“…The Victims of Crime Act’s (VOCA) special fund was created more than 30 years ago to exclusively help victims of crime. The recent budget agreement requires the $1.5 billion be permanently taken out of the VOCA fund, which is composed entirely from fines and monetary penalties paid by federal criminals….”
“Many decisions made in Washington D.C. affect our lives, but this particular fund affects children. It affects the weakest in our population,” — Beth Atchison, executive director at CASA of Southwest Missouri – Springfield, a nonprofit organization that advocates for abused and neglected children.
“It’s integral to our operations,” Farmer added. “If we are cut from what we currently get, that will really be devastating.” — Lisa Farmer, Executive director at Harmony House, the area’s only shelter for domestic violence victims.
“In the beginning, Congress set this fund aside and said since this is not taxpayer money, it is fines that criminals pay when they commit a federal crime, Congress said that its only purpose could be to serve crime victims.This was a promise that Congress made,” Brown continued. “And now for Congress to raid the fund that serves those who are the most vulnerable is absolutely unconscionable and unethical.” — Barbara Brown-Johnson, executive director at Child Advocacy Center.
“Everyone was really shaken to the core. This seems like a huge setback to some of the strides we thought had been made,” Bartell said.”I really see the VOCA dollars as being an investment into our future, for the health and safety of our communities. Cutting funds to critical services will only increase demand on courts, on the criminal justice system, on our health system, on our workforce.” — Brandi Bartell, executive director for the Victim Center, which provides free-of-charge counseling, crisis intervention and advocacy to victims of violent or sexual crimes.