March 18, 2021
Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1652 to secure ongoing funding for victim service agencies across the nation. The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) was established in 1984 and provides critical funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers and many other organizations that help crime victims. CACs rely heavily on VOCA grants, but last year fund disbursements decreased by an alarming 25%. The new legislation will restore funding and avoid additional, potentially catastrophic cuts.
Funding for VOCA grants comes from penalties paid by offenders, and not from taxpayers. Deposits into the fund have declined as more cases are being settled via non-prosecution and deferred-prosecution agreements; in such cases, penalty payments that would otherwise fund VOCA grants are being deposited instead into the General Treasury. If this trend continues, the VOCA fund balance is projected to reach a ten-year low by the end of 2021.
What’s next? The resolution will go to the Senate. We are pleased that Senator Bob Casey has already signed on as a co-sponsor. The fight is not over but yesterday’s was a big win for Children’s Advocacy Centers.
Read our letter urging elected officials to “fix” the VOCA funding crisis.