Crime Victim Assistance

Enacted in 1984, the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) is the central source of federal financial support for direct services to victim of crime.

VOCA is administered at the federal level through the U.S.

Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime which annually awards a grant to each
state, the District of Columbia and U.S.

Territories to support victim assistance services for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, drunk driving, homicide, and other crimes.

Each state has a designated VOCA assistance agency to administer VOCA grants.

Those state agencies in turn, subgrant to organizations that provide direct services to victims of crime.

While minimal federal requirements must be met, each state is given great discretion in awarding specific subgrants.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Potential projects include, but are not limited to: funding to support (a) domestic violence shelter services; (b) rape crisis programs, including coverage for sexual assault examinations: child abuse treatment programs; and (d) support groups for survivors of homicide victim and DUI/DWI crash victims, etc.

Agency - Department of Justice

The Department of Justice enforces the law and defends the interest of the United States, ensuring public safety against threats foreign and domestic; providing Federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; seeking just punishment for those guilty of unlawful pursuits; and ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Program Accomplishments


Uses and Use Restrictions

Funds under this program shall be used by States and territories to provide direct services to crime victims with the following exception: States may retain up to 5 percent of their grant for administrative and training purposes.

All States and most Territories receive an annual VOCA victim assistance grant.

Each State, the District of Columbia, the U. S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico receive a base amount of $500,000.

The territories of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa, each receive a base amount of $200,000.

Additional funds are distributed based on populations.

That portion of the then remaining funds will be divided among all States or territories according to population (U. S. Census Bureau).

If the amount available for grants under this program is insufficient to provide $500,000 to each State, the base amount available shall be distributed equally among the States and territories.

A victim assistance program is an eligible crime victim assistance program under VOCA if it: (A) is operated by a public agency or a nonprofit organization, or combination; (B) meets the appropriate match requirements; (C) uses volunteers unless the VOCA administrator grants a waiver for a compelling reason; (D) promotes coordinated public and private efforts to aid crime victims within the community served; (E) assists victims in applying for crime victim compensation; (F) complies with Federal rules regulating VOCA, including Program Guidelines/Rules and the effective edition of the OJP Financial Guide; (G) maintains civil rights information; (H) complies with additional eligibility or service criteria established by the State grantees; (I) provides services to victims of Federal crimes on the same basis as services are provided to victims of State and local crimes; (J) provides services to crime victims without charge unless a waiver is obtained from the State grantee; and, (K) maintains confidentiality of client-counselor and research information.

An eligible crime victim assistance program shall expend sums received under subsection (a) only for providing direct services to victims of crime.

The chief executive of each State shall (A) certify that priority shall be given to eligible crime victim assistance programs providing assistance to victims of sexual assault, spousal abuse, or child abuse, and to programs serving previously underserved victims of violent crime, as determined by the State, (B) certify that funds awarded to eligible crime victim assistance programs will not be used to supplant State and local funds otherwise available for crime victim assistance; and provide such other information and assurances related to the purposes of this section as the Director may reasonably require.

As used in this program, (1) the term "State" includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United States; and (2) the term "services to victims of crime" includes (a) crisis intervention services to provide emotional support in cases arising from the occurrence of crime; (b) providing, in an emergency, transportation to court, short-term child care services, and temporary housing and security measures; (c) assistance in participating in criminal justice proceedings; and (d) payment of all reasonable costs for a forensic medical examination of sexual assault victims, to the extent that such costs are otherwise not reimbursed or paid; (3) the term "chief executive" includes a person designated by the governor to perform the functions of the chief executive under this section.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Any State, the District of Columbia, all Commonwealths and any other territory or possession of the United States are eligible.

Funds will be subgranted to eligible public and nonprofit organizations or combinations of such agencies or organizations or of both such agencies and organizations, who provide direct services to victims of crime.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Any member of the general public who has been a victim of a crime or those who are survivors of victims of crime.


Applications from the designated State agency for this program must be submitted on Standard Form 424 electronically via the Office of Justice Programs Grants Management System (GMS), at a time specified by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs. The State grant applicant, by completing the grant application, and by receiving a VOCA victim assistance grant award, certifies: (1) that funds awarded to eligible crime victim assistance programs will not be utilized to supplant State and/or local funds that would otherwise be available for crime victim assistance; (2) that the State will provide such accounting, auditing, monitoring and evaluation procedures as may be necessary, and keep such records as the Office of Justice Programs may prescribe, to assure fiscal control, proper management and efficient disbursement of Federal funds; (3) that the State shall give priority to programs aiding victims of sexual assault, spousal abuse, or child abuse, and to programs serving previously underserved victims of violent crimes as determined by the State; (4) that the State will submit to the Office of Justice Programs Subgrant Award Reports and Performance Reports concerning the activities carried out with the Federal funds received and will maintain and report such data and information as required; (5) that the State will adhere to the audit and financial management requirements set forth in the OJP Financial Guide; (6) that the State will comply with all applicable Federal nondiscrimination requirements; and, (7) certify that the information in the application is correct and that the State will comply with all applicable provisions of the Victims of Crime Act and other Federal laws, regulations, and circulars. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

The standard application forms as furnished by the Federal agency in accordance with 28-CFR Part 66 (Common Rule), must be used for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under Executive Order 12372.

Application Procedures

The applicant applies on-line at under "Grants/Funding" once posted by the Office for Victims of Crime.

Award Procedures

The Director, Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs has final approval authority. Once an award is granted to a State, the State will subgrant the monies to private nonprofit and/or public agencies for the purpose specified in the application and in conformance with all general and special conditions.


Contact the Headquarters Office: Eligible States will be notified of the date for submission of applications through an OVC listserv message.


42 U.S.C. 10603(a).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 3 to 4 weeks.


Hearing by the Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs.


Awards are for the year of award plus 3 years; applications will be submitted annually.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Awards will be made on the basis of population with a base amount of $500,000 for States; $200,000 for the territories of N. Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. Fund availability may necessitate a base change.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

States have the year of award plus 3 years to expend the funds.

Post Assistance Requirements


Subgrant Award Report for each subrecipient of VOCA funds; Quarterly, final financial reports and Annual Program Performance reports will be required as stipulated in the Program Guidelines/Rules and the OJP Financial Guide.


All organizations that expend $500,000 or more in federal funds per organizational fiscal year must have a single audit for that year in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-133, as amended. The audit report and transmittal letter must be submitted within 9 months from the end of the state fiscal year.


Financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other records pertinent to a grant shall be retained for a period of at least three years after the grant has been closed.

Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $370,600,000; FY 08 $268,064,000; and FY 09 est not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Base of $500,000 to each State, Commonwealth, and the District of Columbia. Territories of the United States receive a base of $200,000. Remaining dollars will be divided based on population.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Program Guidelines/Rules are published in the Federal Register. The OJP Financial Guide is available at, or call the Office of the Comptroller, Customer Service Center at 1-800-458-0786 to request a copy.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Toni L. Thomas, Director, State Compensation and Assistance Division, Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice, 810 Seventh Street, NW., Washington, DC 20531. Telephone: (202) 616-3579. Use the same number for FTS.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Criteria for selecting proposals are specifically spelled out in the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, as amended. Additional criteria will be developed by the Office for Victims of Crime. These criteria are listed on the OVC web page

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