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2021 Report to the Nation

Fiscal Years 2019 - 2020

Training and Technical Assistance

OVC encourages service providers and allied professionals to strengthen their knowledge, skills, and abilities so that they can provide the best possible services to crime victims throughout the Nation. The OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) leads the agency’s efforts to provide such expertise- and capacity-building activities by offering a variety of instructor-led trainings, both in person and online; providing educational opportunities through the National Victim Assistance Academy; and awarding scholarships to eligible professionals and survivors to attend training conferences. OVC TTAC also provides TTA tailored to the needs of specific service providers, and maintains a comprehensive network of consultants with the expertise needed to inform OVC's capacity-building initiatives.

In FYs 2019 and 2020, OVC TTAC provided 398 in-depth TTA activities to organizations and served more than 2 million individuals in areas of victim services such as human trafficking, terrorism and mass violence, and supporting law enforcement. Some activities are discussed in other parts of this report. OVC also supported specialized TTA in other critical areas.

Building Vicarious Trauma-Informed Communities

Individuals responsible for responding to and addressing the needs of crime victims in various professional capacities are impacted through trauma exposure that can lead to adverse effects for providers, victims, and the community. This exposure—vicarious trauma—is an occupational challenge for people working with and volunteering in the fields of victim services, law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire services, and other allied professions, due to their continuous exposure to victims of trauma and violence. Exposure to the trauma of others has been shown to change the world-view of these responders and can put people and organizations at risk for a range of negative consequences. The field has grown to recognize the importance of customized organizational approaches to establishing protocols, policies, and responses that reflect the unique needs of each community’s victim-serving responders and include a broader range of professionals that serve and support victims.

In FY 2019, OVC awarded $3 million to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to implement the Vicarious Trauma Response Initiative (VTRI) in an effort to identify and develop skills and organizational practices needed to promote healthy, collaborative approaches to address the effects of work-related trauma. The 12 selected implementation sites will each receive a $50,000 grant and customized TTA to strengthen interagency collaborations and support employee health, well-being, and resilience.

Supporting First Responders to Mass Violence

OVC TTAC deploys expert consultants to affected communities to help them assess victims’ needs, coordinate victim services, identify resources and gaps in services, develop strategies for victim service providers—including first responders and others who assist victims, develop victim needs assessments, and draft applications for grant funding through OVC’s Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program. OVC TTAC provided consultant support to 14 communities affected by mass violence in FY 2019, and 10 communities in FY 2020.

OVC TTAC also supported mass violence training and intensive technical assistance to more than 15 state and local agencies in FY 2019, and 37 state and local agencies in FY 2020. This assistance included statewide conference presentations, and reviewing and providing technical assistance on mass violence victim assistance plans. It also featured three webinars—Mass Violence and Communications, Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: The First 24–48 Hours, and Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: 48 Hours and Beyond—which highlighted significant actions needed to help communities prepare for and respond to a mass violence incident. Each webinar drew approximately 300 participants.

Supporting Partnerships To Address Domestic Violence

In FY 2018, OVC provided funding to the Domestic Violence Housing Technical Assistance Consortium—a collaboration between OVC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Office on Violence Against Women—for technical assistance and resource development. This federal partnership provides national support and encouragement to assist grantees and subgrantees in implementing trauma-informed housing programs by building meaningful partnerships with local domestic and sexual violence programs, state domestic and sexual violence coalitions, and housing service providers.

Since the launch, the consortium has initiated and conducted a series of trainings and technical assistance engagements to address the evolving needs of our communities. Particularly with the onset of the pandemic, the technical assistance team partners quickly and collaboratively developed a series of online trainings to support the field in responding to the public health crisis and the resulting programmatic demands, changed economic landscape, and dramatically increased needs among survivors. The COVID-19 Special Topic Series was developed in March 2020, and weekly webinars on many topics related to the novel coronavirus, the CARES Act, and recommended best practices were offered to the field. Emerging trends identified within the series include preventing and managing the spread of COVID-19 within congregate residential settings, hotel vouchering, virtual advocacy, accessing emergency funds available through supplemental funding, and racial equity. Through this series, along with several additional state and national trainings, more than 5,500 participants participated in training and more than 500 hours of technical assistance were provided.


OVC TTAC supports VictimLaw, a free, searchable database of more than 30,000 victims’ rights laws, such as federal, state, and territorial statutes; tribal laws; state constitutional amendments; court rulings; administrative proceedings; case summaries; and attorney general opinions. In FYs 2019 and 2020, OVC TTAC provided TTA to 786 people pertaining to VictimLaw. Additionally, the VictimLaw database was accessed by 13,788 users in FY 2019 and 15,568 users in FY 2020.

Understanding Human Trafficking

Launched in FY 2020, the Understanding Human Trafficking online training offers foundational learning on trauma-informed and victim-centered approaches to human trafficking. The modules are designed to benefit a wide audience, including victim service providers, first responders, government organizations, teachers, students, and members of the general public. As of September 2020, a total of 13,247 users had completed the online training.