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2021 Report to the Nation

Fiscal Years 2019 - 2020

VOCA Assistance Highlights

OVC’s VOCA Assistance Formula Grant Program supports thousands of victim assistance programs throughout the Nation annually. OVC’s funding of these programs—through subgrants to state agencies and local service providers—provides help for individuals, families, and communities recovering from both the immediate and prolonged effects of victimization.

VOCA assistance supports crisis counseling, telephone and onsite information and referrals, criminal justice support and advocacy, emergency shelter, therapy, and other services. Funds can also be used to develop new initiatives that address emerging needs and gaps in services for individuals and communities. In FYs 2019 and 2020, VOCA-funded assistance reached a total of 28,470,154 crime victims identified by victimization type (see Exhibit 5, Exhibit 6, and Exhibit 7).

State Spotlights

Arizona Department of Public Safety

Navajo County, Arizona, encompasses 5 rural population centers spread over 10,000 square miles; yet it does not have a public transit system. Previously, transportation services for victims were cobbled together by shelters and law enforcement, which resulted in victims often waiting hours to get to exams and interviews. In FY 2020, with funding from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, advocates from the Navajo County Attorney’s Office began transporting victims to court, forensic interviews, sexual assault exams, and safety services. By doing so, victims are more likely to attend exams, interviews, and treatment; and to receive services in a timely manner.

New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety

In FY 2020, the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety launched hospital-based intervention programs designed to help victims of gunshots, stabbings, and similar incidents escape the cycle of violence. These programs deploy specially trained workers to meet with victims of violence at their bedside in the hospital setting, and help them make behavioral choices that reduce the chances they will be reinjured. Services include connecting victims with counseling or substance use disorder treatment and other recovery support services, assisting victims with finding safe housing or steady work, helping victims obtain government identification cards, and removing gang-affiliated tattoos. Based on the programs’ early success in cities throughout the county, New Jersey plans to use $20 million in VOCA funding to launch seven new programs and expand two existing initiatives, including the state’s first at Newark’s University Hospital and a program recently started at Jersey City Medical Center.

Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services

In FY 2019, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services established the Victims Services Grant Program (VSGP) to fund programs that provide direct services to victims of crime. Approximately $34.1 million was awarded to support Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner programs, legal aid clinics, domestic violence county-based programs, a program specific to Latino/a victims, and a mental health assistance program, as well as core services in 57 sexual assault/domestic violence response programs. Funding was also used to support two pilot projects under VSGP—a Virginia hospital-based violence intervention program to improve public safety and health outcomes for victims of violence in Virginia’s high-crime areas; and a grant program intended to increase access to trauma-informed intervention, expand access to mental health services, and support behavioral interventionist positions to support victims of crime in schools.

Wisconsin Office of Crime Victim Services

With funding from the Wisconsin Office of Crime Victim Services, the Healing Intergenerational Roots Wellness Center provides services to urban Indigenous and American Indians in Milwaukee by offering mental health and wellness services to victims of crimes such as sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, abuse, homicide, and other related violent crimes. VOCA funds have been used for personnel, therapy supplies, emergency victim assistance funds, and other expenses.