Don't Cut VOCA

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 2:30pm

We must make our voices clear and loud right now to sustain VOCA funding While many aspects of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, signed by President Obama this week, are good for vulnerable people, steady funding for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) is at risk. Looking for ways to provide additional funding for defense and human needs, the Budget deal took $1.5 billion out of the non-taxpayer-generated VOCA funds, which are dedicated to direct victim services, to pay for the overall increase in funding. If this deal is sustained, the amount of VOCA funds allocated each year could be much lower than last year's appropriations and the similar current amount budgeted in both the U.S. House ($2.7 billion) and Senate ($2.6 billion). Appropriations bills for FY 2016 will determine if VOCA is funded at the 2015 and 2016 recommended levels. Call your Members of Congress right now (especially if they are on the Appropriations committees or party leaders, see below) with this message: "Do not reduce the funds allocated for VOCA. We count on VOCA to fund direct services such as (name critical services such as shelter, rape crisis services, legal assistance, direct counseling, etc.). This money comes from criminal fines, not taxpayer money and barely meets the needs of programs and services to victims. In 2015, VOCA was increased in order to truly help the many victims who have been going without critical support services. There is at least $12 billion balance in this fund and VOCA dedicated funding is a small part of that. If VOCA is cut from the 2015 level, it will be devastating. It will harm our programs by (include details such as – reduced numbers of victims who could be served, reduced professional and skilled staff, reduced or eliminated victim service and prevention programs). In this year's Appropriations process and beyond, Congress must maintain its commitment to helping the most vulnerable victims escape and heal from violence and abuse and rebuild their lives. Please don't turn back the clock on victims. Please tell Appropriators that victims in [Your state] are counting on sustained VOCA funds. With over $12 billion in the VOCA fund, this is not the time to cut funding for victim services."