Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)
he Office for Victims of Crime is charged by Congress with administering the Crime Victims Fund, a major source of funding for victim services throughout the Nation. Established by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) in 1984, the Fund supports thousands of programs annually that represent millions of dollars invested in victim compensation and assistance in every U.S. state and territory, as well as training and demonstration projects designed to enhance the skills of those who provide services to victims.
The Fund is unique in that it is composed primarily of criminal fines, special assessments, and bond forfeitures from convicted federal offenders, making it a self-sufficient source of income.1 Its main funding streams include state victim compensation and assistance formula grants; discretionary grants; support for victim-witness coordinators in U.S. Attorneys' Offices, FBI victim specialists, and the Federal Victim Notification System; and formula grants to states through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as mandated by the Children's Justice Act.
Altogether, VOCA funds support a broad array of programs and services that focus on helping victims in the immediate aftermath of crime and supporting them as they rebuild their lives. Although the specific type of outreach provided varies by need and location, the common goal of OVC and VOCA is to reach out with a compassionate, skilled, and effective response to victims who have suffered physical, sexual, emotional, and financial harm as a result of crime.
Crime Victims’ Rights
This OVC-funded database provides access to victims’ rights statutes, tribal laws, constitutional amendments, court rules, administrative code provisions, and case summaries of related court decisions.
Crime Victims’ Rights Act. Enacted in October 2004, the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (part of the Justice for All Act) authorizes program efforts to—
- Help victims assert and encourage enforcement of victims’ rights.
- Promote compliance with victims’ rights laws.
- Fund grant programs and other activities to implement provisions.
- Provides an enforcement mechanism for rights delineated in the Act.
This Act also gives victims the following rights in federal criminal cases (18 U.S.C. section 3771):
(1) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
(2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding or any parole proceeding involving the crime, or of any release or escape of the accused.
(3) The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
(4) The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
(5) The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
(6) The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
(7) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
(8) The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy.