Commitment from the Office for Victims of Crime
Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), within the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, is committed to enhancing the nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and to providing leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. OVC administers the Crime Victims Fund (the Fund), which is financed by fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders, not from tax dollars. Federal revenues deposited into the Fund also come from gifts, donations, and bequests by private parties. OVC channels funding for victim compensation and assistance throughout the United States, raises awareness about victims’ issues, promotes compliance with victims’ rights laws, and provides training and technical assistance and publications and products to victim assistance professionals.
OVC is dedicated to a constant improvement in the national response to crime victims by:
- Identifying emerging needs and gaps in existing services.
- Enhancing the skill sets of service providers to meet these needs better.
- Promoting greater public awareness of the issues that crime victims face.
Vision 21 Initiative
Published in 2013, Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services documented a comprehensive assessment of the victim assistance field and presents a cohesive framework for strategic change in the victim services field. The authors, and OVC, anticipate that the publication and initiative will catalyze change in four broad areas:
- Conducting continuous rather than episodic strategic planning in the victim assistance field to effect real change in research, policy, programming, and capacity building.
- Supporting research to build a body of evidence-based knowledge and generate, collect, and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on victimization, emerging victimization trends, services and behaviors, and victims’ rights enforcement efforts.
- Ensuring the statutory, policy, and programmatic flexibility to address enduring and emerging crime victim issues.
- Building and institutionalizing capacity through an infusion of technology, training, and innovation to ensure that the field is equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century.
Linking Systems of Care for Children and Youth
The Linking Systems of Care for Children and Youth Demonstration Project (LSC) addressed Vision 21 Recommendation #4: Build and institutionalize capacity through an infusion of technology, training, and innovation.
Launched in January 2015, Linking Systems of Care was designed to address child and youth victimization through state level demonstration projects. Statewide demonstration sites were tasked with bringing together all relevant child serving systems and professionals to establish a coordinated approach that ensured that every child entering these systems was assessed for victimization, provided coordinated and comprehensive services to address their needs, and that policies and practices are established to sustain the project long-term.
Each demonstration site had a project period of up to six years during in which it worked to bring together relevant systems and professionals in its state to provide early identification, intervention, and treatment for child and youth victims and their families and caregivers. The sites worked strategically and collaboratively with multi-disciplinary stakeholders to ensure that prevention and intervention services were determined by the needs of the family, and that community resources were provided with holistic and coordinated intent. Sustainable practices and policies were explored for long-term use and potential replication in other communities.
Our nation’s children and youth experience crime and victimization at alarming rates. Through the LSC demonstration project, OVC wanted to learn what was needed to bring healthcare, child welfare, justice, and other systems together at a statewide level to coordinate and align efforts to ensure a timely and seamless response to young victims, their families, and caregivers no matter the system of entry.
- Identify and promote healing for victims of crime.
- Provide or coordinate prevention and intervention services to youth and families experiencing trauma and victimization.
- Build capacity within communities to meet the needs of youth exposed to violence.