The U.S. Justice Department released awards totaling more than $1.8 billion to state victim assistance and compensation programs to fund thousands of local victim assistance programs across the U.S. and provide millions in compensation to victims of crime. The formula grant program is supported by the Crime Victims Fund of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). The fund supports an array of programs and services that focus on helping victims both in the immediate aftermath of crime and as they rebuild their lives. In fiscal year 2019, VOCA grants served seven million victims and paid more than $399 million in compensation claims. Most of the victim assistance funding goes to local direct service programs, including children’s advocacy centers, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, human trafficking and elder abuse programs, civil legal services, crime victims’ rights enforcement, and victim assistance employees in prosecutors’ offices and police departments.
DOJ also awarded grants totaling over $144 million to enhance victim services. The money from offices in the Office of Justice Programs includes $64.3 million from the Office for Victims of Crime, $54.1 million from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, $19.9 million from the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART), and nearly $5.7 million was awarded under two National Institute of Justice (NIJ) programs. “As lockdowns and lawlessness fuel crime in America’s homes and communities, more people are vulnerable to victimization and those who have been victimized face new hurdles,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine Sullivan.