The U.S. Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime released more than $2.3 billion to state victim assistance and compensation programs, funding thousands of local victim assistance programs and providing millions in compensation to victims of crime. The grants are provided by the Crime Victims Fund under The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). The fund supports a broad array of programs and services. In fiscal year 2018, VOCA grants served 6.3 million victims, a 24 percent increase over the previous year, and paid more than $400 million in compensation claims. The fund is financed by fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders.
This year’s awards can put “services and support within reach of every crime victim in America,” said Katharine Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs. Most of the $2.3 billion goes to 6,000 local service programs, including children’s advocacy centers, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, human trafficking and elder abuse programs, civil legal services and crime victims’ rights enforcement, as well as victim assistance positions in prosecutors’ offices and law enforcement departments. State victim compensation programs will receive over $136 million to supplement state funds that offset victims’ financial burdens resulting from crime. “The services made available by this funding represent a lifeline for tens of thousands of survivors each month, many of whom otherwise would have no place to turn in a moment of profound crisis,” said Darlene Hutchinson, Office for Victims of Crime director.