The New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS), formerly the NYS Crime Victims Compensation Board, was established in 1966. The original mission to provide compensation to innocent victims of a crime and to advocate for the rights and benefits of all innocent victims of crime was expanded in 1981 to fund direct services to crime victims via a network of community-based programs.
In 1984, OVS began to receive federal funds pursuant to the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) to sustain and expand program services.
WHO ADMINISTERS THE PROGRAM
The New York State Office of Victim Services administers the Crime Victims Compensation awards and funds the local network of community-based organizations providing direct services to victims of crime.
The Victim and Witness Assistance Unit (Grants Unit) is responsible for the administration of the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim and Witness Assistance funds to not-for-profit and municipal agencies across the State serving crime victims.
Every state administers a crime victim’s compensation program and receives federal funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime. The Crime Victims Fund is financed by criminal fines, forfeited bail bonds, and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders, not from tax dollars.
Under the 1984 Victim of Crimes Act (VOCA), each state compensation program receives an annual grant equal to 60% of what the program spends in state money annually. No more than 5% of each year’s VOCA compensation formula grant may be used for administration and training; the rest must be used for awards of compensation to crime victims. In addition to funding the compensation awards, the fund also provides funding to organizations to provide for direct assistance to victims of crime.
Although each state administers its own program independently, most programs have similar eligibility requirements and offer comparable types of benefits.
Summary of Crime Victims Compensation
Crime Victims Compensation provides compensation for out-of-pocket losses to victims of a crime. To qualify for compensation the individual must be a victim of a crime, report the crime to a criminal justice agency in a timely manner, and for awards in excess of $5,000 experience financial difficulty. There are no immigration criteria. In addition to the crime victim, certain relatives and dependents of the crime victim, including surviving spouse, child, parent, brother, sister or other individuals primarily dependent on the victim for support, may also qualify.
Other Benefits Available through Office of Victim Services
VICTIM ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
OVS funds a network of community-based programs, known as Victim Assistance Programs, to provide direct services to crime victims. For more information, see below, Victim Assistance Programs.