Action Needed: VOCA Under Threat
November 04, 2015
Victims services funding under threat
Thank you for your continued willingness to take action to make our nation safer for people affected by domestic and sexual violence.
This week President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. While many aspects are good, and benefit vulnerable people, steady funding for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) is greatly at risk.
We are asking you to take action now.
The Budget deal took $1.5 billion out of the VOCA Fund’s non-taxpayer generated balance dedicated to direct victim services. Now, the amount of VOCA funds allocated each year could be much lower than the amount in both the U.S. House ($2.7 billion) and Senate ($2.6 billion) Appropriations bills for FY 2016. This could be devastating to many new and existing victims’ services. We must make our voices clear and loud right now to sustain VOCA funding.
Take a minute right now to call on Congress to provide sustainable VOCA funding for victims.
Action: Please call your U.S. Senators and Representatives and tell them:
1) Don’t cut VOCA!
2) We count on VOCA to fund lifesaving direct victim services such as shelter, rape crisis services, legal assistance, and counselling.
3) The increase in VOCA funds in 2015 allowed programs to create services to reach victims who have not had access to services in the past.
4) If VOCA funding is cut, it will roll back the progress we have made to serve all victims of crime. It will have a devastating impact on victims and victim services programs across our state and the nation. Programs will have to reduce the number of victims served, reduce or eliminate victim service programs, and/or cut staff positions and wages.
5) Victims in our State are counting on sustained VOCA funds.
Please send a message to your Members of Congress urging them to protect victims now by preventing devastating cuts to VOCA funding in 2016.
ACTION ALERT – CONTENT OF EMAIL TO CONGRESS
Dear Representative/Senator______ :
I am writing to respectfully urge you to prevent devastating cuts to victims services programs funding through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). Please:
1) Don’t Cut VOCA!
2) In the FY 16 the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill, releases at least $2.6 billion from the Crime Victims Fund, which has a current balance of approximately $12 billion.
3) Ensure that funding for victims services is not cut or reduced.
If Congress does not release funds similar to Fiscal year 2015 from VOCA, more victims will be turned away from services. Victim service providers will be forced to reduce or eliminate victim services programs, reduce the number of victims served, and/or cut staff positions and wages.
Victims rely on VOCA-funded direct services such as shelter, rape crisis services, legal assistance, direct counseling, and more. The increase in 2015 allowed programs to create services to bridge the gap between need and available resources. If VOCA funding is cut, it will roll back the progress we have made to serve all victims of crime.
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 tell Appropriators that victims 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.
Find your Senators and Representative here; To find out who your district U.S. Representative is:
- Go to this website (Open Congress) and enter your full nine-digit zip code for the best results. You will be taken to their contact info, including phone number.
- 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.
Be sure to say you are a constituent!
GET THE WORD OUT TO YOUR FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES AND LET CONGRESS KNOW YOU CARE BY POSTING ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
#DontCutVOCA when the FY 15 increase is just starting to help victims find safety.
#DontCutVOCA just when survivors of sexual assault are finding courage to seek services.
Domestic violence victims need VOCA to stay safe. Too many are turned away.Please protect the Victims of Crime Act. Rape Crisis Centers need to help victims on waiting lists.