The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is extremely disappointed that, despite bipartisan, bicameral support and constituent pressure, Members of Congress chose not to include a provision to prevent dramatic cuts to non-taxpayer funded Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants in the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY’21) funding bill. If it had passed, this provision would have addressed historically low deposits into VOCA’s Crime Victims Fund (CVF) by redirecting monetary settlements from non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements into the CVF. NCADV appreciates the leadership shown by many members of Congress and their staff in urging their colleagues to include the VOCA Fix in the omnibus. More about “the VOCA fix” can be found here.
Due to these decreased deposits, Congress is cutting VOCA grants by $500 million compared to last year. This is on top of a $860 million cut the year prior. The small increases in Violence Against Women Act and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act funding in the FY’21 funding bill come nowhere close to offsetting these cuts. Without the VOCA fix, grants are expected to be cut even further in the years to come.
Says Ruth M. Glenn, NCADV’s President/CEO, “We understand Appropriators had no choice but to dramatically reduce funding for VOCA grants due to the CVF running out of money. However, Congress had an opportunity in this appropriations package to protect survivors by increasing deposit into the CVF, but, despite overwhelming bipartisan support and constituent engagement, they chose not to do so. They must join us in prioritizing the VOCA fix at the beginning of the 117th Congress.”
We appreciate that Congress took some steps to help survivors and all impacted Americans by extending the eviction moratorium and unemployment benefits, providing funding for rental assistance, providing relief checks to mixed-status families, and increasing funding for critical safety net programs such as food assistance. Nonetheless, Congress must do much more to support survivors and others who are suffering due to the COVID-19 crisis, including providing funding for state and local governments, reinstating the requirement that many businesses offer paid leave during the pandemic, and providing further financial relief to everyday people - including increasing relief checks to $2,000 as passed by the House of Representatives and supported by President Trump.