SUBJECT: 2016-17 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Competitive Grant #1
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 $46,227 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 20% total match of 11,557; cash portion is $8,668 and In-Kind ($2,889) must come in the form of volunteer hours. The District Attorney requests Council’s authorization to utilize $8,668 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Funds, which is the required cash match.
The total amount of $57,784 represents the salary, benefits and match for one (1) position of Victim Advocate/Investigator who will assist in providing services to crime victims from the time of arrest.
Grant Funded Victim Advocate/Investigator – Full-time Personnel Expenses
Financial Considerations: The grant total is $57,784 with the Federal allocation of $46,227 along with $8,668 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund and $2,889 from the required In-Kind Match in the form of volunteer hours.
Projected Annual Fiscal Impact Statement: Due to the cash match coming from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, 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 $46,227 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, along with $8,668 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, in order to continue to provide services from the moment an arrest occurs. This action will provide the funding for a Victim Advocate Investigator position to be in place for at least the next three years renewable through CJCC on an annual basis.