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National Background
WV State Background
Federal Victims Crime Act
WV Victims Crime Act
WV Division of Justice and Community Services

National Background

National Victims of Crime Act of 1984

In the recent past, victims in the criminal justice system were virtually invisible, or at most, seen as mere pieces of evidence. In response to these inequities, a Presidential Task Force on Victims of Crime was established in 1982. Its final report included sixty-eight recommendations. Among them, was the recommendation that Congress enact legislation to provide federal funding to federal, state, local, and private nonprofit victim advocate and victim/witness agencies that serve crime victims. Passage of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) represented a revolutionary step toward restoring balance between the rights of crime victims and the rights of the accused criminals. Today, crime victims have emerged as integral to the criminal justice process. Rather than being rendered helpless by their victimization, victims of crime have been encouraged by the provisions and impact of VOCA to actively participate in seeking justice and healing.

The Office for Victims of Crime

The 1984 enactment of VOCA established the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) as the lead federal agency in promoting the rights and needs of crime victims, and represented a recognition that the federal government cares about victims of crime and is aware of its responsibility to offer them support. That support takes two specific forms: 1) formula grants, which are provided to the states and territories for state crime victim compensation and victim assistance programs; and 2) discretionary grants, which are awarded to states and localities to support: services to victims of federal crime, pioneering programs that service crime victims, high quality training and technical assistance to criminal justice system professionals and other allied professionals, and the dissemination of information to the victims' field.

When VOCA was amended in 1988, the Act designated OVC as the bureau within the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) in the Department of Justice (DOJ) to administer the Crime Victims Fund. It also provided that the Director of OVC would be appointed by the President with the Senate's consent.

Today, OVC is one of five bureaus within OJP and works closely with these other components -- the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) -- to support programs that benefit crime victims. OVC serves as the federal government's chief advocate for crime victims and collaborates with many DOJ components, other federal agencies, as well as public and private organizations, to improve services to crime victims.

Crime Victims Fund

The Crime Victims Fund was established by VOCA and serves as a major funding source for victim services throughout the country. Each year, millions of dollars are deposited into this Fund from criminal fines, forfeited bail bonds, penalty fees, and special assessments collected by U.S. Attorneys' Offices, U.S. Courts, and the Bureau of Prisons. These dollars come from offenders convicted of federal crimes -- not from taxpayers.

Distribution of the Fund

The first $10 million is used to improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases. The $10 million is divided between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ($8.5 million) and OVC ($1.5 million). The portion administered by OVC is used exclusively to help Native Americans improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases, particularly child sexual abuse.

The remaining Fund deposits are distributed in the following ways:

- 48.5 % to state compensation programs;
- 48.5% to state assistance programs; and
- 3.0% for discretionary funds to provide training and other assistance to
improve the delivery of services to crime victims.

WV State Background


VOCA Funding Criteria

According to federal guidelines, priority will be given to eligible crime victims assistance programs providing direct services to victims of:

1. Rape/Sexual Assault
2. Spousal Abuse
3. Child Abuse
4. Previously Underserved Victims of Violence Crime

(Survivors of homicide victims, elderly victims of abuse or neglect, victims of drunk drivers, adult survivors of child sexual assault or incest, or other violent crimes that are being neglected or not being served adequately.)

West Virginia requires every program receiving VOCA funds to include, as a principal mission or component of its program, services to at least one category of priority victims, and:

1. Be operated by a local unit of government or a private non-profit organization that provides services to crime victims.
2. Have a record of providing effective services to victims of crime and have financial support from other sources.
3. Utilize volunteers.
4. Promote coordinated public and private efforts to aid crime victims.
5. Assist victims in seeking available crime victim compensation benefits.

VOCA funds must be used only to provide direct services to victims of crime. (Direct services are activities that directly benefit individual crime victims.)

Allowable Cost

Allowable costs include but are not limited to the following:

Personnel expenses
Contractual services (portion)
Travel/Training expenses
Space (pro-rated)
Telephone (pro-rated)
Audit Costs (2% of award)
Program materials, supplies, etc.

Federal Victims of Crime Act

You can view the Federal Victims of Crime Act by clicking the link below.

WV Victims of Crime Act

For the West Virginia Victims of Crime Act click the link below:

WV Victims of Crime Act

or visit and expand the WV Code folder then click on State Code. Finally select chapter 61 and scroll until you see -
§61-11A-1. Legislative findings and purpose.

WV Division of Justice and Community Services

If you would like more information regarding West Virginia's Division of Justice and Community Services, please visit their site at:



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