The Government of the United States Virgin Islands through the Law Enforcement Planning Commission will utilize grant funds under the OVC VOCA Victim Assistance Grant (VOCA) to support eligible crime victim assistance programs in the territory. Eligible crime victim assistance programs are those that are “operated by a public agency or a nonprofit organization, and provide services to victims of crime, and that meet the other requirements set out in 42 U.S.C. § 10603(b) (1). Services generally include efforts that (1) respond those efforts that (1) respond to the emotional and physical needs of crime victims; (2) help primary and secondary victims of crime to stabilize their lives after a victimization; (3) help victims to understand and participate in the criminal justice system; and (4) provide victims of crime with a measure of safety and security. This grant is funded through the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, Public Law 98-473, 42 U.S.C. §§ 10603(a) and (b). The Crime Victims Fund (the Fund) was established by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984. The Fund is financed by fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders, not from tax dollars. The Fund balance includes deposits from federal criminal fines, forfeited bail bonds, penalties, and special assessments collected by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, federal U.S. courts, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Federal revenues deposited into the Fund also come from gifts, donations, and bequests by private parties, as provided by an amendment to VOCA through the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001 that went into effect in 2002. VOCA Program-Specific Information / Scope of Work VOCA funds may be used to support eligible crime victim assistance programs that provide direct services to crime victims.
For the purpose of the VOCA crime assistance grant program, a crime victim is a person who has suffered physical, sexual, financial, or emotional harm as a result of the commission of a crime. Such direct services may include:
- crisis counseling
- follow-up therapy
- group treatment/support
- shelter/safe house
- personal advocacy
- assistance filing for victim compensation
- criminal/civil justice support/advocacy, not all inclusive
VOCA PRIORITY AREAS
Priority shall be given to victims of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and child abuse and underserved populations. The underserved victims of either adult or juvenile offenders may include, but are not limited to, victims of federal crimes; survivors of homicide victims; or victims of assault, robbery, gang violence, hate and bias crimes, intoxicated drivers, bank robbery, economic exploitation and fraud, and elder abuse. For the purposes of this program, a victim of federal crime is a victim of an offense that violates a federal criminal statute or regulation. Federal crimes also include crimes that occur in an area where the federal government has jurisdiction, such as Indian reservations, some national parks, some federal buildings, and military installations. For the purposes of this program, elder abuse is defined as the mistreatment of older persons through physical, sexual, or psychological violence, neglect, or economic exploitation and fraud.
ALLOWABLE SERVICES & ACTIVITIES
The following is a listing of services, activities, and costs that are eligible for support with VOCA victim assistance grant funds within a subrecipient’s organization:
Immediate Health and Safety: services which respond to the immediate emotional and physical needs (excluding medical care) of crime victims such as crisis intervention; accompaniment to hospitals for medical examinations; hotline counseling; emergency food, clothing, transportation, and shelter (including emergency, short-term nursing home shelter for elder abuse victims for whom no other safe, short-term residence is available); and other emergency services that are intended to restore the victim’s sense of security. Also allowable is emergency legal assistance such as filing restraining orders and obtaining emergency custody/visitation rights when such actions are directly connected to family violence cases and are taken to ensure the health and safety of the victim.
Mental Health Assistance: services and activities that assist the primary and secondary victims of crime in understanding the dynamics of victimization and in stabilizing their lives after a victimization such as counseling, group treatment, and therapy. “Therapy” refers to intensive professional psychological/psychiatric treatment for individuals, couples, and family members related to counseling to provide emotional support in crises arising from the occurrence of crime. This includes the evaluation of mental health needs, as well as the actual delivery of psychotherapy.
Assistance with Participation in Criminal Justice Proceedings: In addition to the cost of emergency legal services noted above in section a. “Immediate Health and Safety”, there are other costs associated with helping victims participate in the criminal justice system that also are allowable. These services may include advocacy on behalf of crime victims; accompaniment to criminal justice offices and court; transportation to court; child care or respite care to enable a victim to attend court; notification of victims regarding trial dates, case disposition information, and parole consideration procedures; and assistance with victim impact statements. State grantees may also fund projects devoted to restitution advocacy on behalf of specific crime victims. VOCA funds cannot be used to pay for non-emergency legal representation such as for divorces, or civil restitution recovery efforts.
Forensic Examinations: For sexual assault victims, forensic exams are allowable costs only to the extent that other funding sources (such as state compensation or private insurance or public benefits) are unavailable or insufficient and, such exams conform with state evidentiary collection requirements.
Costs Necessary and Essential to Providing Direct Services: This includes pro-rated costs of rent, telephone service, transportation costs for victims to receive services, emergency transportation costs that enable a victim to participate in the criminal justice system, and local travel expenses for service providers. f. Special Services: to assist crime victims with managing practical problems created by the victimization such as acting on behalf of the victim with other service providers, creditors, or employers; assisting the victim to recover property that is retained as evidence; assisting in filing for compensation benefits; and helping to apply for public assistance.
OTHER ALLOWABLE COSTS AND SERVICES
The services, activities, and costs listed below are not generally considered direct crime victim services, but are often a necessary and essential activity to ensure that quality direct services are provided. Before these costs can be supported with VOCA funds, the state grantee and subrecipient must agree that direct services to crime victims cannot be offered without support for these expenses; that the subrecipient has no other source of support for them; and that only limited amounts of VOCA funds will be used for these purposes. The following list provides examples of such items:
Skills Training for Staff: VOCA funds designated for training are to be used exclusively for developing the skills of direct service providers including paid staff and volunteers, so that they are better able to offer quality services to crime victims. VOCA funds can be used for training both VOCA-funded and non VOCA-funded service providers who work within a VOCA recipient organization, but VOCA funds cannot be used for management and administrative training for executive directors, board members, and other individuals that do not provide direct services.
Training Materials: VOCA funds can be used to purchase materials such as books, training manuals, and videos for direct service providers, within the VOCA-funded organization, and can support the costs of a trainer for in-service staff development. Staff from other Organizations can attend in-service training activities that are held for the subrecipient’s staff.
Training Related Travel: VOCA funds can support costs such as travel, meals, lodging, and registration fees to attend training within the state or a similar geographic area. This limitation encourages state grantees and subrecipients to first look for available training within their immediate geographical area, as travel costs will be minimal. However, when needed training is unavailable within the immediate geographical area, state grantees may authorize using VOCA funds to support training outside of the geographical area. For example, VOCA grantees may benefit by attending national conferences that offer skills building training workshops for victim assistance providers.
Equipment and Furniture: VOCA funds may be used to purchase furniture and equipment that provides or enhances direct services to crime victims, as demonstrated by the VOCA Subrecipient. VOCA funds cannot support the entire cost of an item that is not used exclusively for victim-relate of an item that is not used exclusively for victim-related activities. However, VOCA funds can support a prorated share of such an item. Refer to the OJP Financial Guide, effective edition, before these types of decisions are made.
Purchasing or Leasing Vehicles: Subrecipients may use VOCA funds to purchase or lease vehicles if they can demonstrate to the state VOCA administrator that such an expenditure is essential to delivering services to crime victims. The VOCA administrator must give prior approval for all such purchases.
Advanced Technologies: At times, computers may increase a subrecipient’s ability to reach and serve crime victims. For example, automated victim notification systems have dramatically improved the efficiency of victim notification and enhanced victim security. In order to receive a grant for advanced technologies, each subrecipient must meet the program eligibility requirements set forth in section IV.B. Of the Guidelines, Subrecipient Organization Eligibility Requirements. At a minimum, property records must be maintained with the following: a description of the property and a serial number or other identifying number; identification of title holder; the acquisition date; the cost and the percentage of VOCA funds supporting the purchase; the location, use, and condition of the property; and any disposition data, including the date of disposal and sale price. (See OJP Financial Guide, effective edition.)
Contracts for Professional Service: VOCA funds generally should not be used to support contract services. At times, however, it may be necessary for VOCA subrecipients to use a portion of the VOCA grant to contract for specialized services.
Operating Cost: Examples of allowable operating costs include supplies; equipment use fees, when supported by usage logs; printing, photocopying, and postage; brochures which describe available services; and books and other victim-related materials. VOCA funds may support administrative time to complete VOCA-required time and attendance sheets and programmatic documentation, reports, and statistics; administrative time to maintain crime victims’ records; and the prorated share of audit costs.
Supervision of Direct Service Providers: State grantees may provide VOCA funds for supervision of direct service providers when they determine that such supervision is necessary and essential to providing direct services to crime victims. For example, a state grantee may determine that using VOCA funds to support a coordinator of volunteers or interns is a cost-effective way of serving more crime victims.
Repair and/or Replacement of Essential Items: VOCA funds may be used for repair or replacement of items that contribute to maintaining a healthy and/or safe environment for crime victims, such as a furnace in a shelter. In the event that a vehicle is purchased with VOCA funds, related items, such as routine maintenance and repair costs, and automobile insurance are allowable.
Public Presentations: VOCA funds may be used to support presentations that are made in schools, community centers, or other public forums, and that are designed to identify crime victims and provide or refer them to needed services. Specifically, activities and costs related to such programs including presentation materials, brochures, and newspaper notices can be supported by VOCA funds.
UNALLOWABLE SERVICES & ACTIVITIES
The following services, activities, and costs, although not exhaustive, cannot be supported with VOCA victim assistance grant funds at the subgrantee level. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subpart, no VOCA funds may be used to fund or support the following:
- Lobbying: Lobbying or advocacy activities with respect to legislation or to administrative changes to regulations or administrative policy (cf. 18 U.S.C. 1913), whether conducted directly or indirectly;
- Research and Studies: Research and studies, except for project evaluation under §94.121(j);
- Active Investigation and Prosecution of Criminal Activities: The active investigation and prosecution of criminal activity, except for the provision of victim assistance services (e.g., emotional support, advocacy, and legal services) to crime victims, under §94.119, during such investigation and prosecution.
- Fundraising: Any activities related to fundraising, except for fee-based, or similar, program income authorized by the SAA under this subpart.
- Capital Expenses: Capital improvements; property losses and expenses; real estate purchases; mortgage payments; and construction (except as specifically allowed elsewhere in this subpart).
- Compensation for Victims of Crime: Reimbursement of crime victims for expenses incurred as a result of a crime, except as otherwise allowed by other provisions of this subpart.
- Medical Care: Medical care, except as otherwise allowed by other provisions of this subpart.
- Salaries and Expenses of Management: Salaries, benefits, fees, furniture, equipment, and other expenses of executive directors, board members, and other administrators (except as specifically allowed elsewhere in this subpart).
LEPC will monitor each subaward through the submittal of monthly or quarterly reports. LEPC will also conduct announced and unannounced on-site visits and monitoring visits to sub-grantees. For the announced monitoring visits, the sub-grantee may be required to present additional, pertinent information that will allow the LEPC to conduct a constructive, proficient and successful visit.
MANAGEMENT CONTROL OF THE PROGRAM
The sub-grantee has complete management responsibility for this award. While the LEPC staff may be consulted for their expertise, they will not be directly responsible for the selection of vendors, nor will they be directly involved in the expenditure and payment of funds. The sub-grantee must provide services to crime victims, at no charge, through the VOCA-funded project. Conference Planning and Expenditure Limitations Applicants should be aware of all applicable laws, regulations, policies and guidance (including specific cost limits, prior approval and reporting requirements, where applicable) governing the use of federal funds for expenses related to conferences (which is defined to include meetings, retreats, seminars, symposiums, training and other similar events), including the provision of food and/or beverages at such events, and costs of attendance at such events. Information on pertinent laws, regulations, policies and guidance is available at http://ww.ovw.usdoj.gov/grantees.html Applicants should also be aware of the following specific restrictions on conference planning and expenditure limitations:
- Cost of Logistical Conference Planning
- Cost of Programmatic Conference Planning
- Conference Space and Audio-Visual Equipment and Services
- Prohibition on Trinkets at Conferences
- Entertainment at Conferences
- Food and Beverages at Conferences
FOOD AND BEVERAGE/COSTS FOR REFRESHMENTS AND MEALS
Generally, food and beverage costs are not allowable, and under no circumstances may OVC funding be used to supply food and/or beverages during refreshment breaks.
CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLIANCE
Federal laws that apply to recipients of financial assistance from the Department of Justice prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or disability in funded programs or activities, not only in employment but also in the delivery of services or benefits. A federal law also prohibits recipients from discriminating on the basis of age in the delivery of services or benefits
Organizations must ensure that all USDOJ’s funded program staff has adequate time to execute these duties. LEPC will evaluate the management plan, including staffing, based on the fundamentals to implement the project and adhere to program requirements. LEPC reserves the right to require changes based on this review. Project Director The project director will be mainly responsible for managing and implementing the program and budget described in the approved application to ensure that the entity meets its responsibilities to LEPC under the sub-grant agreement in a timely manner. This person will be responsible for the daily operation, coordination and delivery of services at their respective program sites. The project director will be responsible to ensure required progress and fiscal reports are completed and submitted timely to LEPC.
COLLECTING AND SUBMITTING PERFORMANCE MEASURES
The Law Enforcement Planning Commission will collect and report on the performance measures as reported by sub-grantees funded though the Victims of Crime Assistance Grant. Performance measures information should be submitted within the required quarterly progress reports. The reports will maintain data on the number persons served, types of services, and type of victimization. All assets purchased with USDOJ Grant funds must be reported to LEPC for tagging and tracking purposes; in accordance to CFR 200 Super Circular requirements.