The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, announced an $8,466,970 Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP) grant to assist victims of the June 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. OVC awarded the grant on April 12 to the Florida Office of the Attorney General.
“This funding will provide important support to the victims, their loved ones and communities who were affected by last year’s devastating attack on Pulse nightclub,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “We continue to mourn those who were taken from us that awful day, and we admire the resilience of the great city of Orlando. With this grant, we reaffirm the Justice Department’s commitment to the people of Orlando, the families of the victims and all who are helping those affected by this heinous crime.”
“OVC is committed to assisting the recovery, healing and justice for all victims of crime and this award will help to provide much needed support, emotionally and financially, as they continue to heal,” said Acting OVC Director Marilyn McCoy Roberts. “This award will reimburse victim services costs for operation of the Family Assistance Center in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, and ensure that victims, witnesses and first responders receive necessary services to help them adjust in the aftermath of violence, begin the healing process and cope with probable re-traumatization.”
On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, 29, entered Pulse nightclub with an assault rifle and handgun, opening fire on club patrons while holding them hostage. During the attack, Mateen killed 49 people and injured more than 50 others, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U. S. history. Mateen was eventually killed during a shootout with police.
Victim services funding is awarded to and distributed by the Florida Office of the Attorney General’s Department of Legal Affairs.
In 1995, following the Oklahoma City bombing, Congress authorized OVC to set aside and administer up to $50 million annually from the Crime Victims Fund for the Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve Fund to assist victims in extraordinary circumstances. Following an act of terrorism or mass violence, jurisdictions can apply for an AEAP grant award for crisis response, criminal justice support, crime victim compensation and training and technical assistance expenses. OVC also provided AEAP funds and assistance following the below mass violence incidents: in, San Bernardino, California (2015); Roseburg, Oregon (2015); Charleston, South Carolina (2015); Marysville, Washington (2014); Boston, Massachusetts (2013); Newtown, Connecticut (2012); Oak Creek, Wisconsin (2012); Aurora, Colorado (2012); Tucson, Arizona (2011); Binghamton, New York (2009); at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (2007); and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety on behalf of the Red Lake Nation (2005).
For more information on the AEAP, visit ojp.gov/ovc/AEAP/index.html.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov.