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. Currently the Grants Unit administers and processes over 200 contracts to a variety of Victim Assistance Programs (VAPs) across New York State in the amount of $25 million annually. The duties associated with this task include ensuring compliance with VOCA Program Guidelines; timely submission of all financial, sub-grant award and other required reports; and resolution of any federal audit findings.
Our staff assists the funded agencies with processing their contracts, completing fiscal cost reports and submitting performance reports detailing services provided and number of individuals served. In addition, annual site visits are conducted to ensure the contractual obligations are met and that programs are fulfilling federal and state guidelines requirements. Technical assistance is provided on a regular basis to all funded programs on a multitude of issues. Additionally, this Unit coordinates with other criminal justice agencies in the State on victim and witness service initiatives and priorities. The Grants Unit staff is a liaison for the agency with various crime victim coalitions, federal authorities, the public and other interested parties.
The Grants Unit also coordinates activities of the OVS Advisory Council and partners with the agency's Training & Outreach Unit to offer routine VAP trainings, including the biennial OVS Statewide Victim Assistance Conference. Current VAP training opportunities are updated routinely, including Victim Services Academy Training information, on the VAP Training Webpage.
New York State Office of Victim Services distributes and makes available RFP Guidelines and Application Procedures for awards under VOCA Crime Victim Assistance Grant Program. VOCA funds for both new and continuation programs will be awarded for three consecutive 12-month grant periods. Each grant period will commence October 1st and will terminate on September 30th of the following year. All funded programs will be required to submit an updated annual budget and program goals and objectives before the start of each grant period.
Funding for the duration of any sub-grant agreement with the Office of Victim Services is contingent upon New York State’s Federal VOCA Victim Assistance award and appropriation by the New York State Legislature.