Calls Needed Immediately: VOCA Funding for Victims of Crime Under Threat

Don’t cut VOCA
November 3, 2015
Please forward Widely!

We must make our voices clear and loud right now to sustain VOCA funding!

While many aspects of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, signed by President Obama this week, are good for vulnerable people, steady funding for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) is at risk.  Looking for ways to provide additional funding for defense and human needs, the Budget deal took $1.5 billion out of the non-taxpayer-generated VOCA funds, which are dedicated to direct victim services, to pay for the overall increase in funding. If this deal is sustained, the amount of VOCA funds allocated each year could be much lower than last year’s appropriations and the similar current amount budgeted in both the U.S. House ($2.7 billion) and Senate ($2.6 billion). Appropriations bills for FY 2016 will determine if VOCA is funded at the 2015 and 2016 recommended levels.

Call your Members of Congress right now (especially if they are on the Appropriations committees or party leaders, see below) with this message:

"Do not reduce the funds allocated for VOCA.  We count on VOCA to fund direct services such as (name critical services such as shelter, rape crisis services, legal assistance, direct counseling, etc.). This money comes from criminal fines, not taxpayer money and barely meets the needs of programs and services to victims.  In 2015, VOCA was increased in order to truly help the many victims who have been going without critical support services. There is at least $12 billion balance in this fund and VOCA dedicated funding is a small part of that.  If VOCA is cut from the 2015 level, it will be devastating. It will harm our programs by (include details such as – reduced numbers of victims who could be served,  reduced professional and skilled staff, reduced or eliminated victim service and prevention programs). In this year’s Appropriations process and beyond, Congress must maintain its commitment to helping the most vulnerable victims escape and heal from violence and abuse and rebuild their lives. Please don’t turn back the clock on victims. Please tell Appropriators that victims in [Your state] are counting on sustained VOCA funds.  With over $12 billion in the VOCA fund, this is not the time to cut funding for victim services.”   

To reach your Representative and Senator:

Find your Senators and Representative here; enter your full nine-digit zip code for the best results.  You will be taken to their contact info, including phone number.  Be sure to say you are a constituent!  You can also call the Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121. Choose Representative and then enter your zip code to be transferred. When you are done leaving a message for your Representative, call back and follow the same process to leave messages for your Senators. Special attention should be given to the Senate and House Appropriations committee members, so if your Members are either with us or hopeless, contact the “money” folks who will decide how to divvy up the funds.  

http://appropriations.house.gov/about/members and http://www.senate.gov/general/committee_membership/committee_memberships_SSAP.htm

Tweet ‘til you drop:

@your Senators' and Representative's Twitter handle(you can find this in the search box at the top right hand part of your screen)

Please protect the Victims of Crime Act. Rape Crisis Centers need to help victims on waiting lists. #DontCutVOCA

Domestic violence victims need VOCA to stay safe. Too many are turned away. #DontCutVOCA

#DontCutVOCA when the FY 15 increase is just starting to help hurting victims.

#DontCutVOCA just when survivors of sexual assault are finding courage to seek services.

Key contacts:

@HalRogersKY

@CongCulberson

@SpeakerRyan

@SenatorBarb

@SenShelby

@SenateMajLdr

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If you aren't on one of this email list or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mail list, send names and contact information including email to ntfvawaalerts@icasa.org.