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SARS Clarification, VOCApedia Monthly Update, and Other November Updates

© Gary Blakeley/Shutterstock.com (see reuse policy).

A Copy of an Email Sent by Kathrina S. Peterson, OVC Acting Deputy Director, on December 17, 2019

Good Evening Administrators,

We are excited to share with you many updates from OVC. This email is long, but full of good nuggets of information for both Compensation and Assistance Administrators. Keep reading and don’t panic!

SARS Update & Clarification: We recognize that we issued conflicting instructions regarding the entry of financial data into the subgrant award report (SAR). That is, we previously instructed SAAs and sub-recipients to correct financial errors in their SARs within 30 days of noting the error. This led to many SAAs or sub-recipients attempting to update SARs after the award end date to reconcile financial data during the closeout process. Unfortunately, at this time, PMT does not allow such changes. We are working to correct this problem in future fiscal years, but for FY 2019 no updates to SARs should be made after close-out of the award. Please see the "Clarification for Victim Assistance Grantee PMT Reporting" document for a more detailed explanation.

VOCApedia: The November VOCApedia updates are now live. We received an excellent suggestion (thank you MA) to note in VOCApedia which questions are still awaiting answers, so you will see that has now been incorporated. Please also join us on Wednesday, January 29, at 1:00 p.m. for the next “FAQ” session, which is an opportunity to ask OVC and other Office of Justice Program offices questions about allowable uses of VOCA Victim Assistance funding. You can register here, and submit questions until Monday, December 23, 2019.

Santa Fe, NM, Regional Meeting Update: Many thanks to New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission’s Frank Zubia and Mary Ellen Garcia, who hosted us for an absolutely beautiful and substantively rich VOCA Victim Assistance Regional Meeting in November. Notes from this meeting are attached. We will be hosting the next VOCA Victim Assistance Regional Meeting in Spring 2020, and hope VOCA Victim Assistance Administrators will join us. More information to come.

Possible Compensation Option for Mentoring Program: The OVC TTAC-facilitated mentoring project is underway. We greatly appreciate the time and effort you are contributing to support your colleagues, and recognize a need to compensate mentors. Starting in January, approved mentors will have the option to provide consultation outside of standard work time and to be reimbursed for labor hours in addition to onsite travel expenses. In other words, there is the possibility that mentors could be paid through OVC TTAC for their work.

Mentors who want to take advantage of this opportunity will have to confirm with their agency/employer that they are operating in accordance with state and local laws, policies, and procedures before accepting outside compensation. We understand this option will not be available for all mentors and is not likely a permanent solution. Please see the "Changes to Peer Mentoring Program Announcement" for more information.

VOCA Victim Compensation Certification Forms: OVC and other offices at OJP are working hard to improve the process of reviewing and completing the Victim Compensation Certification forms. The SCAD team will begin to review the forms in early January, so that we have plenty of time to work closely with states to complete these forms. Our plan is to schedule a meeting via Webex with compensation administrators to discuss these issues. More information to come.

Upcoming Solicitations: In addition to the annual compensation and assistance formula solicitations, this year OVC anticipates issuing four other solicitations directly related to formula funding: (1) state victim liaison positions; (2) compensation assessment projects; (3) an OVC compensation fellow; and (4) targeted TTA for VOCA Victim Assistance and Compensation administrators. For more details, please see here.

Other Nuggets: Huge congratulations to OVC’s SCAD Team and Brian Sass-Hurst, who received an Assistant Attorney General Distinguished Service Award for his dedication to working with states and territories to better serve victims of crime. When recognizing Brian, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katie Sullivan said that “In an agency that depends on strict adherence to regulations, the qualities that set the pros apart are initiative and creativity.” Brian understands the applicable laws and regulations, and thinks outside of the box to elevate and support formula programming. Katie also gave Brian – along with his OVC colleagues Jalila Sebbata, Joel Hall, and Max Sinsheimer — a huge shout-out for their work on VOCApedia. Brian’s glamour shot is below.

I cannot end without a shameless plug for you to visit us when you are in Washington, D.C. We have had some great visits recently, and always look forward to seeing you, so please let us know when you are in town!

Happy Holidays everyone. All the best to you and your families.



Brian Sass-Hurst
Brian Sass-Hurst (center), receives an Assistant Attorney General Distinguished Service Award with (from left) Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katie Sullivan and former OVC Director Darlene Hutchinson


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Date Published: February 12, 2020