The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), in collaboration with other Office of Justice Programs (OJP) bureaus, and public and private interest groups and agencies, administers funding to programs that develop strategies, discuss issues, and make recommendations to prevent and combat child abuse. In forming partnerships with other government agencies and organizations, OVC pools resources and support in order to develop new alternatives and directions for resolving child abuse. For example, OVC has joined together with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to target family violence in Indian Country. OVC also collaborates with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services to address these issues. OVC grants finance efforts by communities to create and adopt locally responsive approaches that encourage collaboration among all sectors, including victim service providers, victims' advocates, law enforcement authorities, health care providers, and community organizations representing educators, businesses, and others involved in the fight to end child abuse.
OVC's funding is based on the Crime Victims Fund, which is derived, not from tax dollars, but from fines and penalties paid by Federal criminal offenders. Nearly 90 percent of the money collected each year, $363 million in 1997, is distributed as formula grant programs to States to assist in funding their victim assistance and compensation programs. The other portion is placed in a discretionary fund that assists Federal crime victims and training and technical assistance programs or demonstration projects that can be used as models of "promising practice." Since 1988, OVC has distributed over $2 billion to the States to support victim services and compensation.
VOCA VICTIM ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
(Formula Grants to the States)
Through the Victims of Crime Act, OVC funds the VOCA Victim Assistance Program which provides funding to nearly 3,000 local victim services and programs nationwide.These programs offer victims a wide range of services, including crisis counseling, criminal justice advocacy, and shelter. To date, using FY97 funds, States have funded 1,445 child physical abuse programs and 1,717 child sexual abuse programs for a total of $31,899,331. In addition, Court Appointed special Advocates (CASA) programs are eligible to receive VOCA funding at the State level to support services they provide to child victims of neglect and/or abandonment. For information about Federal funding available in your State, please contact the agency designated by the Governor to administer the VOCA Victim Assistance Program. In many cases, the same agency has been designated to administer VAWA funding.
DISCRETIONARY FUND INITIATIVES
The following list of initiatives shows the collaborative commitment from the OVC, other Office of Justice Programs, and other Federal agencies and organizations to building and strengthening the response of communities nationwide to end child abuse. Many of the products produced from these and other OVC grants can be obtained through the OVCRC, a national information clearinghouse.
Young Teenaged Girls Sexually Victimized by Older Men: Improving the Criminal Justice Response
American Bar Association (ABA)
OVC awarded funds to the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Children and the Law to examine the way the criminal justice system handles statutory rape cases and identifies promising practices. The Commission also is developing a Compendium, with specific guidance for prosecutors, victim advocates, law enforcement officers, and judges to help young teenaged girls who are victims in these types of cases.
Effective Intervention in Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
With the support of OVC and the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Family Violence Project of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges will develop a set of recommended guidelines on intervening in domestic violence and child abuse cases. The grantee will compile materials from promising programs and provide that information to a multidisciplinary committee of national experts on the subject, which will meet several times to develop the guidelines. Guidelines will be used by child protective services staff, law enforcement, attorneys, courts, family preservation agencies, and battered women's programs.
Safe Kids/Safe Streets: Community-Based Approaches to Intervening in Child Abuse and Neglect
OVC, with additional support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, and the Violence Against Women Grants Office, supports the Child Safe Project. The Project will coordinate efforts of Federal, State, and local resources to develop a comprehensive prevention and intervention program for child victims and their families. OJP by "acknowledging the correlation between child abuse and neglect and later violent delinquency and the need to improve system response, set out to create a single program aimed at helping to break the cycle of early childhood victimization and later juvenile or adult criminality." The goal of this 5-year OJP-wide program is to create systemic reforms to improve services for abused children; provide training and technical assistance support to practitioners who service child victims and their families; strengthen a continuum of family support services to assure that assessment, counseling, and victim assistance services are available; assure the uniformity of evaluation protocols across sites; and provide prevention education and public information. OVC is providing the grantees of this program with training, technical assistance, and training materials on improving services for child victims. Assistance focuses on expanding the availability of medical services to sexually and physically abused children and mentoring or training programs for communities wishing to establish a Children's Advocacy Center.
The Children's Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities (CJA)
Since 1989, the Federal Crime Victims Division within the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has provided funding through the Children's Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities (CJA). These funds are used to assist American Indian Tribes in developing, establishing, and operating programs to improve the investigation, prosecution, and handling of child abuse cases, particularly cases of child sexual abuse, in a manner that limits additional trauma to the child victim.The goal of the CJA grant program is to improve the capacity of existing tribal systems to handle serious child abuse cases by developing specialized services and procedures to address the needs of Native American child victims. The program also focuses on developing strategies to handle cases of child sexual abuse from the initial disclosure, through the investigation and prosecution, to the case resolution in an effective and timely manner. The following is a list of initiatives that are funded under CJA.To learn more about these programs, please refer to the Office for Victims of Crime fact sheet about the CJA program and the accompanying addendum which describes each of the tribal grants.
The District-Specific Training Program is an ongoing effort to improve the response of Federal criminal justice personnel to the rights and needs of crime victims in Indian Country. Combined with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), OVC has supported the development of regional trainings in Indian Country focusing on family violence and the unique needs of victims in remote areas. OVC has provided funding and personnel support--including scholarships to participants--for diverse conferences such as the Four Corners Indian Country Conference, Great Lakes Indian Country Conference, Northwest Regional Indian Country Conference, and Midwest Region Indian Country Conference.
Tribal Court Appointed Special Advocate Programs (CASA)
OVC funds CASA programs in Indian Country. The funding has supported four demonstration programs, attendance of CASA staff at the National CASA conference, training and technical assistance, and development of guidelines for all 14 tribal CASA programs.
Interagency Agreement with Indian Health Services
OVC is working with the Indian Health Service and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Wyoming to provide support for a child psychologist to conduct forensic interviews at an approved child advocacy center in Indian Country, to provide supportive services to child victims of abuse (sexual and physical) whose cases may proceed through either Federal or Tribal court, and to provide training and support services as necessary, to other U.S. Attorney Offices in the contiguous districts.
Children's Advocacy Centers (CAC)
National Network of Children's Advocacy Centers
OVC joined with OJJDP and the National Network of Children's Advocacy Centers to (1) develop a program demonstrating comprehensive, multidisciplinary "state-of-the-art" medical services for child victims living in rural areas; (2) produce a videotape to enhance CAC efforts to improve collaboration with domestic violence advocates to better serve children and their parents; and (3) provide training and technical assistance through a mentoring program with an emphasis on establishing a children's advocacy center.
National Symposium on Child Sexual Abuse
OVC supports the participation of teams of Federal criminal justice personnel nominated by U.S. Attorneys' Offices to attend to the Annual National Symposium on Child Sexual Abuse in Huntsville, Alabama.
Child Victim Assistance Demonstration Program
United States Attorneys Office for the District of Columbia
OVC and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys are supporting a specialized child victim assistance multidisciplinary center program in the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia. The multidisciplinary center coordinates services and implements a joint interview/assessment process and specialized services for victims. A range of program implementation and informational materials, including Child Victims and Witnesses: A Handbook for Criminal Justice Professionals, have been developed and distributed to professionals from other programs who work with child victims. The program will continue to develop these kinds of resources as well as offer training and mentoring services to other sites wishing to replicate the program or develop similar services for child victims.
Contact the OVC Resource Center for a list of recent awards, announcements of grants, and information about the application process or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the Office for Victims of Crime is available through the following sources:
OVC Web Site....................http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/
OVC Resource Center............................ 800-627-6872
OVC Resource Center Web Site............http://www.ncjrs.org