Governor Larry Hogan today announced that over $46 million in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Assistance federal grants will be awarded to state and local agencies and nonprofit organizations that provide assistance, services, and treatment for Maryland citizens who have been victims of crime. The governor made the announcement at the Center for Children in La Plata, a nonprofit organization that provides mental health services to children and their families. He was joined by Steven J. Kelly, chair of the Maryland State Board of Victim Services; Catherine Meyers, executive director of the Center for Children; and other victim advocates.
The VOCA grants, funded through the U.S. Department of Justice and administered by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention, are used to support services such as crisis intervention, counseling, emergency transportation to court, temporary housing, criminal justice support, and advocacy.
“Here in Maryland, we are working tirelessly to ensure that victims have the right to information, the right to provide input, the right to receive restitution, and perhaps most importantly, the expectation of being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said Governor Hogan. “The more than $46 million we are announcing today will be dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable among us, to improving services for victims, and to providing our citizens with the most basic rights of safety and security.”
This year marks an increase in the allotment of VOCA funding to Maryland, and in response, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention commissioned a Statewide Victim Services Needs Assessment to work as a guide for funding decisions, and to ensure that programs and services are fully responsive to the needs of crime victims across Maryland.
“Thanks to Governor Hogan’s strong commitment to supporting victims and the increase in grant dollars this year, every single eligible application was funded, including $35.9 million to continue and expand projects and $10.2 million for new projects or services,” said Glenn Fueston, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention.
Just last month, Governor Hogan announced a total of $2,367,650 in federal Violence Against Women Act grants to fund efforts to help protect women and families from domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking crimes. In April, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention sponsored the first-ever Maryland Crime Victims’ Rights Conference to provide valuable training and to recognize those who have contributed to the victims’ rights movement in Maryland.
VOCA Victim Assistance grants are awarded to organizations that provide direct services to a wide array of crime victims. These agencies include sexual assault and rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs and shelters, child abuse programs, mental health services, and programs for underserved victims. Hospitals and emergency medical facilities that offer crisis counseling, forensic examinations, and other victim services are also eligible for the grants. Criminal justice agencies such as police departments or state’s attorneys’ offices use these funds for victim crisis units, victim advocates, victim registration and notification, and victim-witness programs.
A table of the grants can be found below.