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The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), a major funding source for domestic violence, sexual assault and other victim service providers is facing MASSIVE, immediate cuts and even more drastic cuts in the future if Congress doesn’t act now. Millions of victims rely on VOCA each year to access lifesaving services including shelter, housing, legal assistance, counseling and more. Learn more about the threat to VOCA and how Congress can fix it here.

Congress is working on the omnibus appropriations bill RIGHT NOW, so your calls can’t wait. Call your Senators and Representatives ASAP!

If you are a service provider funded by VOCA, tell Congress: 

  • Cuts to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) in the fiscal year 2021 spending bill would be catastrophic for NAME OF AGENCY, serving CITY/TOWN/COUNTY;
  • Our program would have to (i.e. reduce our services, lay off staff, or close down) if we lose any more VOCA funding;
  • Victims in danger would not have access to emergency shelter, housing, legal assistance, counseling and more;
  • Please act now to provide steady funding for VOCA in fiscal year 2021 and provide a long-term fix for the VOCA fund by the end of the year.

You can find your Senators and their contact information HERE and your Representative and their contact information HERE. If you have specific contacts in your Members of Congress’s offices, please reach out to those contacts.

You can also email them through their websites with the same asks. Please share this factsheet and this letter in your email.

Additional background 

 The U.S. House and U.S. Senate are finalizing their fiscal year 2021 funding bills. The Senate’s version of the funding bill includes a MASSIVE (40%) cut to the amount of funding released from VOCA, while the House would keep the same amount they released last year. The proposed 40% cut in the Senate bill is on top of a 25% cut made last year. The situation is dire.

Why the cuts? Less money has been deposited in the Crime Victims Fund in recent years, and we need to fix it – urgently. This factsheet helps to explain. Congress must shore up the Crime Victims Fund by ensuring federal financial penalties from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements are treated the same way as penalties resulting from criminal convictions. Those financial penalties should go into the Crime Victims Fund and distributed across the country to serve and compensate crime victims. This fix was included in the COVID-19 relief packages that passed the House in both May and September, and it must be signed into law. Congress must also provide a steady allocation for fiscal year 2021.

Congress has an opportunity to save victim service grants by including this fix and steady funding in their omnibus appropriations bill – the bill that they need to pass next week to keep the government open.

Every phone call and email counts – your members of Congress must hear from you today. Thank you for your lifesaving advocacy!

 

About Domestic Violence Services (DVS) of Lancaster County  

Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County, a program of the Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County, is a catalyst to eliminate domestic violence through direct service, advocacy, and social change. Over the past forty-three years, 75,593 survivors of abuse have received 379,513 nights of shelter and 572,050 hours of counseling, among other supportive services. DVS hosts regular community education and prevention sessions for many agencies, schools and faith-based organizations. For more information, visit https://CAPLanc.org/DVS