Last month, the federal Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) released revised guidelines for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding. The new guidelines are the result of public feedback and developments within victim services over the last 15 years. Some of the new guidelines recognize the marginalization of underserved survivors and are a step in the right direction in terms of meeting EJUSA’s goals of brining equity to services for survivors.
We will update our VOCA Toolkit to reflect these changes, but we wanted to give you a little preview:
- Incarcerated individuals who are themselves victims of crime are able to receive services under VOCA. Each state can decide how organizations deliver those services.
- There will no longer be a budget match requirement for projects managed by American Indian or Alaskan Native tribes or by projects operating on tribal lands. (Previously the match requirement for such projects was 5% of the total budget.)
- States now have the flexibility to support transitional housing and relocation expenses for survivors.
- The definition of spousal abuse has been clarified to include domestic and intimate partner violence, which will encompass violence within LGBTQ populations.
- The definition of child abuse has been expanded to allow for services to be provided to children who are exposed to violence.
- Organizations may provide services to help individuals with certain convictions to expunge their records based on their status as a victim.
- Funds can now be used for project evaluation (within limits set by the state administering agency).
- Costs of web sites, social media, mobile devices, and more can now be funded through VOCA.
These are just a few brief highlights. You can read the full revised VOCA Rules and Regulations on the Federal Register.
What is VOCA?
VOCA is the federal Victims of Crime Act funding, a funding source allocated to the states and U.S. territories for direct victim assistance services, crime victim compensation, crime victim programs, and services for victims of federal crimes. States distribute funds to community-based organizations in their respective states that provide victim services and programs in their communities. Check with your state for full guidelines and processes for applying for VOCA funding.
Interested in learning more about VOCA? Check out EJUSA’s VOCA Toolkit.