Indiana Criminal Justice Institute doles out $67 million in grants to support crime victims. (Niki Kelly/Indiana Capital Chronicle)
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) awarded $67 million in federal grants to more than 190 public and nonprofit entities through the Victims of Crime Act program. The funding will be used to provide direct services and assistance to crime victims throughout the state.
The funding is provided by the Office for Victims of Crime under the U.S. Department of Justice and comes from the fines and restitution paid by convicted federal offenders.
“It’s not enough to hold offenders accountable. We also need to support victims who have been impacted by violence and need assistance,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Last year alone, VOCA funds helped more than 200,000 crime victims in Indiana, so this program has a sizable footprint and is vital to communities across the state.”
The Victims of Crime Act was established by Congress in 1984 to support state and local programs that assist victims of all kinds of crime including assault, robbery, homicide, driving while intoxicated, fraud, elder abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking and many others. Overall, the money is designed to help survivors stabilize their lives after a victimization, participate in the justice system and restore a measure of security and safety to their daily lives, along with addressing the physical and emotional trauma of crime.
Over the next two years, these grants will fund a variety of initiatives in Indiana including mental health counseling, transitional housing, crisis intervention, legal aid, and child and youth services. The funding will also be used to support victim advocates, sexual assault nurse examiners and other victim-focused positions.
This cycle, priority was given to projects that focus on serving marginalized and underserved communities, as well as promote equity and racial justice.
“When it comes to addressing the needs of crime victims, one size does not fit all,” said Kim Lambert, ICJI Victim Services Director. “That’s why funding sources like VOCA are important because they allow organizations, embedded in the community, to create and tailor services to the individual.”
The projects for the 2022-2024 grant cycle were approved by the ICJI Board of Trustees and will be made available to organizations starting in October.
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