Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has taken a position in support of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding fix. She is one of five signers on a letter from Republican Congresswomen urging their House leadership to allow the VOCA funding fix. If you asked for her help, you can send a quick thank-you through her staff members, Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org or Kristin.email@example.com.
What can I do to help?
You can write, call, or email your Congressional Representative. (Rep. McMorris Rodgers has voiced her support; see above.) Ask them to reach out to Ranking Member Jim Jordan and House leadership and urge them to include the “VOCA deposits fix” in the upcoming appropriations bill. This will prevent massive cuts to Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants that the YWCA needs to continue supporting survivors of abuse and assault.
Why does VOCA need a “fix”?
VOCA is facing a funding crisis. Historically low deposits into the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) are leading to cuts in victim service grants. Even pulling from the reserves in the CVF, Congress has cut VOCA grants each year for the last two, and they are expecting to cut up to an additional 50% for FY’21 for a total cut of 79.3% in FY’21 compared to FY’18. The reserves in the CVF are dwindling, and if Congress does not increase deposits, VOCA grants will be cut even further in coming years.
Why are deposits into the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) so low?
The CVF, designed to help victims of assault and abuse, is not financed by taxpayer money. It is made up of fines and penalties from federal criminal prosecutions, mainly white-collar financial crimes. Low deposits are the result of an increasing use of deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements, and the monetary penalties of these are deposited into the General Treasury instead of the CVF. This money should be going to victims, but it’s not.
What is the solution?
The solution is simple and has bicameral, bipartisan support: Congress must include a provision in the upcoming funding bill to direct penalties where they belong: in the Crime Victims Fund so they can help restore crime victims to wholeness.
We need your voice to get this solution over the finish line. This fix cannot wait. It needs to happen now, before the CVF runs out of money entirely. Survivors in your district need your help.
You can learn details about the proposal in the letter of support to Congressional and committee leadership, which includes a fact sheet outlining the problem. The letter is signed by 1,500 organizations and government agencies. All 56 State and Territorial Attorneys General also support the “VOCA deposits fix.”
Why is YWCA Walla Walla important to our community?
- YWCA Walla Walla is the only provider of Domestic Violence and Sexual assault services for Walla Walla and Columbia Counties. The nearest shelters are more than 75 miles away.
- We provide 24/7 crisis response, safe shelter, and other supportive services for victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.
- Each year we provide more than 8,000 nights of safe shelter and walk with over 700 survivors of violence on their journeys to safety and self-esteem.
- We teach LINC, Living in New Circumstances, a life skills program that helps women move past survival after domestic violence and thrive.
YWCA funding is well-diversified. The financials from our 2019 Annual Report show a breakdown of our varied sources of support. We need your gifts working together with our grants and contracts. Thank you for helping us urge Congress to continue this important funding.
We appreciate your help and support of survivors!