SUBJECT: 2016-17 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Competitive Grant # 5
INITIATED BY: District Attorney/Victim-Witness Assistance Program
Background: In July of 1989, the Office of the District Attorney began operating a Crime Victim Assistance Program. In October of 1992, the Victim-Witness Assistance Program was awarded the first Crime Victim Assistance Grant, thereby broadening the program for the provision of basic services. In July of 1995, additional funds were received from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, thus allowing the program to expand services to all 6 counties within the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. Successful grant allocations since that time have sustained the program. Although still understaffed, the office currently employs a Director of Victim Services and 7.5 Victim Advocates.
Analysis: If approved for FY17, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Georgia will allocate $25,000 to Muscogee County Government to support the Victim-Witness Assistance Program for the grant year October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council requires a total match of $6,250 and it can all come in the form of volunteer hours specified as In-Kind contributions.
The total amount of $31,250 represents the professional fee for one licensed and bonded counseling contractor who will oversee an on-site mental health program for our crime victims who are otherwise unable to obtain services.
Grant Funded Professional Contracted Position: Agreement Fee - $25,000
Financial Considerations: Contractor will be licensed with all current licensing and valid medical insurance to oversee an in-house mental health program offering counseling to our crime victims. Total award is $31,250 with the Federal allocation of $25,000 and $6,250 from the required In-Kind Match in the form of volunteer hours.
Projected Annual Fiscal Impact Statement: There will be no annual fiscal impact as a result of this grant.
Legal Considerations: Georgia Law requires the District Attorney provide extensive services, information and notification to crime victims. (O.C.G.A.-17-17-1) The District Attorney is solely and directly responsible for complying with this law as mandated by the Victims’ Bill of Rights. Legislature acknowledges that this mandate places additional burdens on prosecutors and have designed laws enabling utilization of the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund to assist in easing said burdens.
Recommendations/Actions: Authorize submission and, if approved, acceptance of a grant in the amount of $25,000 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, in order to provide counseling services to those crime victims who have been previously underserved. This action will provide the funding for a contracted licensed professional to provide on-site counseling to crime victims for at least the next three years in the form of an annual continuation grant.