Victims of Crime Act
The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Fund was created by Congress in 1984 to provide federal support to state and local programs that assist victims of crime. VOCA uses non-taxpayer money from the Crime Victims Fund for several programs that serve victims of crime, including state-formula victim assistance grants. These funds, which are generated by fines paid by federal criminals, support services to four million victims of all types of crimes annually through thousands of direct service agencies such as domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and child abuse treatment programs.Sustained VOCA funds are critically needed to respond to the crisis caused by the dangerous lack of available services for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
The balance in the Crime Victims Fund is more than enough to maintain increased VOCA funding releases without jeopardizing the Fund’s future sustainability. We urge you to request that the committee set the annual VOCA funding release level at no less than the average amount deposited into the Fund over the three previous fiscal years, which is approximately $2.6 billion for fiscal year 2019.
The FY 17-19 appropriations bills transferred VOCA funds to pay for VAWA programs. We oppose VOCA funds being transferred to other CJS accounts, as this reduces vital funding for direct victim services. We urge you to request $2.6 billion from the VOCA Fund in FY 20 to address the urgent needs of victims of crime. We urge you to reject any efforts to transfer funds from VOCA to fund other programs within CJS.
FY 18 and FY 19 appropriations included a 5% federal funding stream from VOCA for tribes. We urge you to continue to provide a federal funding stream from VOCA for tribes. Individuals on tribal lands experience disproportionately high rates of domestic and sexual violence, and tribes desperately need funding for victim services to meet the demand for help.