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NNEDV Celebrates Unanimous Senate Passage of the VOCA Fix

July 20, 2021

The Bipartisan Bill Is Headed to President Biden for Signature

For Immediate Release
Contact: 
communications@NNEDV.org

Today, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) applauds the U.S. Senate passage of H.R. 1652, the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (“VOCA Fix”), with an extraordinary vote of 100 to 0. VOCA Fix bills were introduced in both chambers on March 4, 2021. On March 17, 2021, H.R. 1652 passed the U.S. House of Representatives (384-38) with broad bipartisan support. The bill, which will secure billions in victim services funding and is one of NNEDV’s top legislative priorities, is now headed to President Biden for his signature.

VOCA is the largest source of federal funding for domestic and sexual assault services in the country and is not taxpayer funded. VOCA funds come from federal criminal fines and fees that are deposited in the Crime Victims Fund (CVF).  NNEDV joins thousands of victim service providers across the country in celebrating this victory and commends the bipartisan leadership in both chambers for moving quickly to pass the VOCA Fix.

“The VOCA Fix, which will save and rebuild a vital federal funding source, will make a world of difference for more than 6,000 local domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, legal services programs, and child abuse treatment programs in every state and territory,” said Deborah J. Vagins, NNEDV President and CEO. “Millions of dollars that could have been used to help victims and their families were being deposited to the General Treasury rather than the Crime Victims Fund, putting the lifesaving services these organizations provide in jeopardy. Today’s action will stave off more drastic cuts by directing deposits to this fund and help local programs as they work to meet the growing demand for services.”

Over the course of the last decade, the Department of Justice has brought fewer federal criminal cases and has instead entered into deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements. The monetary penalties from these agreements are deposited into the General Treasury rather than into the CVF, resulting in the loss of billions of dollars. VOCA grants have decreased by 70% over the last four years. In this year alone, at least $545 million was diverted from the CVF. The VOCA Fix addresses this ongoing crisis by redirecting fines and penalties from non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements into the CVF, reducing additional catastrophic cuts to VOCA.

More than 1,700 victim rights organizations, government agencies, and 56 Attorneys General supported this legislative fix. “Victim service providers are responding to higher demand for services from victims facing intensifying violence and desperation,” said Monica McLaughlin, NNEDV Director of Public Policy. “In the midst of this crisis, thousands of dedicated victim advocates called, emailed, tweeted at, and met with their Members of Congress to urge them to pass the VOCA Fix. We are grateful for their advocacy for survivors.”

NNEDV thanks the bill’s lead sponsors, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), as well as Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), and John Moolenaar (R-MI), for their leadership and commitment to lifesaving services for victims of crime. We applaud Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for bringing the VOCA Fix to the Senate floor and all Representatives and Senators who voted for the Fix.

“We are looking forward to President Biden taking swift action,” said Vagins. “As an author of the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994, President Biden has a legacy of over 25 years moving the country forward on domestic violence issues. The VOCA Fix bill advances the work he initiated and will be the first major piece of legislation he will sign that builds on this legacy.”

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The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), a nonprofit charitable organization, is a leading voice against violence. NNEDV is dedicated to creating a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists. NNEDV’s members include the 56 state and U.S. territorial coalitions against domestic violence, which have more than 2,000 local programs. NNEDV is a premiere national organization that has worked to advance the movement against domestic violence for over thirty years, having led efforts to pass the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and to reauthorize and strengthen countless laws and regulations to increase safety and end violence. To learn more about NNEDV, please visit NNEDV.org.