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April 2017Vol. 18, No. 2A Primer for Youth Justice Advocates

Established in 1984, the Crime Victims Fund is financed annually by the fines and penalties paid by those convicted of Federal offenses and offers an opportunity to fund services that could help youth and families who have been victims of crime. The parameters for how these funds could be used were expanded in 2016, opening up new ways to support youth who are at risk of or already involved in court engagement. The updated factsheet The Crime Victims Fund: A Primer for Youth Justice Advocates, which was produced by the National Juvenile Justice Network, is intended as a basic primer for youth advocates on how the Crime Victims Fund operates and how it might be possible to move some of these increased resources to the communities that lack these services.

The factsheet highlights the updated guidelines that are relevant to youth advocates, including the following:

  • Expanding the definition of child abuse by adding exposure to violence, sexual exploitation, and bullying, which allows for more youth to be served by these funds
  • Prioritizing underserved victims of violent crime because of the nature of the crime (e.g., child victims of sex trafficking), the characteristics of the victim (e.g., Native Americans in jurisdictions with insufficient resources), or both
  • Allowing for a greater variety of assistance, including traditional, cultural, and/or alternative therapy and healing; substance abuse counseling; peer support; and more
  • Allowing services to incarcerated victims by removing the prohibition on rehabilitation and counseling for people who have committed crimes
  • Requiring States to prioritize children and other underserved victims by emphasizing programs serving victims of sexual assault, spousal abuse, and child abuse as well as making sure that funds are available to programs serving underserved victims

Youth justice advocates can use this factsheet to educate themselves about the Crime Victims Fund, changes to the guidelines about using funds, and how they can leverage the fund to better serve youth and communities. The factsheet also includes a Q&A and links to additional information.

The factsheet, The Crime Victims Fund: A Primer for Youth Justice Advocates, is available at (PDF - 726 KB).