Legislation We Follow

Victims of Crime Act

Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fund

Request:Release $1.5billion from the Crime Victims Fund and ensure that administrative expenses are taken above the cap.
The Crime Victims Fund was created by Congress in 1984 to provide federal grants to state and local programs that assist victims of crime. The Fund is derived entirely from fines and penalties paid by federal criminal offenders, not taxpayer revenues.

New deposits in 2013 totaled $1.489 billion. FY 2015 collections are expected to be $1.9 billion. The Fund balance at the beginning of 2015 will exceed $10.2 billion. Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)program funds are largely distributed to states through formula grants.

Because these non-tax dollars have already been collected and deposited into the Fund, raising the cap does not add to the national deficit or debt.

Rape crisis centers rely on VOCA funds to provide direct services to victims of sexual assault. Over 4,000 agencies rely on continued VOCA assistance grants to provide critical direct services for over 3.4 million victims a year. Vital and lifesaving services supported by VOCA include crisis intervention, assistance with the criminal justice process, counseling, court accompaniment, and much more. There are still far too few services available to many populations including disabled victims, rural victims, teen victims, elder victims, and non-English speaking victims, among others.

Additional VOCA funds are needed. According to a 2013 internet survey of VOCA recipients to which over one-thousand sexual assault services providers responded, 88% of programs believe more help from VOCA isdesperately needed.

A 2013 NAESV survey of rape crisis centers revealed that:

• Almost 75% of rape crisis centers lost funding in the past year through a combination of local, state and federal cuts andover half of programs experienced a reduction in staffing.

• Over 1/3 of rape crisis centers have a waiting list for services with victims waiting most often for counseling services and support groups.

• Waiting lists were as high as 53 survivors with waiting times, in some cases, exceeding 2 months.

Administrative costs should never mean decreased grant amounts to states for direct victim services.Congress must ensure that management and administrative (M&A) costs are taken from the VOCA Fund balance “above the cap” and not from assistance grants.

While increasing the cap to provide more funds for state assistance grants, support set-asides of $20 million for tribal communities, $10 million to combat domestic minor human trafficking, and $25 million to implement Vision 21.

Contact Terri Poore, Policy Consultant at (850) 228-3428 or terri@endsexualviolence.org.