New federal VOCA guidelines broaden scope of eligible groups and services

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: Continue Reading →

Funding available for groups serving survivors in California

California has opened an application process for organizations to apply for funds through the Federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA). This particular round of funding is reserved for advocacy and support services to unserved/underserved child and youth victims of a crime. (“Underserved” is defined by the state of California as: Cultural/Ethnic Specific Community; Geographically Isolated; Immigrants; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth (LGBTQ) Community(ies); Specific Crime Type (i.e., homicide); Youth with disabilities; Youth in Foster Care.)

If you are an organization in California that works with crime survivors or victims’ families in these unserved/underserved children and youth populations, you may be eligible to apply through this RFP process.

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Funding available for groups serving survivors in Michigan

Michigan has opened its application process for organizations to apply for funds (pdf) through the Federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA).  If you are an organization in Michgan that works with crime survivors or victims’ families, you may be eligible to apply through this RFP process.

Through our VOCA Funding Toolkit, and assistance from our Grassroots Capacity Building Specialist, EJUSA can help groups determine if they are eligible, answer questions about the process, and provide some support for your group’s application. Please contact Latrina Kelly-James at latrinakj@ejusa.org or (203) 823-5826 or download the toolkit here.

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Victim services dollars start going to communities in need

Victim services dollars start going to communities in need

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches (LAM) is building a network of local churches and community groups to provide trauma-informed services to African-American, Latino, and immigrant crime survivors in South Los Angeles.

And now, for the first time, they are receiving federal VOCA funds – funds earmarked for victims services – in order to carry out their work. These funds are more than just a grant. They mark a possible turning point for crime survivors of color, who have long been underserved by the traditional victim services field.

“All too often communities of color have had to witness and endure first-hand the ills and fall-out of social programs that don’t work, public safety systems that don’t protect and serve and cycles of violence and abuse that seem to never end,” said Cheryl Branch, Executive Director of LAM.

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Increasing access to help for crime survivors – where it’s most needed

honoring victimsThis week is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The theme this year is Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope., which highlights the need for early intervention and victims services that build trust with crime survivors, and creates hope that healing is possible.

We’ve been working with crime survivors for over 10 years. And what we’ve learned from them over and over again is that these services – and a commitment to healing – remain out of reach for the vast majority of them.

Crime survivors aren’t getting the help they need

The numbers agree – estimates are that more than 90% of crime survivors don’t access any victims services. You read that right: 90% of the people in the U.S. who’ve been hurt, robbed, shot, assaulted, abused, raped, or had a family member murdered got no formal help to process their trauma, cope with their grief, or rebuild their lives in even practical ways.

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Violence & crime victims’ trauma are a public health issue: A new message for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Apply public health values to a broken criminal justice system

Contact: Jon Crane Phone/Email 203-982-4575
jon@criticalpr.com

Sunday April 10th will mark the start of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 10-16) and this year’s theme – Serving Victims, Building Trust, Restoring Hope – is intended to highlight the need for victims services that will promote trust, healing, and recovery.

But for too many crime survivors, those services and ideals remain out of reach. Equal Justice USA, a national organization working to transform the justice system to one that heals and restores lives, recently launched a new initiative aimed at addressing the trauma of crime survivors, particularly in communities of color where there has been disparate access to resources.

“Our goal is to move towards a justice system that can actually promote health, rehabilitation, and healing,” said Fatimah Loren Muhammad, Director of EJUSA’s Trauma Initiative. “We are working to develop a justice system that operates according to public health values of prevention, harm reduction, and trauma-informed care.”

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Funding available for groups serving survivors in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has opened its application process for organizations to apply for funds through the Federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA). If you are an organization in Pennsylvania that works with crime survivors or victims’ families, you may be eligible to apply through this RFP process. Most importantly, Pennsylvania has identified men and boys of color who are victims as a priority underserved population. If your a group or organization supports victimized men and boys of color, you should definitely consider applying.

Through our VOCA Funding Toolkit, and assistance from our Grassroots Capacity Building Specialist, EJUSA can help groups determine if they are eligible, answer questions about the process, and provide some support for your group’s application. Please contact Latrina Kelly-James at latrinakj@ejusa.org or (203) 823-5826 or download the toolkit here.

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Funding available for groups serving survivors in Colorado

Colorado has opened its application process for organizations to apply for funds through the Federal Victims Of Crime Act (VOCA).  If you are an organization in Colorado that works with crime survivors or victims’ families, you may be eligible to apply through this RFP process.

Through our VOCA Funding Toolkit, and assistance from our Grassroots Capacity Building Specialist, EJUSA can help groups determine if they are eligible, answer questions about the process, and provide some support for your group’s application. Please contact Latrina Kelly-James at latrinakj@ejusa.org or (203) 823-5826 or download the toolkit here.

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Victory! Congress saves funds for life-saving victim services

DontCutVOCA---victoryYou spoke, and Congress listened! Thanks to everyone who participated in our #DontCutVOCA action, we have something to celebrate in the New Year: Congress approved an appropriations bill that increases funding for crime survivor services, known as VOCA funding, by over 15% in 2016.

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Toolkit available for organizations serving crime survivors

EJUSA VOCA ToolkitAs part of our growing work to bring racial equity to victims’ services, EJUSA published a comprehensive toolkit to help groups apply for Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding. The toolkit is geared towards organizations serving crime survivors – particularly in communities of color – that have not had access to federal funding in the past.

EJUSA Grassroots Capacity Building Specialist Latrina Kelly-James led a webinar to introduce the toolkit and help organizations understand the funding that is available. Over 45 organizational leaders participated, and many more have downloaded the toolkit or reached out for support in applying for funds.
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