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 (CVF) for programs that serve victims of crime, including state-formula victim assistance grants. These funds are generated by fines paid by federal criminals to support services for over 6 million victims of all types of crimes annually through 6,462 direct service organizations such as domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and child abuse treatment programs. Sustained VOCA funds are needed to respond to the dangerous lack of available services for victims.
Background: The Need for the VOCA Fix
In federal Fiscal Years 2015-2018, Congress released substantially larger sums from the CVF. This funding assists millions of victims of crime each year. However, since 2019, the VOCA funds released annually have declined because of shrinking deposits and subsequent declines in the CVF balance. The declines are due to prosecutorial strategies that have changed over the last decade and are not a partisan issue. When deposits into the CVF are reduced, the amount allocated to states for victim services is reduced.
About the VOCA Fix Act
The legislation amended the law to deposit penalties and fines from non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements into the Crime Victims Fund (CVF). Over time, this bill will restore billions in funding into the CVF, stabilizing the fund and staving off future cuts.
VOCA Legislative Fix
On July 21, 2021, President Biden signed the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (VOCA Fix Act) into law (Public law 117-27). The law, which will secure billions in victim services, has remained one of NNEDV’s top legislative priorities. The Fix was an urgently needed, critical first step. Without the Fix the future of the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) would have been in jeopardy. Read NNEDV’s statement here.
Current VOCA Funding
While the VOCA Fix was an urgently needed structural fix, it will take time and new cases to replenish the fund to 2018 levels. In the meantime, annual federal Appropriations will likely remain lower than in previous years. Local VOCA-funded victim service providers will likely continue to face funding reductions in this vital funding stream.
FY 22 Federal Appropriations Requests
Congress must provide steady funding in FY 22. We urge you to:
- Request strong and steady funding to be released from the VOCA fund each year and ask for $2.65 billion specifically in FY 22;
- Support a continued federal funding stream from VOCA for tribes. Individuals on tribal lands experience disproportionately high rates of domestic and sexual violence and need funding for victim services; and
- Reject proposals that use the VOCA fund to pay for other Department of Justice programs since that reduces funding for direct victim services.