The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Reagan on October 12, 1984. This Act serves as the central source of federal financial support for direct services to victims of crime. VOCA is administered at the federal level through the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime which annually awards a grant to each State, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories. Those state agencies, in turn, subgrant to organizations that provide direct services to victims of crime. The money for these grants comes from the Crime Victims Fund, a special fund into which fines, penalty assessments, bond forfeitures collected from convicted federal offenders and certain other collections are deposited; taxpayers do not fund VOCA grants.
Each state has a designated VOCA assistance agency to administer VOCA grants. While minimal federal requirements must be met, each state is given great discretion in awarding specific subgrants. The Oregon Department of Justice is the designated agency for the administration of VOCA funds in the State of Oregon. The Crime Victims' Services Division (CVSD) of the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) has specific program responsibility for VOCA. The newly formed Competitive and Non-Competitive Advisory Committees serve as a review body to the Department and CVSD.
Congress took an unprecedented step forward in meeting the critical needs of our nation’s crime victims by increasing the VOCA cap for FY 2015. As part of the 2015 appropriations bill, Congress more than tripled the annual amount of non-taxpayer money released from the Crime Victims fund by raising the annual cap. With this unexpected increase to Oregon’s VOCA allocation CVSD has the opportunity to make significant improvements in victim assistance services as well as the responsibility to do so in an accountable and transparent manner.