NNEDV & NAESV Host Digital Day of Action for Victims of Crime Act Cuts
September 12, 2023
Today, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) are hosting a digital day of action to call on Congress to stave off catastrophic cuts to federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants, which provide lifesaving services to millions of victims each year. The proposed funding allocated to VOCA by Congress this year is a 40% cut. Potentially millions of victims nationwide will lose access to lifesaving and life-sustaining domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, and other victim services. Without access to these critical services, the real-time impact will not only be felt by individuals and families, but also in communities nationwide.
The day of action builds on a letter NAESV and NNEDV led, signed by over 1,500 local, state, tribal, and national organizations, urging Congress to act to save VOCA in the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget process. Advocates have been meeting with their Members of Congress over the August recess, explaining the urgent need for stable VOCA funding.
“Rape crisis centers rely on VOCA funds to provide direct services like crisis intervention, counseling, and court accompaniment to victims of sexual assault. A 40% cut will be devastating to these programs who provide the frontline response for survivors in their communities,” said Monika Johnson Hostler, President and CEO of NAESV.
“Local providers are facing a fiscal cliff and will have to lay off staff and reduce programs if the proposed VOCA cuts are sustained. The cuts will further endanger domestic violence survivors who are fleeing life-threatening violence,” said Monica McLaughlin, Senior Director of Public Policy at NNEDV.
VOCA grants are funded by the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), which is a revenue source created by fines and fees in federal cases. The CVF has seen dwindling deposits over several years, which has decreased the amount allocated to VOCA grants for several years. The proposed $1.2 billion in President’s FY24 budget and the FY24 House and Senate Commerce Justice Science appropriations bills is a 40% cut, as compared to FY23. States have already begun to implement significant cuts, with some cutting more than 60% in the current year alone.
As a Kentucky victim advocate shared in NAESV’s annual funding survey: “We are a state-designated children’s advocacy and sexual violence resource center that receives one of our state’s largest VOCA awards each year, so the significant reductions over the past year have forced us to downsize our staff while demand for services continues to increase. We are now facing a potential 30% cut next year and it could be even worse the following year. We will not be able to even provide the core children’ advocacy center and sexual violence resource center services which are required by state statutes.”
In NNEDV’s 17th Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report, a Georgia advocate shared: “Without increased funding, the services we are able to provide will not be adequate to meet the needs of increasing numbers of survivors. The VOCA funding cuts are devastating not only to our program, but to many programs across the state.”
The impacts are dire. At this proposed funding level, thousands of victim service providers across the nation will be forced to lay off staff, cut programs, and/or shut their doors. The cuts will fall hardest on the smallest programs, particularly programs in rural communities, low-income communities, and Communities of Color. The cuts mean that victims in danger and crisis will have nowhere to turn.
Advocates are urging Congress to avoid this unnecessary crisis by providing level funding to VOCA in fiscal year 2024.
Check out the VOCA Digital Day of Action Toolkit and join us in calling on Congress to act.
The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence is the voice in Washington for the 56 state and territorial sexual assault coalitions and 1500 rape crisis centers working to end sexual violence and support survivors.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) represents the 56 state and U.S. territorial coalitions against domestic violence. NNEDV is a social change organization working to create a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists. NNEDV works to make domestic violence a national priority, change the way society responds to domestic violence, and strengthen domestic violence advocacy at every level.