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[Federal Register: May 16, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 95)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Office for Victims of Crime
Victims of Crime Act Victim Compensation Grant Program
AGENCY: Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs,
ACTION: Final program guidelines.
SUMMARY: The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), United States
Department of Justice (DOJ) is publishing Final Guidelines to implement
the crime victim compensation grant program as authorized by the
Victims of Crime Act of 1984, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 10601, et seq.,
hereafter referred to as VOCA.
EFFECTIVE DATE: These Final Guidelines are effective upon publication
in the Federal Register or until reissuance by OVC.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carol R. Watkins, Director, State
Compensation and Assistance Division, Office for Victims of Crime 810
Seventh Street, NW., Washington, DC 20531; phone: (202) 514-4696. (This
is not a toll-free number). E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) authorizes
federal financial assistance to states for the purposes of compensating
and assisting crime victims, funding training and technical assistance,
and serving victims of federal crimes. These Final Guidelines provide
information specifically for the administration and implementation of
the VOCA crime victim compensation grant program as authorized in
section 1403 of VOCA, Public Law 98-473, as amended, codified at 42
Summary of the Revisions to the Final Guidelines for the Victims of
Crime Act Crime Victim Compensation Grant Program
These Final Guidelines for the VOCA Crime Victim Compensation Grant
Program are in accordance with VOCA and are all inclusive. Thus, these
Final Guidelines supersede any VOCA Crime Victim Compensation Grant
Program Guidelines previously issued by OVC. The changes contained in
these Final Guidelines result from developments in the criminal justice
and victim services fields since the 1997 Guidelines were issued.
OVC published in the Federal Register Proposed VOCA Crime Victim
Compensation Program Guidelines that were distributed to interested
individuals and organizations for the purpose of soliciting comments.
Copies were mailed to all state VOCA victim compensation and assistance
program administrators, to executive directors of national victim
organizations, and to VOCA victim assistance subgrantee programs. OVC
received 16 responses from state VOCA victim compensation
administrators and the National Association of Crime Victim
Compensation Boards; representatives of other victim services
organizations, law enforcement, and U.S. Attorneys Offices; one local
organization representing senior citizens; and one national association
representing financial planners.
I. Comments From the Field
A. Nonviolent Crimes
VOCA administrators questioned the statutory authority to include
nonviolent crimes and the related victim expenses under VOCA crime
victim compensation funding. As a result, the Final Guidelines have
been clarified to explain that VOCA does not prohibit coverage of
nonviolent crimes and that states choosing to cover these crimes may
include amounts paid to these victims in their certified payout
figures, which are used to determine the amount of federal funding the
state is entitled to receive. Compensable expenses could include crisis
counseling, mental health treatment, financial counseling, and other
services funded by a state's program. The Final Guidelines have also
been clarified to explain that amounts paid by states to victims for
property, damaged or lost in violent or nonviolent crimes, except in
certain instances, cannot be included in a state's certified payout
figures. The Final Guidelines emphasize that priority under VOCA
continues to be coverage for victims of violent crime.
B. Encouragement From OVC To Expand Coverage
Two respondents questioned OVC's encouragement to expand coverage
of certain crimes, expenses, and victims within the Guidelines, stating
that the Guidelines establish policy, and that encouragements are
better addressed through other means. OVC has removed the
encouragements from the body of the Final Guidelines and has explained
its identification of emerging trends and unmet needs of crime victims
in a preamble. This information is provided for states to consider as
they examine their programs' responsiveness to crime victims and strive
to improve the range of assistance provided. The Final Guidelines state
that these are not mandates and emphasize that it is within the
discretion of the state to determine coverage under its compensation
statute, rule, or other established policy. The Final Guidelines also
clarify that state funds paid to crime victims for these purposes may
be included in a state's annual certification of payments to victims.
C. Victims Experiencing Financial Loss as a Result of Crime
Five respondents expressed support for inclusion of economic crime
as a compensable crime category that states may include in their annual
certification of payments. Others acknowledged that while victims of
economic crime have needs, priority must remain with meeting the needs
of victims of violent crime. As a result, economic crime is addressed
in the preamble to the Final Guidelines and the body of the Final
Guidelines emphasize that priority under VOCA is given to victims of
Respondents sought clarification on use of the term financial
planning in the proposed Guidelines. Since the term conflicts with a
term used by professional financial planners who assist with
investments, insurance, and estate planning, the term used in the Final
Guidelines has been changed to financial counseling.
The purpose of financial counseling services is to assist victims
who have to restructure their financial affairs because of a crime.
These claimants may be survivors of homicide victims or victims of
domestic violence, fraud, or other crimes. Allowable activities
provided by financial counselors include but are not limited to:
Analysis of a victim's financial situation such as income producing
capacity and crime-related financial obligations; assistance with
restructuring budget and debt; assistance in accessing insurance,
public assistance, and other benefits; assistance in completing
financial impact statements for criminal or civil courts; and
assistance in settling estates and handling guardianship concerns.
D. Victim Cooperation With Law Enforcement
One respondent commented that requiring a victim who is a
vulnerable adult to report a crime to law enforcement is unrealistic.
As a result, these Final Guidelines allow a state to accept, as an
indication of a victim's cooperation with law enforcement, a crime
report to law enforcement or to a child or adult protective services
agency from a mandated reporter or other person knowledgeable about a
crime against a child or a vulnerable adult.
A crime victim's willingness to cooperate with law enforcement may
be affected by compelling health or safety concerns including
apprehension about personal safety, fear of retaliation, and
intimidation by the offender or others. Crime victims may be reluctant
to cooperate fully with law enforcement after receiving threats of
violence or death against themselves and their families from the
Many barriers--age, psychological, cultural, and linguistic--may
affect the victim's ability to cooperate with law enforcement. There
may be unique barriers deterring a young child or senior citizen from
complying fully with law enforcement. Embarrassment, shame, and the
psychological trauma may delay the reporting of sexual assault.
Cultural and language differences may diminish a victim's access to and
understanding of the criminal justice system. In setting the standard
for victim cooperation with law enforcement, OVC encourages state
programs to determine how to address these considerations.
E. Crime Scene Cleanup
VOCA administrators requested clarification on what could be
covered under crime scene cleanup. Since state statute, rules, and
policy dictate allowable expenses for this service, the Final
Guidelines have been clarified to say that states may not include
property replacement or repair cost, except for replacement of locks
and windows, and replacement of bedding and clothing held as evidence,
in their annual certification of payments.
One respondent asked OVC to clarify if the use of federal funds
that a state receives as a result of the expenditure of state revenues
constitutes supplantation. As a result, clarifying language has been
added stating that use of federal funds received as a result of its
certified state payouts is not supplantation.
II. Legislative Changes
A. Child Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Act
This Act amended VOCA to allow for an increase in funds set aside
for child abuse victims from $10 million up to $20 million. This occurs
in any fiscal year in which Crime Victim Fund deposits are greater than
the amount deposited in Fiscal Year 1998. An amount equal to 50 percent
of the increase plus the base amount of $10 million is available for
this purpose. This applies regardless of whether there is a cap on the
amount of money made available from the Fund for VOCA purposes.
B. Consolidated Appropriations Acts of Fiscal Year 1997 and 2000
The VOCA distribution formula was amended to provide funds for
victim assistance provided through the Federal Criminal Justice System.
C. Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000
Provides: 1. Aid for victims of terrorism and expanded OVC's
authority to respond to incidents of terrorism outside the United
States and of terrorism and mass violence occurring within the United
States; 2. authorization for the OVC Director to increase money set
aside for the Antiterrorism and Emergency Fund to $100 million and to
deposit deobligated dollars from other funded program areas into this
Fund; 3. an expanded list of eligible applicants for Antiterrorism and
Emergency Funds for incidents of terrorism outside the U.S. to include,
not only states and United States Attorneys Offices, but also victim
service organizations, and public agencies (including Federal, State,
or local governments), and non-governmental organizations that provide
assistance to victims of crime for provision of emergency relief
including crisis response efforts, assistance, training and technical
assistance and on-going assistance including during any investigation
and prosecution [42 U.S.C. 10603b(a)]; 4. an expanded range of support
provided to victims of terrorism and mass violence beyond emergency
relief to include crisis response efforts, assistance, training and
technical assistance and on-going assistance; 5. for the establishment
of a program to compensate victims of acts of international terrorism
that occur outside the United States for associated expenses.
OVC will publish separate guidelines entitled Antiterrorism and
Emergency Fund Guidelines for Terrorism and Mass Violence Crimes and
for the International Crime Victim Compensation Program.
In addition, the Act establishes policy for international
trafficking in persons and provides access to services and
accommodation in immigration status for victims of severe forms of
trafficking, regardless of their immigration status. It also
establishes a new, non-immigrant visa classification for certain
victims of severe forms of trafficking.
III. Final Program Guidelines for VOCA Crime Victim Compensation Grant
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), U.S. Department of Justice
(DOJ) is publishing these Final Guidelines for the VOCA Crime Victim
Compensation Grant Program (hereinafter referred to as Final
Guidelines) to implement the victim compensation grant program as
authorized by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984, as amended, 42
U.S.C. 10601, et seq. These Final Guidelines are in accordance with
VOCA and supersede any Guidelines previously issued by OVC.
OVC has administered the VOCA crime victim compensation program for
fourteen years, funded hundreds of discretionary grants, hosted many
focus groups with experts from various fields that serve crime victims,
and responded to issues and concerns of hundreds of crime victims.
Through these contacts, OVC has identified a number of emerging trends
and unmet needs. OVC's partnership with states to meet the needs of all
crime victims has, in some cases, resulted in statutory and policy
changes. While no specific amendments have been made to VOCA to address
many of these emerging issues and needs, OVC shares this information
with states for consideration as they examine their programs'
responsiveness to crime victims and strive to improve the range of
OVC has identified emerging issues and unmet needs for the
following four groups of victims and crimes and acknowledges that many
states already compensate crime victims in some or most of these
1. Crimes Involving Threat But Not Physical Injury. Many crimes
involve threat but the victims suffer no physical injury. For example,
a stalking victim may be intimidated and harassed over the Internet but
not physically attacked by the stalker and a robbery victim may be
threatened with a weapon but not physically injured. Another example
would be incidents such as school and workplace shootings in which many
people are in danger but not all are physically injured or killed. In
property related hate crimes, windows may be broken and graffiti
painted on a home, with the intent to intimidate and cause fear in a
person or family. In all of these instances, persons may be seriously
traumatized by a crime but not be physically injured. States are
encouraged to consider the safety and mental health needs of these
2. Witnesses to Violence. The primary group considered under this
category is children who witness domestic violence. In addition, in
mass violence incidents, others impacted by the violence may be
considered victims. States are encouraged to consider the mental health
and other needs of these victims.
3. Economic Crime. Increasing attention is being directed by law
enforcement officials to economic crime. While anyone can be a victim
of financial fraud, often criminals target elders specifically. In
addition, identity theft can damage or destroy the financial integrity
of many unsuspecting adults. Economic crime can have a devastating
impact on victims emotionally, physically, and financially. States are
encouraged to consider the needs of these victims.
4. State Residents Who Are Victims of Crime Outside U.S.
Jurisdiction. As required by VOCA, all states provide benefits under
their crime victim compensation programs for victims of terrorism
occurring outside the United States. Because state residents function
in a global society, OVC encourages coverage of residents who are
victims of crimes other than terrorism that occur when they are outside
the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. This would allow coverage to
residents who are studying, conducting business, touring, and living
abroad. It would also cover victims of crimes occurring on
Again, OVC's purpose in identifying the above emerging trends and
unmet needs of crime victims is to challenge states to assess the
comprehensiveness of their crime victim compensation programs and to
provide needed background information for those states desiring to
expand the scope of crimes and benefits provided to people victimized
by crime. The identification of these issues does not constitute a
mandate or requirement of states beyond the statutory requirements
outlined in VOCA.
These VOCA Final Guidelines are outlined as follows:
III. Funding Allocations
IV. State Eligibility Criteria
V. State Certification
VI. Application Process and Performance Reporting
VII. Administrative Costs
VIII. Financial Requirements
X. Suspension and Termination of Funding
For purposes of these Final Guidelines, the following terms are
A. Driving While Intoxicated. This includes drunk driving and
driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs. Specific
definitions may be provided by state statutes, written rules, or other
B. Federal Crime. A federal crime is any crime that is a violation
of the United States Criminal Code or violation of the Code of Military
Justice. In general, federal crimes are investigated by federal law
enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), U.S. Postal Service (USPS), Department of
Interior (DOI), U.S. Secret Service (USSS), U.S. Customs Service
(USCS), and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Federal
crimes are prosecuted in Federal District Courts by U.S. Attorneys and
the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division. Examples of Federal
crimes include, but are not limited to:
1. Crimes against Federal officials
2. Crimes that take place on Federal property, including national parks
and military bases, certain maritime and territorial jurisdictions, and
buildings owned or leased by the Federal Government
3. Bank robberies where the bank is insured or otherwise secured by the
4. Crimes affecting interstate activities, such as kidnaping,
interstate domestic violence, and fraud via U.S. mail, telephone, or
5. Crimes occurring in Indian Country or on reservations, where the
Federal Government has criminal jurisdiction
6. Trafficking of persons
C. Federal Program, or a federally financed State or local program
is a program that provides third party reimbursement for victim
expenses and includes such funding sources as Medicaid, Medicare, and
CHAMPUS or provides direct Federal appropriations for organizations
that provide direct services such as Indian Health Service and the
D. Mass Violence occurring within or outside the United States. The
term mass violence is not defined in VOCA or in any statute amending
VOCA nor is it defined in the U.S. Criminal Code. Thus, OVC has
developed a working definition of this term. The term mass violence
means an intentional violent criminal act, for which a formal
investigation has been opened by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or
other law enforcement agency, that results in physical, emotional or
psychological injury to a sufficiently large number of people as to
significantly increase the burden of victim assistance and compensation
for the responding jurisdiction. If there is a discrepancy between the
definition provided in these Final Guidelines and the Antiterrorism and
Emergency Fund Guidelines for Terrorism and Mass Violence Crimes, the
definition in the Antiterrorism and Emergency Fund Guidelines takes
E. Mental Health Counseling and Care. Mental health counseling and
care mean the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of an individual's
mental and emotional functioning. Mental health counseling and care
must be provided by a person who meets state standards to provide these
F. Property Damage and Loss. Property damage is damage to material
goods. Property loss is destruction of material goods or loss of money,
stocks, bonds, etc. Property damage does not include damage to
prosthetic devices, eyeglasses, other corrective lenses, dental
devices, or other medically related devices.
G. Restitution. Restitution is payment made by the offender to the
victim who was injured in the crime, to the legal guardian of a
vulnerable adult or child victim, or to beneficiaries of the victim of
homicide. Restitution does not refer to the general collection of
fines, fees, and other penalties from offenders that provide basic
revenue for a compensation program and are not attributable to
reimbursement of payouts on a specific claim.
H. State. The term state includes the 50 states, the District of
Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and any other
possession or territory of the United States.
I. Terrorism occurring within the United States. The term terrorism
means an activity that... (1) involves a violent act or an act
dangerous to human life that is a violation of the criminal laws of the
United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if
committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any State;
and (2) appears to be intended ... (a) to intimidate or coerce a
civilian population, (b) to influence the policy of a government by
intimidation or coercion, or (c) to affect the conduct of a government
by assassination or kidnaping (18 U.S.C. 3077).
J. Terrorism Occurring Outside the United States. The Antiterrorism
and Emergency Reserve Fund Guidelines for Terrorism and Mass Violence
refers to the term terrorism, when occurring outside the United States,
as international terrorism to mean an activity that... (1) involves a
violent act or an act dangerous to human life that is a violation of
the criminal laws of the United States of any State, or that would be a
criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United
States or of any State; (2) appears to be intended ... (a) to
intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (b) to influence the policy
of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (c) to affect the
conduct of a government by assassination or kidnaping; and (3) occur
primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or
transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are
accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce,
or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum (18
In 1984, VOCA established the Crime Victims Fund (hereinafter
referred to as the Fund) in the U.S. Treasury to receive deposits from
fines, penalties, and bond forfeitures levied on criminals convicted of
federal crimes. The Fund is administered by OVC to support the
activities authorized by VOCA.
OVC makes annual VOCA crime victim compensation grants from the
Fund to eligible states and territories. The primary purpose of these
grants is to supplement state efforts to provide financial assistance
and reimbursement to crime victims throughout the Nation for costs
associated with crime, and to encourage victim cooperation and
participation in the criminal justice system.
With the exception of most property damage and loss as explained in
these Final Guidelines, state crime victim compensation programs may
use VOCA compensation grant funds to pay for eligible expenses allowed
by state compensation statute, rule, or other established policy.
III. Funding Allocations
A. Distribution. By statute, deposits are to be allocated as
1. Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Grants. Up to $20 million
\1\ of the first amounts deposited in the Fund are allocated to Child
Abuse Prevention and Treatment Grants. Of these funds, 85 percent are
forwarded to the Department of Health and Human Services. The remaining
15 percent is retained by OVC to assist Native American Indian tribes
in developing, establishing and operating child abuse programs.
\1\ In any fiscal year in which Fund deposits are greater than
the amount deposited in fiscal year 1998, an amount equal to 50
percent of the increase in the amount from fiscal year 1998 shall be
available for Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Grants in
addition to the base amount of $10 million. The total amount
allocated for Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment grants for any
fiscal year cannot exceed $20 million.
2. Federal Criminal Justice System. Specific amounts are earmarked
by Congress annually for improving services for the benefit of crime
victims in the Federal criminal justice system.
3. Remaining Fund Deposits. The remaining fund deposits are
distributed as follows:
a. Victim Compensation Grants. Forty-eight and one half percent
(48.5%) is available to eligible state programs for crime victim
b. Victim Assistance Grants. Forty-eight and one half percent
(48.5%) is available to states for victim assistance grants. Unused
funds from the victim compensation portion of the deposits are added to
c. Discretionary Grants. Three percent (3%) is available to OVC for
demonstration projects, training and technical assistance grants, and
financial support for services to victims of federal crime.
d. Antiterrorism and Emergency Fund. If monies in the Fund are
sufficient to fully provide VOCA grants to the states, and deposits
total 110 percent of the previous fiscal year, or if any funds are
deobligated, the OVC director may retain up to $100 million in an
emergency fund. These funds are to be used (1) for Victims of terrorism
within and outside the United States and for victims of other mass
violence crimes; (2) for supplementing State Compensation and
Assistance Programs' basic state compensation and assistance awards at
the discretion of the OVC Director; and (3) to pay benefits under the
newly authorized international compensation program.
B. Grant Period. Victim compensation grant funds are available for
expenditure throughout the fiscal year (FY) of the award plus the next
three fiscal years. The federal fiscal year (FFY) begins on October 1
and ends on September 30. State crime victim compensation programs may
pay compensation claims retroactively to October 1, even though the
VOCA grant may not be awarded until later in the fiscal year.
C. VOCA Victim Compensation Grant Formula. The Director of OVC is
required to make an annual grant to eligible crime victim compensation
programs that is equal to 40 percent of the amount awarded by the state
program to victims of crime from state revenues during the fiscal year
preceding the year of deposits in the Fund (two years prior to the
grant year). If the amount in the Fund is insufficient to award each
state 40 percent of its prior year's compensation payout from state
revenues, all states will be awarded the same reduced percentage of
their prior year payout from the available funds.
To determine the amount available, each state must submit with its
annual application a certification of the amount expended by the crime
victim compensation program in the previous federal fiscal year. See
Section V. for additional information.
IV. State Eligibility Criteria
A. Grantee. The grantee must be an operational state-administered
crime victim compensation program. A new compensation program is
entitled to a VOCA grant after it has awarded benefits that can be
matched under VOCA. VOCA may not be used as start-up funds for a new
state compensation program. In the event that a state chooses to
administer its compensation program in a decentralized fashion, the
state remains accountable to VOCA for expenditure of these funds.
B. Program Requirements. For a state to meet or maintain
eligibility for a VOCA crime victim compensation grant, it must satisfy
the following requirements:
1. Compensable Crimes.
(a) VOCA Mandated Crimes. At a minimum, VOCA specifically requires
the grantee to offer compensation to crime victims and survivors of
victims of criminal violence for certain identified expenses (see
below) resulting from physical injury from a compensable crime as
defined by the state. VOCA requires that states include as compensable
crimes those crimes whose victims suffer death or physical injury as a
result of terrorism, driving while intoxicated, and domestic violence.
In addition, VOCA requires that states include as compensable
crimes those crimes whose victims suffer death or personal injury as a
result of the intentional or attempted defacement, damage, or
destruction of any religious real property because of (1) its religious
character or the obstruction, by force or threat of force, of any
person's enjoyment of the free exercise of religious beliefs when the
crime is covered by interstate or foreign commerce; (2) the race,
color, or ethnic characteristics of any individual associated with the
(b) Coverage of Other Crimes. VOCA places priority on violent
crime, but it does not prohibit coverage of nonviolent
crime. States may choose to broaden the range of compensable crimes to
include those involving threats of injury or economic crime where
victims are traumatized but not physically injured. In doing so, they
may include payments to victims for compensable expenses for these
crimes on the state's certification of funds expended for the
2. Compensable Expenses.
(a) VOCA Mandated Expenses. At a minimum, VOCA requires states to
award compensation for the following expenses when they are
attributable to a physical injury resulting from a compensable crime:
i. Medical Expenses. This may include eyeglasses and other
corrective lenses, dental services, prosthetic or other devices, and
other services rendered in accordance with a method of healing
recognized by state law.
ii. Mental health counseling and care.
iii. Lost wages.
iv. Funeral expenses attributable to a death resulting from a
(b) Other Allowable Expenses. State grantees may offer compensation
for other types of expenses as authorized by state statute, rule, or
other established policy.
(i) Property Damage and Loss. Amounts awarded for property damage
and loss cannot be included in the amount certified as a basis for the
award of VOCA compensation grants except as listed under Section
IV.B.2(b)(ii)4&5 of these Final Guidelines.
(ii) In addition to VOCA mandated expenses, other allowable
expenses may be included in the certified payout amount such as:
1. Travel and transport for survivors of homicide victims to secure
bodies of deceased victims from another country or state.
2. Temporary lodging.
3. Necessary building modification and equipment to accommodate
physical disabilities resulting from a compensable crime.
4. Replacement costs for clothing and bedding held as evidence.
5. Replacement or repair of windows and locks.
6. Crime scene cleanup, as defined by state statute, rule or other
established policy. Crime scene cleanup does not include replacement of
lost or damaged property, except for locks and windows, and for
clothing and bedding held as evidence.
7. Attorneys' fees related to a victim's claim for compensation,
for establishing guardianship, settling estates, and other activities
related to the crime.
8. Payments related to forensic sexual assault examinations (1) If
such payments are made from funds administered by the compensation
programs and are allowable under state statute, rule, or other
established policy; and (2) to the extent that other funding sources
such as state appropriations specifically earmarked for these exams are
unavailable or insufficient.
9. Dependent care to allow victims to participate in criminal
justice activities or secure medical treatment and rehabilitation
10. Financial counseling services for victims of economic crime,
domestic violence, survivors of homicide victims, and other victims
faced with financial difficulty as a result of a crime. Allowable
activities provided to crime victims by financial counselors include
but are not limited to: analysis of a victim's financial situation such
as income producing capacity and crime related financial obligations;
assistance with restructuring budget and debt; assistance in accessing
insurance, public assistance and other benefits; assistance in
completing financial impact statements for criminal courts; and
assistance in settling estates and handling guardianship concerns.
Financial counseling must be provided by a person who meets state
standards for provision of this service.
11. Pain and suffering.
12. Annuities for loss of support for children of victims of
3. Victim Cooperation With Law Enforcement. Crime victim
compensation programs must promote victim cooperation with the
reasonable requests of law enforcement authorities. State crime victim
compensation programs maintain the authority and discretion to
establish their own standards for victim cooperation with the
reasonable requests of law enforcement.
VOCA's cooperation with the reasonable requests of law enforcement
requirement may be fulfilled by using the following criteria or by any
other criteria the state believes is necessary and acceptable to
encourage and document victim cooperation with law enforcement. For
example, a state may:
a. Require a victim to report the crime to a law enforcement
b. Require a victim to report the crime to an appropriate
government agency, such as child and/or adult protective services,
family court, or juvenile court;
c. In the case of a child or a vulnerable adult, accept a crime
report to law enforcement or to a child or adult protective services
agency from a mandated reporter or other person knowledgeable about the
d. Accept proof of the completion of a medical evidentiary
examination, such as medical reports, x-rays, medical photographs, and
other clinical assessments as evidence of cooperation with law
4. Nonsupplantation. The state must certify that grants received
under VOCA will not be used to supplant state funds otherwise available
to provide crime victim compensation benefits or to administer the
state crime victim compensation program. States may not decrease their
financial commitment to crime victim compensation solely because they
are receiving VOCA funds for the same purpose. Expenditure of VOCA
funds received based on state certified payouts from previous years
does not constitute supplantation.
5. Compensation for Residents Victimized Outside Their Own State. A
state must provide compensation to state residents who are victims of
crimes occurring outside the state if the crimes would be compensable
crimes had they occurred inside that state and the crimes (1) occurred
in a state without an eligible VOCA crime victim compensation program,
or (2) in cases of terrorism, occurred outside the territorial
jurisdiction of the United States. The state must make these awards
according to the same criteria used to make awards to those who are
victimized while in the state.
6. Compensation for Nonresidents of a State. The state, in making
awards for compensable crimes occurring within the state, must make
compensation awards to nonresidents of the state on the basis of the
same criteria used to make awards to victims who are residents of the
7. Victims of Federal Crime. The state must provide compensation to
victims of federal crimes occurring within the state on the same basis
that the program provides compensation to victims of state crimes.
8. Unjust Enrichment. States cannot deny compensation to a victim
based on the victim's familial relationship to the offender or because
the victim shares a residence with the offender. States must adopt a
rule or other written policy to avoid unjust enrichment of the
offender, but it cannot have the effect of denying compensation to a
substantial percentage of victims of violence perpetrated by family
members or others with whom the victim shares a residence. In
developing a rule, or other written policy, states are encouraged to
consider the following:
a. The legal responsibilities of the offender to the victim under
the laws of the state and collateral resources available from the
offenders to the victim. For example, legal responsibilities of the
include court-ordered restitution or family support under the domestic,
marital property or child support laws of the state. Collateral
resources may include insurance or pension benefits available to the
offender to cover the costs incurred by the victim as a result of the
crime. Victims of family violence must not be penalized when collateral
sources of payment are not viable. Examples of such situations include
when the offender refuses to, or cannot, pay restitution or other civil
judgments within a reasonable period of time or when the offender
impedes direct or third party (i.e., insurance) payments.
b. Payments to victims of family violence that only minimally or
inconsequentially benefit offenders. These payments are not considered
unjust enrichment. For example, denial of medical or dental expenses
solely because the offender has legal responsibility for the charges,
but is unwilling or unable to pay them, could result in the victim not
receiving treatment. When indicated, the state has the option of
seeking reimbursement from the offender.
c. Consultation with social services and other concerned government
entities, and with private organizations that support and advocate on
behalf of victims of violence perpetrated by family members.
d. The special needs of child witnesses to violence and child
victims of criminal violence, especially when the perpetrator is a
parent who may or may not live in the same residence.
9. Discrimination Prohibited. No person shall on the grounds of
race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or sex, be excluded
from participation in, denied the benefits of, subjected to
discrimination under, or denied employment in connection with, any
undertaking funded in whole or in part with sums made available under
VOCA. States must comply with these VOCA nondiscrimination
requirements, the Federal civil rights statutes and regulations cited
in the Assurances that accompany the grant award document, and all
other applicable civil rights requirements. States with decentralized
operations must assure that all operations comply with these
10. Additional Information Requested by the OVC Director. The state
must provide other information and assurances as the Director of OVC
may reasonably require.
C. VOCA Funds and Collateral Federal Programs
1. Means Testing. Federal, state, or local government programs that
use federal funds are prohibited from including victim compensation
benefits when determining income eligibility for an applicant, until
the total amount of medical or other assistance that the applicant
receives from all programs is sufficient to fully compensate the
applicant for losses suffered as a result of the crime. VOCA requires
this policy when an applicant needs medical or other assistance, in
full or in part, because of the commission of a crime against the
applicant. VOCA gives the OVC Director authority to determine whether
such medical or other assistance is necessary to an applicant for
victim compensation because of the commission of a crime against the
applicant. Through these Final Guidelines, the Director's authority is
delegated to state VOCA crime victim compensation administrators.
2. Payor of Last Resort. The compensation program is the payor of
last resort with regard to federal or federally financed programs. When
a victim is eligible to receive benefits from a federal program such as
Veterans' benefits, Medicare, and Social Security Disability or
federally financed state or local program, such as Medicaid the state
compensation program shall not use VOCA funds to pay costs that another
federal or federally financed program covers. The federal or federally
financed program must make payments without regard to benefits awarded
to a crime victim by a state crime victim compensation program.
To facilitate victim access to other funding resources, OVC
recommends that VOCA compensation administrators coordinate their
activities and provide appropriate referrals to other programs that
provide financial assistance and services to crime victims, whether
funded by federal, state or local governments. Examples of such
programs include worker's compensation, vocational rehabilitation, and
VOCA victim assistance subgrantee programs. Outreach to other programs
can result in mutual understanding of eligibility requirements,
application processing, time lines, and other program specific
requirements. As payor of last resort, it is in the compensation
program's discretion to make exception for victim needs that are not
adequately met by collateral sources. Additionally, this provision does
not mandate that states require victims to apply for or use other
federally funded programs prior to accessing the crime victim
V. State Certifications
State grantees must provide information about crime victim
compensation claim payouts including all available funding sources,
deductions, and recovery costs on a certification form provided by OVC.
The Office of Budget and Management Services, Office of Justice
Programs, uses this information to calculate allocations for VOCA
eligible crime victim compensation programs.
A. Program Revenue. States must report on the certification form
all sources of revenue to the crime victims compensation programs
during the federal fiscal year. In some instances, funds are made
available to the crime victim compensation programs from other
departments or agencies, from supplemental appropriations, donations,
or unspent funds carried over from prior years. The amount of certified
revenue, excluding VOCA funds, but including all other sources,
including carried over funds, must meet or exceed the amount of
certified payments to crime victims.
B. Program Expenditures. The total amount to be certified by the
state program must include only those amounts paid from state funding
sources that are allowable under Section IV.B.1&2 to, or on behalf of,
crime victims during the federal fiscal year (October 1 to September
C. Amounts to be Excluded. Compensation for property damage or loss
except for items found in Section IV.B.2.(b)ii.4&5 of these Final
Guidelines; audit costs; personnel costs; costs related to the
collection of offender fines, fees, penalties, and other revenues that
provide basic program funding; and, any other program administrative
D. Deductions. Deductions are receipts or refunds that offset or
reduce expense items that are allocable to a particular crime victim
compensation claim. These include funds received through a state's
subrogation interest in a claimant's civil law suit recovery,
restitution, refunds, or other reimbursements. For purposes of
applicable credits, the term restitution means payment made by the
offender to the victim who was injured in the crime, to the legal
guardian of a vulnerable adult or child, or to beneficiaries of the
victim of homicide.
Restitution does not refer to the costs of general collection of
fines, fees and other penalties from offenders that provides the basic
revenue for the compensation program and are not attributable to
reimbursement of payouts on a specific claim. Refunds include amounts
from overpayment, erroneous payments made to claimants, and uncashed
checks. Additional guidance regarding applicable credits
can be found in OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State and Local
F. Recovery Costs. Salary and benefits costs for personnel directly
involved in recovery efforts may be offset against the amount of income
received from such reimbursement. Recovery efforts are those activities
that are directly attributable to obtaining restitution, refunds, and
other reimbursements for the expenses of specific crime victims who
have received compensation from the state program. Expenses shall be
limited to the percentage of those salaries and benefits incurred by
the state for individual employees whose primary responsibilities (not
less than 75 percent of each individual employee's work time) are
directly and specifically related to recovering restitution and other
reimbursements on behalf of compensated victims. Additional allowable
recovery costs are garnishment fees, service of legal documents, costs
of legal publication, and subpoena fees related to collecting
reimbursements. Recovery costs cannot be claimed for employees whose
salary and benefits are derived from federal administrative grant
funds. Recovery costs do not include the collection of fines, fees, and
other penalties that provide the basic revenue for the compensation
program and are not identifiable to reimbursement of payouts on a
specific victim claim.
G. Sources of Payments to Crime Victims. There is no financial
requirement that state compensation programs identify the source of
individual payments to crime victims as either federal or state
dollars, nor are there any requirements that restitution recoveries or
other refunds be tracked to federal or state dollars paid out to the
H. Incorrect Certifications. If it is determined that a state has
made an incorrect certification of payments of crime victims
compensation from state funding sources and a VOCA crime victim
compensation grant is awarded in error, one of the following two
courses of action will be taken:
1. Overcertification. In the event that an overcertification comes
to the attention of OVC or the Office of the Comptroller, OJP, the
necessary steps will be taken to recover funds that were awarded in
error. OVC does not have the authority to permit states to keep amounts
they were not entitled to as a result of overcertification. Generally,
it is the policy of OVC to reduce the amount of the subsequent year
VOCA victim compensation award by the amount of the overpayment.
2. Undercertification. If a state undercertifies amounts paid to
crime victims, OVC and the Office of the Comptroller, OJP, will not
supplement payments to the state to correct the state's error since
this would require recalculating allocations to every state VOCA
compensation and assistance program and cause disruption in
administration of these programs.
VI. Application Process and Performance Reporting
A. Application for Federal Assistance. Each year, OVC issues to
each eligible state an application package that contains the necessary
forms and detailed information required to apply for VOCA crime victim
compensation grant funds. The amount for which each state may apply is
included with the application package. States shall use the Standard
Form 424, Application for Federal Assistance, and its attachments to
apply for VOCA victim compensation grant funds. Applications for VOCA
crime victim compensation grants may only be submitted by the state
agency designated by the governor to administer the VOCA victim
compensation program and grant.
Completed applications must be submitted on or before the stated
deadline, as determined by OVC. If an eligible state fails to apply for
its crime victim compensation allocation by the prescribed deadline,
OVC will redistribute federal VOCA crime victim compensation dollars to
the VOCA victim assistance grant program, after all states have
received the statutorily prescribed percentage of their prior years'
B. Annual Performance Report. States receiving VOCA crime victim
compensation grant funds must submit an annual OVC Performance Report.
The Performance Report is due January 15 of each year for the preceding
federal fiscal year.
VII. Administrative Costs
A. Administrative Costs Allowance. VOCA allows states to use up to
5 percent of crime victim compensation grant funds for administering
the crime victim compensation grant program. Any portion of the
allowable 5 percent that is not used for administrative purposes must
be used for awards of compensation to crime victims.
The intent of this provision is to support and advance program
administration in all operational areas including claims processing,
staff development and training, public outreach, and program funding by
supporting activities that will improve program effectiveness and
service to crime victims. If a state elects to use up to 5 percent of
the VOCA compensation grant for administrative purposes, only those
costs directly associated with administering the program, enhancing
overall program operations, and ensuring compliance with federal
requirements can be expended with administrative grant funds. State
grantees are not required to match the portion of the grant that is
used for administrative purposes. The state administrative agency may
charge a federally approved indirect cost rate to this grant, but this
cost is capped by the limits of these 5 percent administrative funds.
States must certify that VOCA funds used for administrative
purposes will not supplant state or local funds but increase the amount
of funds available for administering the compensation program. For the
purpose of establishing a baseline level of effort, states must
maintain documentation on the overall administrative commitment of the
state prior to their use of VOCA administrative grant funds. State
grantees will not be in violation of the nonsupplantation clause if
there is a decrease in the state's previous financial commitment toward
the administration of the VOCA grant programs in the following
situations: (1) if serious loss of revenue occurs at the state level,
resulting in across-the-board budget restrictions, and (2) if there is
a decrease in the number of state-supported staff positions used to
meet the state's effort in administering the VOCA grant programs. State
grantees using administrative funds must notify OVC if there is a
decrease in the amount of its previous state financial commitment to
the cost of administering the VOCA program.
Only staff activities directly related to compensation functions
can be funded with VOCA administrative funds. Similarly, any equipment
purchases or other expenditures charged to the VOCA administrative
funds can be charged only in proportion to the percentage of time used
by the compensation program.
B. Allowable Costs. Allowable administrative costs include but are
not limited to, the following:
1. Salaries and benefits for staff and consultant fees to
administer and manage the financial and programmatic aspects of the
crime victim compensation program. Staff supported by administrative
funds under the VOCA crime victim compensation grant must work directly
for the compensation program in the same proportion as their level of
support from VOCA grant funds. If the staff performs
other functions unrelated to the provision of compensation to crime
victims, the proportion of time spent working on the compensation
program must be documented using some reasonable method of valuation at
regular measurable intervals, e.g., time and attendance records. The
documentation must provide a clear audit trail for the expenditure of
Temporary or periodic personnel support, such as qualified peer
reviewers for medical and mental health claims, and data processing
support services are also allowable. These services may be obtained
through means deemed acceptable by state administrative procedures.
2. Training and technical assistance includes attendance at
training and technical assistance meetings and conferences that address
issues relevant to state administration of victim compensation
programs. Allowable costs may include travel, registration fees, and
other such expenses.
3. Monitoring compliance with federal and state requirements.
4. Automation, including the study, design, and implementation of
claims processing and other relevant systems; purchase and maintenance
of equipment for the state grantee, including computers, software, FAX
machines, copying machines, and TTYs; and services required to support
the use of technology to enhance services to crime victims.
5. Training to victim services providers, criminal justice
personnel, and health, mental health and social services providers
about the crime victim compensation program.
6. Memberships in crime victim organizations and victim-related
7. Prorated program audit costs for the crime victim compensation
8. Indirect costs at a federally approved rate that, when applied,
does not exceed the 5 percent administrative cost allowance.
9. Participation in improving coordination efforts on behalf of
crime victims with other federal, state, and local agencies and
organizations. This includes development of protocols, policies, and
procedures that promote coordination of victim compensation with other
financial and victim service programs that improve responses to crime
victims. Such participation includes the development and coordination
of criminal crisis response teams.
10. Informational materials including development of applications,
brochures, posters, training manuals and other relevant publications
that describe the compensation application process, eligibility
criteria, and the range of benefits available for crime victims. This
includes related printing costs.
11. Development of strategic and financial plans, conduct of
surveys, and needs assessments, survey of victim satisfaction with the
program, and employment of geographic information systems (GIS)
technology for planning.
12. Toll-free telephone numbers, Internet access to claim
information, and other such program enhancements.
C. Requirements to Notify OVC of Use of Administrative Funds. State
grantees that elect to use administrative funds under the VOCA
compensation grant are required to include with their annual
application, notification of their intent to use administrative funds,
the percentage of funds, and the purposes for which they will be used.
Grantees will be expected to include in their annual performance
report, documentation of actual use of administrative funds.
D. Confidentiality of Research Information. Except as otherwise
provided by federal law, no officer or employee of the Federal
Government or recipient of monies under VOCA shall use or reveal any
research or statistical information gathered under this program by any
person, and identifiable to any specific private person, for any
purpose other than the purpose for which such information was obtained,
in accordance with VOCA. Such information, and any copy of such
information, shall be immune from legal process and shall not, without
the consent of the person furnishing such information, be admitted as
evidence or used for any purpose in any action, suit, or other
judicial, legislative, or administrative proceeding.
This provision is intended, among other things, to assure
confidentiality of information provided by crime victims to employees
of VOCA-funded victim compensation programs. However, there is nothing
in VOCA or its legislative history to indicate that Congress intended
to override or repeal, in effect, a state's existing law governing the
disclosure of information, which is supportive of VOCA's fundamental
goal of helping crime victims. For example, this provision would not
act to override or repeal, in effect, a state's existing law pertaining
to the mandatory reporting of a suspected child abuse. See Pennhurst
State School and Hospital vs. Halderman, et al., 451 U.S. 1 (1981).
VIII. Financial Requirements
As a condition of receiving a grant, states must agree to ensure
adherence to the general and specific requirements of the OJP Financial
Guide (effective edition) and all applicable OMB Circulars and Common
Rules. This includes the maintenance of books and records in accordance
with generally accepted government accounting principles. For copies of
the OJP Financial Guide, call or write the OJP Office of the
Comptroller, 810 7th Street NW., Washington, DC 20531, Customer Service
Center 1/800-458-0786; or visit the website at: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/
A. Office of the Comptroller/General Accounting Office/Office of
the Inspector General. The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of
Justice Programs, Office of the Comptroller; the General Accounting
Office; and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector
General, conduct periodic reviews of the financial policies and
procedures and records of VOCA state grantees. Therefore, upon request,
states must provide authorized representatives with access to examine
all records, books, papers, case files, or other documents related to
the expenditure of funds received under this grant.
B. Office for Victims of Crime. OVC conducts onsite monitoring in
accordance with its monitoring plan. While on the site, OVC personnel
review various documents and files including (1) Program manuals; (2)
procedures; (3) program reports; (4) claimant application, eligibility
requirements, and determination and appeal process; (5) a random
sampling of victim compensation claim files; and (6) other applicable
state records and files. Grantees are notified in writing of their
compliance with requirements of VOCA.
X. Suspension and Termination of Funding
If, after reasonable notice to the grantee, OVC finds that a state
has failed to comply substantially with the following: VOCA, the
state's application for funding, the OJP Financial Guide (effective
edition), the Final VOCA Crime Victim Compensation Grant Program
Guidelines, or any implementing regulation or federal requirements, the
OVC Director may suspend or terminate funding to the state and/or take
other appropriate action. Under the procedures of 28 CFR part 18,
states may request a hearing on the record on the justification for the
suspension and/or termination of VOCA funds.
Dated: May 10, 2001.
Kathryn M. Turman,
Director, Office for Victims of Crime.
[FR Doc. 01-12256 Filed 5-15-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-18-P
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