Flordia Gets $31 Million To Support Crime Victims
Florida received $19,116,000 in victim assistance funds and $13,256,000 in victim compensation funds, the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has announced. The funds, awarded by OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), will provide support and services to thousands of victims throughout the state.
“Since the Crime Victims Fund was established, crime victims in Florida have received over $221 million in services and economic assistance,” said OJP Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels. “The Justice Department is pleased to support both the collection efforts for the Crime Victims Fund, which provides these program dollars, and the allocation of these resources to help Florida’s crime victims.”
Florida uses its crime victim assistance funds to support statewide and local initiatives, including domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, child abuse victims programs and other initiatives that provide counseling, advocacy or emergency transportation to victims.
Florida can also use these funds for innovative efforts such as sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) programs or victim service units in law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices and social service agencies.
Florida’s compensation program receives annual grants equal to 60 percent of its total payout to crime victims in a previous year. Compensation programs work similarly to private insurance, providing reimbursement to, or on behalf of, crime victims for expenses such as medical costs, mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs, and lost wages.
“These grants play a critical role in aiding crime victims in Florida, be it through direct victim support or through community-based efforts that provide care and comfort,” said OVC Director John W. Gillis.
Money for these annual awards comes from the Crime Victims Fund — which is supported primarily by fines paid by federal criminal offenders — not taxpayers. The fines are collected by United States Attorneys’ Offices, the U.S. Courts and the Bureau of Prisons. Fines collected in one year are deposited into the Fund and are available for grant awards the following year. The USA Patriot Act of 2001 allowed private gifts, donations and bequests to the Crime Victims Fund.
Over 90 percent of Fund deposits are distributed annually by OVC to states and territories to support state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
Remaining funds are used for training and technical assistance, national demonstration projects and to improve handling of child abuse cases in Indian communities. In addition, these funds support victim witness coordinator and advocate positions for U.S. Attorney Offices, victim specialist positions in the FBI and a federal victim notification system.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises 5 component bureaus and 2 offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, and the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education.