[Federal Register Volume 66, Number 95 (Wednesday, May 16, 2001)]
[Notices]
[Pages 27158-27166]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 01-12256]



[[Page 27158]]

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DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Office for Victims of Crime

[OJP(OVC)-1319]


Victims of Crime Act Victim Compensation Grant Program

AGENCY: Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, 
Justice.

ACTION: Final program guidelines.

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SUMMARY: The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), United States 
Department of Justice (DOJ) is publishing Final Guidelines to implement 
the crime victim compensation grant program as authorized by the 
Victims of Crime Act of 1984, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 10601, et seq., 
hereafter referred to as VOCA.

EFFECTIVE DATE: These Final Guidelines are effective upon publication 
in the Federal Register or until reissuance by OVC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carol R. Watkins, Director, State 
Compensation and Assistance Division, Office for Victims of Crime 810 
Seventh Street, NW., Washington, DC 20531; phone: (202) 514-4696. (This 
is not a toll-free number). E-mail:watkinsc@ojp.usdoj.gov

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) authorizes 
federal financial assistance to states for the purposes of compensating 
and assisting crime victims, funding training and technical assistance, 
and serving victims of federal crimes. These Final Guidelines provide 
information specifically for the administration and implementation of 
the VOCA crime victim compensation grant program as authorized in 
section 1403 of VOCA, Public Law 98-473, as amended, codified at 42 
U.S.C. 10602.

Summary of the Revisions to the Final Guidelines for the Victims of 
Crime Act Crime Victim Compensation Grant Program

    These Final Guidelines for the VOCA Crime Victim Compensation Grant 
Program are in accordance with VOCA and are all inclusive. Thus, these 
Final Guidelines supersede any VOCA Crime Victim Compensation Grant 
Program Guidelines previously issued by OVC. The changes contained in 
these Final Guidelines result from developments in the criminal justice 
and victim services fields since the 1997 Guidelines were issued.
    OVC published in the Federal Register Proposed VOCA Crime Victim 
Compensation Program Guidelines that were distributed to interested 
individuals and organizations for the purpose of soliciting comments. 
Copies were mailed to all state VOCA victim compensation and assistance 
program administrators, to executive directors of national victim 
organizations, and to VOCA victim assistance subgrantee programs. OVC 
received 16 responses from state VOCA victim compensation 
administrators and the National Association of Crime Victim 
Compensation Boards; representatives of other victim services 
organizations, law enforcement, and U.S. Attorneys Offices; one local 
organization representing senior citizens; and one national association 
representing financial planners.

I. Comments From the Field

A. Nonviolent Crimes
    VOCA administrators questioned the statutory authority to include 
nonviolent crimes and the related victim expenses under VOCA crime 
victim compensation funding. As a result, the Final Guidelines have 
been clarified to explain that VOCA does not prohibit coverage of 
nonviolent crimes and that states choosing to cover these crimes may 
include amounts paid to these victims in their certified payout 
figures, which are used to determine the amount of federal funding the 
state is entitled to receive. Compensable expenses could include crisis 
counseling, mental health treatment, financial counseling, and other 
services funded by a state's program. The Final Guidelines have also 
been clarified to explain that amounts paid by states to victims for 
property, damaged or lost in violent or nonviolent crimes, except in 
certain instances, cannot be included in a state's certified payout 
figures. The Final Guidelines emphasize that priority under VOCA 
continues to be coverage for victims of violent crime.
B. Encouragement From OVC To Expand Coverage
    Two respondents questioned OVC's encouragement to expand coverage 
of certain crimes, expenses, and victims within the Guidelines, stating 
that the Guidelines establish policy, and that encouragements are 
better addressed through other means. OVC has removed the 
encouragements from the body of the Final Guidelines and has explained 
its identification of emerging trends and unmet needs of crime victims 
in a preamble. This information is provided for states to consider as 
they examine their programs' responsiveness to crime victims and strive 
to improve the range of assistance provided. The Final Guidelines state 
that these are not mandates and emphasize that it is within the 
discretion of the state to determine coverage under its compensation 
statute, rule, or other established policy. The Final Guidelines also 
clarify that state funds paid to crime victims for these purposes may 
be included in a state's annual certification of payments to victims.
C. Victims Experiencing Financial Loss as a Result of Crime
    Five respondents expressed support for inclusion of economic crime 
as a compensable crime category that states may include in their annual 
certification of payments. Others acknowledged that while victims of 
economic crime have needs, priority must remain with meeting the needs 
of victims of violent crime. As a result, economic crime is addressed 
in the preamble to the Final Guidelines and the body of the Final 
Guidelines emphasize that priority under VOCA is given to victims of 
violent crime.
    Respondents sought clarification on use of the term financial 
planning in the proposed Guidelines. Since the term conflicts with a 
term used by professional financial planners who assist with 
investments, insurance, and estate planning, the term used in the Final 
Guidelines has been changed to financial counseling.
    The purpose of financial counseling services is to assist victims 
who have to restructure their financial affairs because of a crime. 
These claimants may be survivors of homicide victims or victims of 
domestic violence, fraud, or other crimes. Allowable activities 
provided by financial counselors include but are not limited to: 
Analysis of a victim's financial situation such as income producing 
capacity and crime-related financial obligations; assistance with 
restructuring budget and debt; assistance in accessing insurance, 
public assistance, and other benefits; assistance in completing 
financial impact statements for criminal or civil courts; and 
assistance in settling estates and handling guardianship concerns.
D. Victim Cooperation With Law Enforcement
    One respondent commented that requiring a victim who is a 
vulnerable adult to report a crime to law enforcement is unrealistic. 
As a result, these Final Guidelines allow a state to accept, as an 
indication of a victim's cooperation with law enforcement, a crime 
report to law enforcement or to a child or adult protective services 
agency from a mandated reporter or other person knowledgeable about a 
crime against a child or a vulnerable adult.

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    A crime victim's willingness to cooperate with law enforcement may 
be affected by compelling health or safety concerns including 
apprehension about personal safety, fear of retaliation, and 
intimidation by the offender or others. Crime victims may be reluctant 
to cooperate fully with law enforcement after receiving threats of 
violence or death against themselves and their families from the 
offender.
    Many barriers--age, psychological, cultural, and linguistic--may 
affect the victim's ability to cooperate with law enforcement. There 
may be unique barriers deterring a young child or senior citizen from 
complying fully with law enforcement. Embarrassment, shame, and the 
psychological trauma may delay the reporting of sexual assault. 
Cultural and language differences may diminish a victim's access to and 
understanding of the criminal justice system. In setting the standard 
for victim cooperation with law enforcement, OVC encourages state 
programs to determine how to address these considerations.
E. Crime Scene Cleanup
    VOCA administrators requested clarification on what could be 
covered under crime scene cleanup. Since state statute, rules, and 
policy dictate allowable expenses for this service, the Final 
Guidelines have been clarified to say that states may not include 
property replacement or repair cost, except for replacement of locks 
and windows, and replacement of bedding and clothing held as evidence, 
in their annual certification of payments.
F. Nonsupplantation
    One respondent asked OVC to clarify if the use of federal funds 
that a state receives as a result of the expenditure of state revenues 
constitutes supplantation. As a result, clarifying language has been 
added stating that use of federal funds received as a result of its 
certified state payouts is not supplantation.

II. Legislative Changes

A. Child Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Act
    This Act amended VOCA to allow for an increase in funds set aside 
for child abuse victims from $10 million up to $20 million. This occurs 
in any fiscal year in which Crime Victim Fund deposits are greater than 
the amount deposited in Fiscal Year 1998. An amount equal to 50 percent 
of the increase plus the base amount of $10 million is available for 
this purpose. This applies regardless of whether there is a cap on the 
amount of money made available from the Fund for VOCA purposes.
B. Consolidated Appropriations Acts of Fiscal Year 1997 and 2000
    The VOCA distribution formula was amended to provide funds for 
victim assistance provided through the Federal Criminal Justice System.
C. Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000
    Provides: 1. Aid for victims of terrorism and expanded OVC's 
authority to respond to incidents of terrorism outside the United 
States and of terrorism and mass violence occurring within the United 
States; 2. authorization for the OVC Director to increase money set 
aside for the Antiterrorism and Emergency Fund to $100 million and to 
deposit deobligated dollars from other funded program areas into this 
Fund; 3. an expanded list of eligible applicants for Antiterrorism and 
Emergency Funds for incidents of terrorism outside the U.S. to include, 
not only states and United States Attorneys Offices, but also victim 
service organizations, and public agencies (including Federal, State, 
or local governments), and non-governmental organizations that provide 
assistance to victims of crime for provision of emergency relief 
including crisis response efforts, assistance, training and technical 
assistance and on-going assistance including during any investigation 
and prosecution [42 U.S.C. 10603b(a)]; 4. an expanded range of support 
provided to victims of terrorism and mass violence beyond emergency 
relief to include crisis response efforts, assistance, training and 
technical assistance and on-going assistance; 5. for the establishment 
of a program to compensate victims of acts of international terrorism 
that occur outside the United States for associated expenses.
    OVC will publish separate guidelines entitled Antiterrorism and 
Emergency Fund Guidelines for Terrorism and Mass Violence Crimes and 
for the International Crime Victim Compensation Program.
    In addition, the Act establishes policy for international 
trafficking in persons and provides access to services and 
accommodation in immigration status for victims of severe forms of 
trafficking, regardless of their immigration status. It also 
establishes a new, non-immigrant visa classification for certain 
victims of severe forms of trafficking.

III. Final Program Guidelines for VOCA Crime Victim Compensation Grant 
Program

    The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), U.S. Department of Justice 
(DOJ) is publishing these Final Guidelines for the VOCA Crime Victim 
Compensation Grant Program (hereinafter referred to as Final 
Guidelines) to implement the victim compensation grant program as 
authorized by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984, as amended, 42 
U.S.C. 10601, et seq. These Final Guidelines are in accordance with 
VOCA and supersede any Guidelines previously issued by OVC.
A. Preamble
    OVC has administered the VOCA crime victim compensation program for 
fourteen years, funded hundreds of discretionary grants, hosted many 
focus groups with experts from various fields that serve crime victims, 
and responded to issues and concerns of hundreds of crime victims. 
Through these contacts, OVC has identified a number of emerging trends 
and unmet needs. OVC's partnership with states to meet the needs of all 
crime victims has, in some cases, resulted in statutory and policy 
changes. While no specific amendments have been made to VOCA to address 
many of these emerging issues and needs, OVC shares this information 
with states for consideration as they examine their programs' 
responsiveness to crime victims and strive to improve the range of 
assistance provided.
    OVC has identified emerging issues and unmet needs for the 
following four groups of victims and crimes and acknowledges that many 
states already compensate crime victims in some or most of these 
categories.
    1. Crimes Involving Threat But Not Physical Injury. Many crimes 
involve threat but the victims suffer no physical injury. For example, 
a stalking victim may be intimidated and harassed over the Internet but 
not physically attacked by the stalker and a robbery victim may be 
threatened with a weapon but not physically injured. Another example 
would be incidents such as school and workplace shootings in which many 
people are in danger but not all are physically injured or killed. In 
property related hate crimes, windows may be broken and graffiti 
painted on a home, with the intent to intimidate and cause fear in a 
person or family. In all of these instances, persons may be seriously 
traumatized by a crime but not be physically injured. States are 
encouraged to consider the safety and mental health needs of these 
victims.

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    2. Witnesses to Violence. The primary group considered under this 
category is children who witness domestic violence. In addition, in 
mass violence incidents, others impacted by the violence may be 
considered victims. States are encouraged to consider the mental health 
and other needs of these victims.
    3. Economic Crime. Increasing attention is being directed by law 
enforcement officials to economic crime. While anyone can be a victim 
of financial fraud, often criminals target elders specifically. In 
addition, identity theft can damage or destroy the financial integrity 
of many unsuspecting adults. Economic crime can have a devastating 
impact on victims emotionally, physically, and financially. States are 
encouraged to consider the needs of these victims.
    4. State Residents Who Are Victims of Crime Outside U.S. 
Jurisdiction. As required by VOCA, all states provide benefits under 
their crime victim compensation programs for victims of terrorism 
occurring outside the United States. Because state residents function 
in a global society, OVC encourages coverage of residents who are 
victims of crimes other than terrorism that occur when they are outside 
the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. This would allow coverage to 
residents who are studying, conducting business, touring, and living 
abroad. It would also cover victims of crimes occurring on 
international waters.
    Again, OVC's purpose in identifying the above emerging trends and 
unmet needs of crime victims is to challenge states to assess the 
comprehensiveness of their crime victim compensation programs and to 
provide needed background information for those states desiring to 
expand the scope of crimes and benefits provided to people victimized 
by crime. The identification of these issues does not constitute a 
mandate or requirement of states beyond the statutory requirements 
outlined in VOCA.
    These VOCA Final Guidelines are outlined as follows:

I. Definitions
II. Background
III. Funding Allocations
IV. State Eligibility Criteria
V. State Certification
VI. Application Process and Performance Reporting
VII. Administrative Costs
VIII. Financial Requirements
IX. Monitoring
X. Suspension and Termination of Funding

I. Definitions

    For purposes of these Final Guidelines, the following terms are 
defined:
    A. Driving While Intoxicated. This includes drunk driving and 
driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs. Specific 
definitions may be provided by state statutes, written rules, or other 
established policies.
    B. Federal Crime. A federal crime is any crime that is a violation 
of the United States Criminal Code or violation of the Code of Military 
Justice. In general, federal crimes are investigated by federal law 
enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation 
(FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, 
Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), U.S. Postal Service (USPS), Department of 
Interior (DOI), U.S. Secret Service (USSS), U.S. Customs Service 
(USCS), and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Federal 
crimes are prosecuted in Federal District Courts by U.S. Attorneys and 
the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division. Examples of Federal 
crimes include, but are not limited to:

1. Crimes against Federal officials
2. Crimes that take place on Federal property, including national parks 
and military bases, certain maritime and territorial jurisdictions, and 
buildings owned or leased by the Federal Government
3. Bank robberies where the bank is insured or otherwise secured by the 
Federal Government
4. Crimes affecting interstate activities, such as kidnaping, 
interstate domestic violence, and fraud via U.S. mail, telephone, or 
wire
5. Crimes occurring in Indian Country or on reservations, where the 
Federal Government has criminal jurisdiction
6. Trafficking of persons

    C. Federal Program, or a federally financed State or local program 
is a program that provides third party reimbursement for victim 
expenses and includes such funding sources as Medicaid, Medicare, and 
CHAMPUS or provides direct Federal appropriations for organizations 
that provide direct services such as Indian Health Service and the 
Veterans' Administration.
    D. Mass Violence occurring within or outside the United States. The 
term mass violence is not defined in VOCA or in any statute amending 
VOCA nor is it defined in the U.S. Criminal Code. Thus, OVC has 
developed a working definition of this term. The term mass violence 
means an intentional violent criminal act, for which a formal 
investigation has been opened by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or 
other law enforcement agency, that results in physical, emotional or 
psychological injury to a sufficiently large number of people as to 
significantly increase the burden of victim assistance and compensation 
for the responding jurisdiction. If there is a discrepancy between the 
definition provided in these Final Guidelines and the Antiterrorism and 
Emergency Fund Guidelines for Terrorism and Mass Violence Crimes, the 
definition in the Antiterrorism and Emergency Fund Guidelines takes 
precedence.
    E. Mental Health Counseling and Care. Mental health counseling and 
care mean the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of an individual's 
mental and emotional functioning. Mental health counseling and care 
must be provided by a person who meets state standards to provide these 
services.
    F. Property Damage and Loss. Property damage is damage to material 
goods. Property loss is destruction of material goods or loss of money, 
stocks, bonds, etc. Property damage does not include damage to 
prosthetic devices, eyeglasses, other corrective lenses, dental 
devices, or other medically related devices.
    G. Restitution. Restitution is payment made by the offender to the 
victim who was injured in the crime, to the legal guardian of a 
vulnerable adult or child victim, or to beneficiaries of the victim of 
homicide. Restitution does not refer to the general collection of 
fines, fees, and other penalties from offenders that provide basic 
revenue for a compensation program and are not attributable to 
reimbursement of payouts on a specific claim.
    H. State. The term state includes the 50 states, the District of 
Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and any other 
possession or territory of the United States.
    I. Terrorism occurring within the United States. The term terrorism 
means an activity that... (1) involves a violent act or an act 
dangerous to human life that is a violation of the criminal laws of the 
United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if 
committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any State; 
and (2) appears to be intended ... (a) to intimidate or coerce a 
civilian population, (b) to influence the policy of a government by 
intimidation or coercion, or (c) to affect the conduct of a government 
by assassination or kidnaping (18 U.S.C. 3077).
    J. Terrorism Occurring Outside the United States. The Antiterrorism 
and Emergency Reserve Fund Guidelines for Terrorism and Mass Violence 
Crimes

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refers to the term terrorism, when occurring outside the United States, 
as international terrorism to mean an activity that... (1) involves a 
violent act or an act dangerous to human life that is a violation of 
the criminal laws of the United States of any State, or that would be a 
criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United 
States or of any State; (2) appears to be intended ... (a) to 
intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (b) to influence the policy 
of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (c) to affect the 
conduct of a government by assassination or kidnaping; and (3) occur 
primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or 
transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are 
accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, 
or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum (18 
U.S.C. 2331).

II. Background

    In 1984, VOCA established the Crime Victims Fund (hereinafter 
referred to as the Fund) in the U.S. Treasury to receive deposits from 
fines, penalties, and bond forfeitures levied on criminals convicted of 
federal crimes. The Fund is administered by OVC to support the 
activities authorized by VOCA.
    OVC makes annual VOCA crime victim compensation grants from the 
Fund to eligible states and territories. The primary purpose of these 
grants is to supplement state efforts to provide financial assistance 
and reimbursement to crime victims throughout the Nation for costs 
associated with crime, and to encourage victim cooperation and 
participation in the criminal justice system.
    With the exception of most property damage and loss as explained in 
these Final Guidelines, state crime victim compensation programs may 
use VOCA compensation grant funds to pay for eligible expenses allowed 
by state compensation statute, rule, or other established policy.

III. Funding Allocations

    A. Distribution. By statute, deposits are to be allocated as 
follows:
    1. Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Grants. Up to $20 million 
\1\ of the first amounts deposited in the Fund are allocated to Child 
Abuse Prevention and Treatment Grants. Of these funds, 85 percent are 
forwarded to the Department of Health and Human Services. The remaining 
15 percent is retained by OVC to assist Native American Indian tribes 
in developing, establishing and operating child abuse programs.
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    \1\ In any fiscal year in which Fund deposits are greater than 
the amount deposited in fiscal year 1998, an amount equal to 50 
percent of the increase in the amount from fiscal year 1998 shall be 
available for Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Grants in 
addition to the base amount of $10 million. The total amount 
allocated for Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment grants for any 
fiscal year cannot exceed $20 million.
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    2. Federal Criminal Justice System. Specific amounts are earmarked 
by Congress annually for improving services for the benefit of crime 
victims in the Federal criminal justice system.
    3. Remaining Fund Deposits. The remaining fund deposits are 
distributed as follows:
    a. Victim Compensation Grants. Forty-eight and one half percent 
(48.5%) is available to eligible state programs for crime victim 
compensation.
    b. Victim Assistance Grants. Forty-eight and one half percent 
(48.5%) is available to states for victim assistance grants. Unused 
funds from the victim compensation portion of the deposits are added to 
this amount.
    c. Discretionary Grants. Three percent (3%) is available to OVC for 
demonstration projects, training and technical assistance grants, and 
financial support for services to victims of federal crime.
    d. Antiterrorism and Emergency Fund. If monies in the Fund are 
sufficient to fully provide VOCA grants to the states, and deposits 
total 110 percent of the previous fiscal year, or if any funds are 
deobligated, the OVC director may retain up to $100 million in an 
emergency fund. These funds are to be used (1) for Victims of terrorism 
within and outside the United States and for victims of other mass 
violence crimes; (2) for supplementing State Compensation and 
Assistance Programs' basic state compensation and assistance awards at 
the discretion of the OVC Director; and (3) to pay benefits under the 
newly authorized international compensation program.
    B. Grant Period. Victim compensation grant funds are available for 
expenditure throughout the fiscal year (FY) of the award plus the next 
three fiscal years. The federal fiscal year (FFY) begins on October 1 
and ends on September 30. State crime victim compensation programs may 
pay compensation claims retroactively to October 1, even though the 
VOCA grant may not be awarded until later in the fiscal year.
    C. VOCA Victim Compensation Grant Formula. The Director of OVC is 
required to make an annual grant to eligible crime victim compensation 
programs that is equal to 40 percent of the amount awarded by the state 
program to victims of crime from state revenues during the fiscal year 
preceding the year of deposits in the Fund (two years prior to the 
grant year). If the amount in the Fund is insufficient to award each 
state 40 percent of its prior year's compensation payout from state 
revenues, all states will be awarded the same reduced percentage of 
their prior year payout from the available funds.
    To determine the amount available, each state must submit with its 
annual application a certification of the amount expended by the crime 
victim compensation program in the previous federal fiscal year. See 
Section V. for additional information.

IV. State Eligibility Criteria

    A. Grantee. The grantee must be an operational state-administered 
crime victim compensation program. A new compensation program is 
entitled to a VOCA grant after it has awarded benefits that can be 
matched under VOCA. VOCA may not be used as start-up funds for a new 
state compensation program. In the event that a state chooses to 
administer its compensation program in a decentralized fashion, the 
state remains accountable to VOCA for expenditure of these funds.
    B. Program Requirements. For a state to meet or maintain 
eligibility for a VOCA crime victim compensation grant, it must satisfy 
the following requirements:
    1. Compensable Crimes.
    (a) VOCA Mandated Crimes. At a minimum, VOCA specifically requires 
the grantee to offer compensation to crime victims and survivors of 
victims of criminal violence for certain identified expenses (see 
below) resulting from physical injury from a compensable crime as 
defined by the state. VOCA requires that states include as compensable 
crimes those crimes whose victims suffer death or physical injury as a 
result of terrorism, driving while intoxicated, and domestic violence.
    In addition, VOCA requires that states include as compensable 
crimes those crimes whose victims suffer death or personal injury as a 
result of the intentional or attempted defacement, damage, or 
destruction of any religious real property because of (1) its religious 
character or the obstruction, by force or threat of force, of any 
person's enjoyment of the free exercise of religious beliefs when the 
crime is covered by interstate or foreign commerce; (2) the race, 
color, or ethnic characteristics of any individual associated with the 
religious property.
    (b) Coverage of Other Crimes. VOCA places priority on violent 
crime, but it does not prohibit coverage of nonviolent

[[Page 27162]]

crime. States may choose to broaden the range of compensable crimes to 
include those involving threats of injury or economic crime where 
victims are traumatized but not physically injured. In doing so, they 
may include payments to victims for compensable expenses for these 
crimes on the state's certification of funds expended for the 
compensation program.
    2. Compensable Expenses.
    (a) VOCA Mandated Expenses. At a minimum, VOCA requires states to 
award compensation for the following expenses when they are 
attributable to a physical injury resulting from a compensable crime:
    i. Medical Expenses. This may include eyeglasses and other 
corrective lenses, dental services, prosthetic or other devices, and 
other services rendered in accordance with a method of healing 
recognized by state law.
    ii. Mental health counseling and care.
    iii. Lost wages.
    iv. Funeral expenses attributable to a death resulting from a 
compensable crime.
    (b) Other Allowable Expenses. State grantees may offer compensation 
for other types of expenses as authorized by state statute, rule, or 
other established policy.
    (i) Property Damage and Loss. Amounts awarded for property damage 
and loss cannot be included in the amount certified as a basis for the 
award of VOCA compensation grants except as listed under Section 
IV.B.2(b)(ii)4&5 of these Final Guidelines.
    (ii) In addition to VOCA mandated expenses, other allowable 
expenses may be included in the certified payout amount such as:
    1. Travel and transport for survivors of homicide victims to secure 
bodies of deceased victims from another country or state.
    2. Temporary lodging.
    3. Necessary building modification and equipment to accommodate 
physical disabilities resulting from a compensable crime.
    4. Replacement costs for clothing and bedding held as evidence.
    5. Replacement or repair of windows and locks.
    6. Crime scene cleanup, as defined by state statute, rule or other 
established policy. Crime scene cleanup does not include replacement of 
lost or damaged property, except for locks and windows, and for 
clothing and bedding held as evidence.
    7. Attorneys' fees related to a victim's claim for compensation, 
for establishing guardianship, settling estates, and other activities 
related to the crime.
    8. Payments related to forensic sexual assault examinations (1) If 
such payments are made from funds administered by the compensation 
programs and are allowable under state statute, rule, or other 
established policy; and (2) to the extent that other funding sources 
such as state appropriations specifically earmarked for these exams are 
unavailable or insufficient.
    9. Dependent care to allow victims to participate in criminal 
justice activities or secure medical treatment and rehabilitation 
services.
    10. Financial counseling services for victims of economic crime, 
domestic violence, survivors of homicide victims, and other victims 
faced with financial difficulty as a result of a crime. Allowable 
activities provided to crime victims by financial counselors include 
but are not limited to: analysis of a victim's financial situation such 
as income producing capacity and crime related financial obligations; 
assistance with restructuring budget and debt; assistance in accessing 
insurance, public assistance and other benefits; assistance in 
completing financial impact statements for criminal courts; and 
assistance in settling estates and handling guardianship concerns. 
Financial counseling must be provided by a person who meets state 
standards for provision of this service.
    11. Pain and suffering.
    12. Annuities for loss of support for children of victims of 
homicide.
    3. Victim Cooperation With Law Enforcement. Crime victim 
compensation programs must promote victim cooperation with the 
reasonable requests of law enforcement authorities. State crime victim 
compensation programs maintain the authority and discretion to 
establish their own standards for victim cooperation with the 
reasonable requests of law enforcement.
    VOCA's cooperation with the reasonable requests of law enforcement 
requirement may be fulfilled by using the following criteria or by any 
other criteria the state believes is necessary and acceptable to 
encourage and document victim cooperation with law enforcement. For 
example, a state may:
    a. Require a victim to report the crime to a law enforcement 
agency;
    b. Require a victim to report the crime to an appropriate 
government agency, such as child and/or adult protective services, 
family court, or juvenile court;
    c. In the case of a child or a vulnerable adult, accept a crime 
report to law enforcement or to a child or adult protective services 
agency from a mandated reporter or other person knowledgeable about the 
crime;
    d. Accept proof of the completion of a medical evidentiary 
examination, such as medical reports, x-rays, medical photographs, and 
other clinical assessments as evidence of cooperation with law 
enforcement.
    4. Nonsupplantation. The state must certify that grants received 
under VOCA will not be used to supplant state funds otherwise available 
to provide crime victim compensation benefits or to administer the 
state crime victim compensation program. States may not decrease their 
financial commitment to crime victim compensation solely because they 
are receiving VOCA funds for the same purpose. Expenditure of VOCA 
funds received based on state certified payouts from previous years 
does not constitute supplantation.
    5. Compensation for Residents Victimized Outside Their Own State. A 
state must provide compensation to state residents who are victims of 
crimes occurring outside the state if the crimes would be compensable 
crimes had they occurred inside that state and the crimes (1) occurred 
in a state without an eligible VOCA crime victim compensation program, 
or (2) in cases of terrorism, occurred outside the territorial 
jurisdiction of the United States. The state must make these awards 
according to the same criteria used to make awards to those who are 
victimized while in the state.
    6. Compensation for Nonresidents of a State. The state, in making 
awards for compensable crimes occurring within the state, must make 
compensation awards to nonresidents of the state on the basis of the 
same criteria used to make awards to victims who are residents of the 
state.
    7. Victims of Federal Crime. The state must provide compensation to 
victims of federal crimes occurring within the state on the same basis 
that the program provides compensation to victims of state crimes.
    8. Unjust Enrichment. States cannot deny compensation to a victim 
based on the victim's familial relationship to the offender or because 
the victim shares a residence with the offender. States must adopt a 
rule or other written policy to avoid unjust enrichment of the 
offender, but it cannot have the effect of denying compensation to a 
substantial percentage of victims of violence perpetrated by family 
members or others with whom the victim shares a residence. In 
developing a rule, or other written policy, states are encouraged to 
consider the following:
    a. The legal responsibilities of the offender to the victim under 
the laws of the state and collateral resources available from the 
offenders to the victim. For example, legal responsibilities of the 
offender may

[[Page 27163]]

include court-ordered restitution or family support under the domestic, 
marital property or child support laws of the state. Collateral 
resources may include insurance or pension benefits available to the 
offender to cover the costs incurred by the victim as a result of the 
crime. Victims of family violence must not be penalized when collateral 
sources of payment are not viable. Examples of such situations include 
when the offender refuses to, or cannot, pay restitution or other civil 
judgments within a reasonable period of time or when the offender 
impedes direct or third party (i.e., insurance) payments.
    b. Payments to victims of family violence that only minimally or 
inconsequentially benefit offenders. These payments are not considered 
unjust enrichment. For example, denial of medical or dental expenses 
solely because the offender has legal responsibility for the charges, 
but is unwilling or unable to pay them, could result in the victim not 
receiving treatment. When indicated, the state has the option of 
seeking reimbursement from the offender.
    c. Consultation with social services and other concerned government 
entities, and with private organizations that support and advocate on 
behalf of victims of violence perpetrated by family members.
    d. The special needs of child witnesses to violence and child 
victims of criminal violence, especially when the perpetrator is a 
parent who may or may not live in the same residence.
    9. Discrimination Prohibited. No person shall on the grounds of 
race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or sex, be excluded 
from participation in, denied the benefits of, subjected to 
discrimination under, or denied employment in connection with, any 
undertaking funded in whole or in part with sums made available under 
VOCA. States must comply with these VOCA nondiscrimination 
requirements, the Federal civil rights statutes and regulations cited 
in the Assurances that accompany the grant award document, and all 
other applicable civil rights requirements. States with decentralized 
operations must assure that all operations comply with these 
requirements.
    10. Additional Information Requested by the OVC Director. The state 
must provide other information and assurances as the Director of OVC 
may reasonably require.

C. VOCA Funds and Collateral Federal Programs

    1. Means Testing. Federal, state, or local government programs that 
use federal funds are prohibited from including victim compensation 
benefits when determining income eligibility for an applicant, until 
the total amount of medical or other assistance that the applicant 
receives from all programs is sufficient to fully compensate the 
applicant for losses suffered as a result of the crime. VOCA requires 
this policy when an applicant needs medical or other assistance, in 
full or in part, because of the commission of a crime against the 
applicant. VOCA gives the OVC Director authority to determine whether 
such medical or other assistance is necessary to an applicant for 
victim compensation because of the commission of a crime against the 
applicant. Through these Final Guidelines, the Director's authority is 
delegated to state VOCA crime victim compensation administrators.
    2. Payor of Last Resort. The compensation program is the payor of 
last resort with regard to federal or federally financed programs. When 
a victim is eligible to receive benefits from a federal program such as 
Veterans' benefits, Medicare, and Social Security Disability or 
federally financed state or local program, such as Medicaid the state 
compensation program shall not use VOCA funds to pay costs that another 
federal or federally financed program covers. The federal or federally 
financed program must make payments without regard to benefits awarded 
to a crime victim by a state crime victim compensation program.
    To facilitate victim access to other funding resources, OVC 
recommends that VOCA compensation administrators coordinate their 
activities and provide appropriate referrals to other programs that 
provide financial assistance and services to crime victims, whether 
funded by federal, state or local governments. Examples of such 
programs include worker's compensation, vocational rehabilitation, and 
VOCA victim assistance subgrantee programs. Outreach to other programs 
can result in mutual understanding of eligibility requirements, 
application processing, time lines, and other program specific 
requirements. As payor of last resort, it is in the compensation 
program's discretion to make exception for victim needs that are not 
adequately met by collateral sources. Additionally, this provision does 
not mandate that states require victims to apply for or use other 
federally funded programs prior to accessing the crime victim 
compensation program.

V. State Certifications

    State grantees must provide information about crime victim 
compensation claim payouts including all available funding sources, 
deductions, and recovery costs on a certification form provided by OVC. 
The Office of Budget and Management Services, Office of Justice 
Programs, uses this information to calculate allocations for VOCA 
eligible crime victim compensation programs.
    A. Program Revenue. States must report on the certification form 
all sources of revenue to the crime victims compensation programs 
during the federal fiscal year. In some instances, funds are made 
available to the crime victim compensation programs from other 
departments or agencies, from supplemental appropriations, donations, 
or unspent funds carried over from prior years. The amount of certified 
revenue, excluding VOCA funds, but including all other sources, 
including carried over funds, must meet or exceed the amount of 
certified payments to crime victims.
    B. Program Expenditures. The total amount to be certified by the 
state program must include only those amounts paid from state funding 
sources that are allowable under Section IV.B.1&2 to, or on behalf of, 
crime victims during the federal fiscal year (October 1 to September 
30).
    C. Amounts to be Excluded. Compensation for property damage or loss 
except for items found in Section IV.B.2.(b)ii.4&5 of these Final 
Guidelines; audit costs; personnel costs; costs related to the 
collection of offender fines, fees, penalties, and other revenues that 
provide basic program funding; and, any other program administrative 
costs.
    D. Deductions. Deductions are receipts or refunds that offset or 
reduce expense items that are allocable to a particular crime victim 
compensation claim. These include funds received through a state's 
subrogation interest in a claimant's civil law suit recovery, 
restitution, refunds, or other reimbursements. For purposes of 
applicable credits, the term restitution means payment made by the 
offender to the victim who was injured in the crime, to the legal 
guardian of a vulnerable adult or child, or to beneficiaries of the 
victim of homicide.
    Restitution does not refer to the costs of general collection of 
fines, fees and other penalties from offenders that provides the basic 
revenue for the compensation program and are not attributable to 
reimbursement of payouts on a specific claim. Refunds include amounts 
from overpayment, erroneous payments made to claimants, and uncashed 
checks. Additional guidance regarding applicable credits

[[Page 27164]]

can be found in OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State and Local 
Governments.
    F. Recovery Costs. Salary and benefits costs for personnel directly 
involved in recovery efforts may be offset against the amount of income 
received from such reimbursement. Recovery efforts are those activities 
that are directly attributable to obtaining restitution, refunds, and 
other reimbursements for the expenses of specific crime victims who 
have received compensation from the state program. Expenses shall be 
limited to the percentage of those salaries and benefits incurred by 
the state for individual employees whose primary responsibilities (not 
less than 75 percent of each individual employee's work time) are 
directly and specifically related to recovering restitution and other 
reimbursements on behalf of compensated victims. Additional allowable 
recovery costs are garnishment fees, service of legal documents, costs 
of legal publication, and subpoena fees related to collecting 
reimbursements. Recovery costs cannot be claimed for employees whose 
salary and benefits are derived from federal administrative grant 
funds. Recovery costs do not include the collection of fines, fees, and 
other penalties that provide the basic revenue for the compensation 
program and are not identifiable to reimbursement of payouts on a 
specific victim claim.
    G. Sources of Payments to Crime Victims. There is no financial 
requirement that state compensation programs identify the source of 
individual payments to crime victims as either federal or state 
dollars, nor are there any requirements that restitution recoveries or 
other refunds be tracked to federal or state dollars paid out to the 
victim.
    H. Incorrect Certifications. If it is determined that a state has 
made an incorrect certification of payments of crime victims 
compensation from state funding sources and a VOCA crime victim 
compensation grant is awarded in error, one of the following two 
courses of action will be taken:
    1. Overcertification. In the event that an overcertification comes 
to the attention of OVC or the Office of the Comptroller, OJP, the 
necessary steps will be taken to recover funds that were awarded in 
error. OVC does not have the authority to permit states to keep amounts 
they were not entitled to as a result of overcertification. Generally, 
it is the policy of OVC to reduce the amount of the subsequent year 
VOCA victim compensation award by the amount of the overpayment.
    2. Undercertification. If a state undercertifies amounts paid to 
crime victims, OVC and the Office of the Comptroller, OJP, will not 
supplement payments to the state to correct the state's error since 
this would require recalculating allocations to every state VOCA 
compensation and assistance program and cause disruption in 
administration of these programs.

VI. Application Process and Performance Reporting

    A. Application for Federal Assistance. Each year, OVC issues to 
each eligible state an application package that contains the necessary 
forms and detailed information required to apply for VOCA crime victim 
compensation grant funds. The amount for which each state may apply is 
included with the application package. States shall use the Standard 
Form 424, Application for Federal Assistance, and its attachments to 
apply for VOCA victim compensation grant funds. Applications for VOCA 
crime victim compensation grants may only be submitted by the state 
agency designated by the governor to administer the VOCA victim 
compensation program and grant.
    Completed applications must be submitted on or before the stated 
deadline, as determined by OVC. If an eligible state fails to apply for 
its crime victim compensation allocation by the prescribed deadline, 
OVC will redistribute federal VOCA crime victim compensation dollars to 
the VOCA victim assistance grant program, after all states have 
received the statutorily prescribed percentage of their prior years' 
payout.
    B. Annual Performance Report. States receiving VOCA crime victim 
compensation grant funds must submit an annual OVC Performance Report. 
The Performance Report is due January 15 of each year for the preceding 
federal fiscal year.

VII. Administrative Costs

    A. Administrative Costs Allowance. VOCA allows states to use up to 
5 percent of crime victim compensation grant funds for administering 
the crime victim compensation grant program. Any portion of the 
allowable 5 percent that is not used for administrative purposes must 
be used for awards of compensation to crime victims.
    The intent of this provision is to support and advance program 
administration in all operational areas including claims processing, 
staff development and training, public outreach, and program funding by 
supporting activities that will improve program effectiveness and 
service to crime victims. If a state elects to use up to 5 percent of 
the VOCA compensation grant for administrative purposes, only those 
costs directly associated with administering the program, enhancing 
overall program operations, and ensuring compliance with federal 
requirements can be expended with administrative grant funds. State 
grantees are not required to match the portion of the grant that is 
used for administrative purposes. The state administrative agency may 
charge a federally approved indirect cost rate to this grant, but this 
cost is capped by the limits of these 5 percent administrative funds.
    States must certify that VOCA funds used for administrative 
purposes will not supplant state or local funds but increase the amount 
of funds available for administering the compensation program. For the 
purpose of establishing a baseline level of effort, states must 
maintain documentation on the overall administrative commitment of the 
state prior to their use of VOCA administrative grant funds. State 
grantees will not be in violation of the nonsupplantation clause if 
there is a decrease in the state's previous financial commitment toward 
the administration of the VOCA grant programs in the following 
situations: (1) if serious loss of revenue occurs at the state level, 
resulting in across-the-board budget restrictions, and (2) if there is 
a decrease in the number of state-supported staff positions used to 
meet the state's effort in administering the VOCA grant programs. State 
grantees using administrative funds must notify OVC if there is a 
decrease in the amount of its previous state financial commitment to 
the cost of administering the VOCA program.
    Only staff activities directly related to compensation functions 
can be funded with VOCA administrative funds. Similarly, any equipment 
purchases or other expenditures charged to the VOCA administrative 
funds can be charged only in proportion to the percentage of time used 
by the compensation program.
    B. Allowable Costs. Allowable administrative costs include but are 
not limited to, the following:
    1. Salaries and benefits for staff and consultant fees to 
administer and manage the financial and programmatic aspects of the 
crime victim compensation program. Staff supported by administrative 
funds under the VOCA crime victim compensation grant must work directly 
for the compensation program in the same proportion as their level of 
support from VOCA grant funds. If the staff performs

[[Page 27165]]

other functions unrelated to the provision of compensation to crime 
victims, the proportion of time spent working on the compensation 
program must be documented using some reasonable method of valuation at 
regular measurable intervals, e.g., time and attendance records. The 
documentation must provide a clear audit trail for the expenditure of 
grant funds.
    Temporary or periodic personnel support, such as qualified peer 
reviewers for medical and mental health claims, and data processing 
support services are also allowable. These services may be obtained 
through means deemed acceptable by state administrative procedures.
    2. Training and technical assistance includes attendance at 
training and technical assistance meetings and conferences that address 
issues relevant to state administration of victim compensation 
programs. Allowable costs may include travel, registration fees, and 
other such expenses.
    3. Monitoring compliance with federal and state requirements.
    4. Automation, including the study, design, and implementation of 
claims processing and other relevant systems; purchase and maintenance 
of equipment for the state grantee, including computers, software, FAX 
machines, copying machines, and TTYs; and services required to support 
the use of technology to enhance services to crime victims.
    5. Training to victim services providers, criminal justice 
personnel, and health, mental health and social services providers 
about the crime victim compensation program.
    6. Memberships in crime victim organizations and victim-related 
informational materials.
    7. Prorated program audit costs for the crime victim compensation 
program.
    8. Indirect costs at a federally approved rate that, when applied, 
does not exceed the 5 percent administrative cost allowance.
    9. Participation in improving coordination efforts on behalf of 
crime victims with other federal, state, and local agencies and 
organizations. This includes development of protocols, policies, and 
procedures that promote coordination of victim compensation with other 
financial and victim service programs that improve responses to crime 
victims. Such participation includes the development and coordination 
of criminal crisis response teams.
    10. Informational materials including development of applications, 
brochures, posters, training manuals and other relevant publications 
that describe the compensation application process, eligibility 
criteria, and the range of benefits available for crime victims. This 
includes related printing costs.
    11. Development of strategic and financial plans, conduct of 
surveys, and needs assessments, survey of victim satisfaction with the 
program, and employment of geographic information systems (GIS) 
technology for planning.
    12. Toll-free telephone numbers, Internet access to claim 
information, and other such program enhancements.
    C. Requirements to Notify OVC of Use of Administrative Funds. State 
grantees that elect to use administrative funds under the VOCA 
compensation grant are required to include with their annual 
application, notification of their intent to use administrative funds, 
the percentage of funds, and the purposes for which they will be used. 
Grantees will be expected to include in their annual performance 
report, documentation of actual use of administrative funds.
    D. Confidentiality of Research Information. Except as otherwise 
provided by federal law, no officer or employee of the Federal 
Government or recipient of monies under VOCA shall use or reveal any 
research or statistical information gathered under this program by any 
person, and identifiable to any specific private person, for any 
purpose other than the purpose for which such information was obtained, 
in accordance with VOCA. Such information, and any copy of such 
information, shall be immune from legal process and shall not, without 
the consent of the person furnishing such information, be admitted as 
evidence or used for any purpose in any action, suit, or other 
judicial, legislative, or administrative proceeding.
    This provision is intended, among other things, to assure 
confidentiality of information provided by crime victims to employees 
of VOCA-funded victim compensation programs. However, there is nothing 
in VOCA or its legislative history to indicate that Congress intended 
to override or repeal, in effect, a state's existing law governing the 
disclosure of information, which is supportive of VOCA's fundamental 
goal of helping crime victims. For example, this provision would not 
act to override or repeal, in effect, a state's existing law pertaining 
to the mandatory reporting of a suspected child abuse. See Pennhurst 
State School and Hospital vs. Halderman, et al., 451 U.S. 1 (1981).

VIII. Financial Requirements

    As a condition of receiving a grant, states must agree to ensure 
adherence to the general and specific requirements of the OJP Financial 
Guide (effective edition) and all applicable OMB Circulars and Common 
Rules. This includes the maintenance of books and records in accordance 
with generally accepted government accounting principles. For copies of 
the OJP Financial Guide, call or write the OJP Office of the 
Comptroller, 810 7th Street NW., Washington, DC 20531, Customer Service 
Center 1/800-458-0786; or visit the website at: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/
FinGuide/

IX. Monitoring

    A. Office of the Comptroller/General Accounting Office/Office of 
the Inspector General. The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of 
Justice Programs, Office of the Comptroller; the General Accounting 
Office; and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector 
General, conduct periodic reviews of the financial policies and 
procedures and records of VOCA state grantees. Therefore, upon request, 
states must provide authorized representatives with access to examine 
all records, books, papers, case files, or other documents related to 
the expenditure of funds received under this grant.
    B. Office for Victims of Crime. OVC conducts onsite monitoring in 
accordance with its monitoring plan. While on the site, OVC personnel 
review various documents and files including (1) Program manuals; (2) 
procedures; (3) program reports; (4) claimant application, eligibility 
requirements, and determination and appeal process; (5) a random 
sampling of victim compensation claim files; and (6) other applicable 
state records and files. Grantees are notified in writing of their 
compliance with requirements of VOCA.

X. Suspension and Termination of Funding

    If, after reasonable notice to the grantee, OVC finds that a state 
has failed to comply substantially with the following: VOCA, the 
state's application for funding, the OJP Financial Guide (effective 
edition), the Final VOCA Crime Victim Compensation Grant Program 
Guidelines, or any implementing regulation or federal requirements, the 
OVC Director may suspend or terminate funding to the state and/or take 
other appropriate action. Under the procedures of 28 CFR part 18, 
states may request a hearing on the record on the justification for the 
suspension and/or termination of VOCA funds.


[[Page 27166]]


    Dated: May 10, 2001.
Kathryn M. Turman,
Director, Office for Victims of Crime.
[FR Doc. 01-12256 Filed 5-15-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-18-P