file suit despite the existence of a pre-dispute arbitration agreement or class or collective action wager. 
  • President Biden signs the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 into law on March 15, 2022. In addition to reauthorizing grants associated with the act until 2027, the law expands special criminal jurisdiction of Tribal courts to cover non-Native perpetrators, increases services for survivors from underserved and marginalized communities, creates a federal civil cause of action for people whose intimate images are disclosed without their consent, promotes trauma-informed, victim-centered training for law enforcement, and improves the healthcare system’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault, among other measures. 
  • President Biden signs the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022 (P.L. 117-159) into law on June 25, 2022. The law aims to reduce gun violence and includes provisions to improve mental health care and help schools get safety resources. The law extends the gun ban’s reach to intimate dating partners, closing what’s known as the “boyfriend loophole.”
  • The White House launches its Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse on June 16, 2022. The task force creates an initial blueprint, released in March 2023, with recommendations to address technology-facilitated gender-based violence through prevention, survivor support, accountability, and research. 
  • The 17th National Indian Nations Conference is held from December 6-9, 2022, at the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation in Palm Springs, California, for the first time in four years.
  • On December 6, 2022, OVC updates its Child Victims and Witness Support Materials, which offer age-appropriate resources for young people, with a set of picture books, comics, and graphic novels for children and youth from Tribal communities.
  • On December 7, 2022, the Speak Out Act is signed into law, prohibiting the judicial enforcement of a nondisclosure or non-disparagement clause agreed to before a dispute arises involving sexual assault or sexual harassment in violation of federal, Tribal, or state law.
  • In 2021, there were also some achievements for survivors that resonated well into 2022. The CARES Act included $45 million for Family Violence Prevention and Services Act Funded programs that provided emergency housing and shelter to domestic violence survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


  • On January 5, 2023, the Abolish Human Trafficking Reauthorization Act of 2022 is signed into law, authorizing aid for victims of human trafficking, grants intended to prevent trafficking, and helping child welfare agencies at the state, local, and Tribal levels identify and respond to children who are, or are at risk of being, victims of human trafficking. 
  • President Biden signed the Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 into law on January 5, 2023, creating new programs to prevent human trafficking, study the impact of social media on trafficking, help survivors, bolster law enforcement training and strengthen federal coordination, as well as reauthorizing existing programs. 
  • The Not Invisible Act Commission submitted their recommendations to the departments of Justice and the Interior and to Congress on November 1, 2023, including recommendations to:
    • Identify, report and respond to instances of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples (MMIP) cases and human trafficking;
    • Develop legislative and administrative changes necessary to use federal programs, properties, and resources to combat the crisis;
    • Track and report data on MMIP and human trafficking cases;
    • Consider issues related to the hiring and retention of law enforcement offices;
    • Coordinate Tribal-state-federal resources to combat MMIP and human trafficking offices on Indian lands; and 
    • Increase information sharing with Tribal governments on violent crimes investigations and other prosecutions on Indian lands.
  • In 2023, funding was added to the Violence Against Women Act to bolster the  Survivors’ Bill of Rights incentives program, which encourages states to ensure that survivors of sexual assault are given the same rights they have under federal law, including not having to pay for medical forensic exams and learning the results of sexual assault evidence collection kits. 
  • During a special session of the 25th Navajo Nation Council, the Navajo Nation Victim Rights Act of 2023 was enacted. The legislation will provide awareness and strengthen the rights of victims of sexual assault and rape, domestic violence, and other violent assaults.
  • The U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons released the 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report in December 2023. The report provides an overview of the state of human trafficking across the world, the tools being used to respond to the problem, and features stories of survivors as well as recommendations. 


  • The Office for Victims of Crime proposed changes to the VOCA Victim Compensation Program Guidelines. These proposed Rule changes would expand allowable services and expenses, clarify statutory program requirements, increase outreach to Tribal communities, and strengthen victim confidentiality protections. OVC published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register on February 5, 2024, opening a 60-day period for public comments.
Date Created: March 21, 2024