Victims Crime Act has been major funding source to help crime victims

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Special to the Journal

It is not often that most of society will set aside money for a crime that might committed against them.

Through no fault of their own, it certainly does not seem fair for money to come out of our own pockets if we or someone in our family has been a victim of a violent crime.

The Victims Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA), is a major funding source for victim services throughout the country.

The funds come directly from criminal fines, forfeited bail bonds, penalties, and special assessments collected by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, federal U.S. courts, and the Federal Bureau of Prison.

These funds do not come out of our tax dollars.

They come from offenders convicted of federal crimes.

The Crime Victims Compensation fund reimburses to or on behalf of a crime victim for expenses such as: Medical costs, funeral and burial costs, mental health counseling, lost wages or loss of support.

One may contact the Alabama Compensation Commission to fined out more about how to claim for expenses.

All fifty states receive VOCA Victim Assistance and Compensation Grants.

To receive grants a state must provide services for victims of federal crimes and compensation to people who are victimized within the state, even if the victim resides in another state.

Victim Assistance Grants provides funding for, but is not limited to, crisis intervention, emergency shelter, emergency transportation, counseling, criminal justice and advocacy.

Funding for the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) also comes from the Victims fund, which was established by VOCA to support victim services and training for advocates and professionals.

Congress formerly established the OVC in 1988 through an amendment to the 1984 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) to provide leadership and funding on behalf of crime victims.

The Victims Crime Act (VOCA) is the federal grant program supporting direct assistance services to victims of all types of crimes.

Some 4,400 local programs now depend on VOCA assistance grants annually to provide services to nearly 4 million victims of domestic violence, sexual assistance, child abuse, drunk driving, elder abuse, and robberies and survivors of homicide victims, etc.

The United States Congress allocates funds to the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) from fees and fines that are collected from federal defendants.

We wish to thank our Congressman and women for their leadership in keeping the OVC Fund strong.

Without these funds, crime victims and programs that support them across the nation will not receive the benefits they need.

You can help!

Let your Congressman know of your support for the Crime Victims Fund.

If you have any questions, feel free to call the Victim Service Unit at (334) 335-2921.