Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)
Passed by Congress in 1984, The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) established the Crime Victims Fund (the Fund). Each year, the Fund is financed by Federal criminal fines, fees, penalties, and special assessments – not from tax dollars. The Fund is a major funding source for victim services throughout the country, supporting millions of survivors through hundreds of direct services organizations such as domestic violence shelters, rape crisis programs, victim services programs, child abuse programs and more. VOCA is administered by the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), which is housed in the Office of Justice Programs, which lives in the U.S. Department of Justice.
VOCA funding is used to support:
- State victim assistance program formula grants support providers who supply services directly to victims, including crisis intervention, emergency shelter, transportation, counseling, and victim support;
- State crime victim compensation program for reimbursing out-of-pocket expenses for victims that result from the violent crime experience. These expenses include medical costs, funerals, counseling, lost wages, etc.;
- Discretionary grants to support national scope training and technical assistance and to provide services to victims of Federal crimes;
- Victim witness coordinators in U.S. Attorneys’ Offices who assist victims of crime with understanding their rights and receiving assistance;
- Federal Bureau of Investigation victim specialists who provide assistance to victims harmed in a federal crime;
- The Federal Victim Notification System which supplies victims with free information about court dates and rulings;
- The Children’s Justice Act to improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases; and
- The Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve that supports victims who have experience violence in acts of terrorism or mass violence.
VOCA is an important funding source for programs supporting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Learn more about VOCA from the Office of Victims of Crime.