Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 144-4-.05 - Certification of Crime Victim Assistance Programs
(1) Purpose. The Council promulgates these rules and certifies crime victim assistance programs under the authority granted by O.C.G.A. § 15-21-130, et seq. and O.C.G.A. § 35-6A-4.
(2) Definitions. For purposes of approving or certifying crime victim assistance programs, the following terms and phrases are defined as:
(a) "Certified crime victim assistance program" refers to any governmental or non-governmental program which has met the criteria established by the Council.
(b) "Certified human trafficking victim assistance organization" refers to a certified crime victim assistance program which also provides comprehensive trauma-informed services to child victims designed to alleviate the adverse effects of trafficking victimization and to aid in the child's healing, including, but not limited to, assistance with case management, placement, access to educational and legal services, and mental health services
(c) "Child" shall have the same meaning as provided for in O.C.G.A. § 15-11-2.
(d) "County" or "county governing body" refers to a county commission.
(e) "Court officer" refers to a person charged with the duty of collecting moneys arising from criminal fines ordered by a court and will generally be the clerk of the court.
(f) "Court" refers to a superior, state, probate, magistrate, municipal or other court that assesses or collects crime-based fines pursuant to Georgia law.
(g) "Crime" refers to any criminal offense defined by Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated or any other applicable Code Section.
(h) "Eligible applicant" refers to any governmental entity or other organization that meets all applicable criteria set forth by the Council based on the eligibility requirements for subrecipient programs contained in the federal Victims of Crime Act of 1984 and the victim assistance rules promulgated by the Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice.
(i) "Fine" refers to any criminal fine or criminal bond forfeiture ordered by a court.
(j) "Trafficking" refers to the offenses of trafficking an individual for sexual servitude and trafficking a person for labor servitude as provided in O.C.G.A. § 16-5-46.
(k) "Victim" refers to any person against whom a crime has been perpetrated.
(l) "Victim assistance program" refers to any eligible governmental entity or other organization that coordinates and provides direct services to victims of crime. Victim assistance includes, but is not limited to, the following services: crisis intervention, emergency shelter, emergency transportation, counseling and criminal justice advocacy.
(3) Application for and Evaluation of Program Certification.
(a) The Council will conduct certification of programs on a biannual basis, in even-numbered years.
(b) Application guidelines and forms will be available from the Council upon request.
(c) Any victim assistance program seeking certification to receive funds authorized under O.C.G.A. § 15-21-131 must submit a completed application with supporting documentation to the Council for consideration.
(d) No program will be certified that does not show proof that it:
1. Assists victims with applying for compensation from the Crime Victims Emergency Fund;
2. Coordinates services with any governmental entity and other organizations providing fundamental victim services within the county it is located or serves;
3. Has on staff a graduate of the Georgia Victim Assistance Academy, the National Victim Assistance Academy (either by attendance or completion of Victim Assistance Training Online) or other program that certifies persons providing assistance to victims. Proof that a staff member is scheduled to attend a certifying program may allow provisional certification of the program. Having on staff a licensed professional in social work, psychology or related field may also satisfy this requirement; and
4. Provides or will provide services to victims of crime. These services are categorized by the federal government and by the Council as follows:
(i) Crisis counseling
(iv) Group treatment/Support
(vi) Information/Referral (In-person)
(vii) Criminal justice support/Advocacy
(viii) Emergency financial assistance
(ix) Emergency legal advocacy
(x) Assistance in filing compensation claims
(xi) Personal advocacy
(xii) Telephone contact information/Referral
(e) Upon receipt of a completed application, the agency has twenty business days to review the application and forward to the applicant correspondence from the Director either certifying its program as meeting all criteria set forth by the Council or denying its certification request.
(f) If a program is denied approval it may, within ten business days of receipt of any rejection letter, appeal in writing to the Council which may review the appeal at its next regularly scheduled meeting, conduct a hearing to determine whether the appeal has any merit and either affirm, overturn or modify the initial decision.
(4) Decertification. A program may be decertified if found to:
(a) Be delinquent in meeting the reporting requirements;
(b) Have used funds for activities other than providing direct services to victims;
(c) No longer meet the minimum criteria as set forth in 144-4-.01(d);
(d) Have failed to comply with these administrative rules; or
(e) No longer provide services as outlined in the original application.
(5) Certified Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Organizations. Any victim assistance organization that accepts referrals from a law enforcement officer or agency or DFCS pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-11-130.1 must be certified by the Council as a certified human trafficking victim assistance organization.
(6) Distribution and Reporting.
(a) County administration.
1. If there is more than one certified victim assistance program within a county, the county must decide what percentage of the total funds will be given to each.
2. By law, a county may reserve up to five percent of the funds received in the previous year as a contingency fund to sustain crime victim assistance programs. This reserve fund is not cumulative and reserve funds do not roll over into subsequent years.
3. Each county must submit to the Council a financial report detailing the recipients of the funding and the amounts disbursed to each recipient. If the county does not have a certified program and the funds have been disbursed directly to the district attorney, then the county must so notify the agency. Such reports are due January 31 and July 31 for the reporting periods ending December 31 and June 30, respectively.
(b) Certified victim assistance program reporting.
1. All certified victim assistance programs that receive funding from this source must report annually to the Agency the amount of funds received, the number of victims served, the number of services provided to victims and such information as the agency deems necessary to include in an annual report. A report is due whether or not funds were received from the county in which the program is certified. Such reports will be for the reporting period of January 1 through December 31 and due no later than February 15 of the year following the reporting period. Failure to report may result in decertification of the program. The Council shall make available forms for reporting upon request and on its website.
2. In addition to the reports required above, all certified human trafficking victim assistance organizations must report quarterly the number of victims referred to the organization, the number of services provided to victims and such information as the agency deems necessary to include in the semiannual report. A report is due whether or not funds were received from the county in which the program is certified. Such reports are due April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31 for the reporting periods ending March 30, June 30, September 30, and December 31, respectively.
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