Crime victim funding up 500 percent; grant applications open

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Funding for victims of crime will rise from $8 million last year to $40 million in 2015, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute announced Monday, opening the first of two cycles of applications for grant funding.

Created under the federal 1984 Victims of Crime Act, grants to organizations providing direct services to crime victims this year will be the highest ever for the program, according to a statement from CJI, which administers the grant program. Last year, the institute awarded grants to 155 recipients.

Funding for the program comes entirely from federal crime fines, forfeitures and special assessments.

“It’s exciting in a sense,” CJI spokesman Adam Baker said. “One of the messages we try to get from the institute is, as a victim, services are available. There is support available.”

VOCA funding focuses on efforts that respond to the emotional and physical needs of crime victims, assist in the stabilization of primary and secondary victims, provide victims direction in understanding and participating in the criminal justice system, and provide victims with a measure of safety and security. Supported programs include those working in the area of elder abuse, child neglect, adults victimized as children, and victims of abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, violent crimes, robbery, intoxicated drivers, and economic exploitation and fraud.

Organizations eligible to receive funding include state, public, and nonprofit institutions whose sole mission is to provide services to victims of crime; criminal justice departments, such as law enforcement agencies, prosecutor’s offices, courts, corrections departments, and probation/parole agencies; and organizations providing mental health support, legal assistance, and programs with a history of advocacy on behalf of domestic violence and sexual assault victims.

The institute said it is continually looking for new and innovative programs that support victims of crime. Past recipients and those wishing to establish creative solutions may apply. Information about applying for grants through the institute is available online.

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