I am pleased to announce that the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register (“Notice”) on Monday, February 5, 2024, to enhance the federal crime victim compensation program. It is now open for public comment.
As you may know, the federal crime victim compensation program is authorized through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and the formula funding provided to states and territories through this program is awarded from the Crime Victims Fund. The VOCA Compensation Guidelines, which were last revised in 2001, clarify how this federal funding can be used to support state compensation programs. This Notice is your opportunity to provide feedback on proposed updates to those guidelines, also referred to as the “proposed Rule.”
Over the past 2 years, OVC has undertaken steps to update the federal guidelines to increase access to compensation, ensuring all victims and their families receive the comprehensive care and financial compensation they deserve. Working with survivors, direct service providers, state administrators of compensation programs, national advocacy organizations, and federal partners, OVC facilitated 10 listening sessions and numerous live and virtual community engagements to understand how compensation access, equity, and support can be enhanced.
In many ways, these updates to the program guidelines reflect the numerous efforts already undertaken by state programs. The proposed Rule addresses many of the common issues raised by our partners, including the need to:
- Expand allowable services and expenses.
- Clarify statutory program requirements.
- Increase outreach to Tribal communities.
- Strengthen victim confidentiality protections.
In anticipation of the new Rule, OVC plans to offer supplemental support, including helpful trainings and technical assistance to support its implementation. I will provide more information about these initiatives once the new rule has been finalized and published.
You will have 60 days to submit your comments on the proposed Rule through the Federal Register website, ending on Friday, April 5, 2024, at 11:59 p.m., eastern time. Information on how to submit comments is also provided in the Notice.
For tracking and transparency, please submit comments via the methods described in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and do not direct any comments to individual OVC staff members.
Thank you in advance for your thoughtful review of the proposed Rule and for the work you do every day to increase access, options, and information for crime victims and survivors.