Agenda Report # 36
SUBJECT: 2018-19 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Continuation Grant
INITIATED BY: District Attorney/Victim-Witness Assistance Program
Recommendation: Approval is requested to authorize the District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Assistance Program to submit and if approved, accept a grant for $349,897 or as otherwise awarded from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Georgia along with $70,074 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund allocated in the FY19 Budget to provide funding for Crime Victim Assistance in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019. Along with an additional In-Kind Match of $17,400 to be contributed by volunteer hours, it is requested that the multi-governmental fund be amended by the amount awarded plus the local match.
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 the 6 counties within the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. Successful grant allocations since that time have sustained the program. The office currently employs a Director of Victim Services, a Compensation Specialist, 2 Early Victim Notification Advocates and 12.1 Victim Advocates.
Analysis: If approved for FY19, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Georgia will allocate $349,897 to Columbus Consolidated Government to support the Victim-Witness Assistance Program for the grant year October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Georgia requires a 20% total match of $87,474; cash portion is $70,074 and In-Kind portion is $17,400. The District Attorney requests Council’s authorization to utilize $70,074 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Funds, which is the required cash match.
The total amount of $437,372 represents the salary, full benefits and match for two (2) Victim Advocate Investigators, nine (9) Victim Advocates, a minimal portion to the Juvenile Court Victim Advocate and allowances for training and education.
Financial Considerations: The grant total is $437,372 with the Federal allocation of $349,897 along with $70,074 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund and $17,400 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 $349,897 or as otherwise awarded from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Georgia, along with $70,074 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, in order to meet the legislative requirements mandated by the Victims’ Bill of Rights. This action will provide the funding for said positions renewable annually.