On October 19th, Members of Congress received letter urging Congress to take immediate action to prevent devastating cuts to federal funding for victim service programs through the Victims of Crime Act (“VOCA”), including programs serving victims and survivors of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, drunk driving, assault, homicide, and other crimes. The letter also urges Congress to increase federal support to help states compensate crime victims for costs such as medical bills, lost wages, and even funerals.
The situation is dire! Federal grants to victim services through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) decreased by 25% last year, and further drastic cuts are expected, because the non-taxpayer-funded pool of funding VOCA grants are pulled from is running dry. Congress can fix this by ensuring federal financial penalties from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements are treated the same way as penalties resulting from criminal convictions - that they go to serve and compensate crime victims.
State victim compensation funds are also facing financial challenges due to decreased revenue, and many are unable to provide adequate compensation to help survivors pay for medical bills, counseling, lost wages, and other costs. Congress can fix this by increasing the percentage of state victim compensation funds that the federal government matches through VOCA.
The aforementioned letter also asks Congress to do the following:
We need your help to get Congress to pass these measures into law!
For individuals: Please email a link to the letter to your Senators and Representative and express your support. Click here for a sample email.
For organizations: In addition to emailing the letter your Senators and Representative, please fill out this form to sign onto a slightly updated letter. The deadline for signatures is November 6.
For more information, contact Rachel Graber (firstname.lastname@example.org).