Each year Crime Victim Services provides advocacy and support services to over 4,500 individuals affected by crime and victimization in Allen and Putnam Counties through a range of programs. Our services rely heavily on federal, state and local funding to ensure victims receive quality services at no cost to them. Continued cuts to federal funding, however, are putting these services at risk, and we need our community’s support to urge Congress to keep necessary funding secure.
Established in 1984, the Crime Victims Fund gets its money from fines and penalties related to federal convictions, not taxpayer dollars. Congress allocates funds from this to Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding each year. These funds, distributed through grants, go to state and local programs like Crime Victim Services.
In recent years, there have been reductions in the deposits made into the Crime Victims Fund due to non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements. Starting in 2000, Congress administered a cap, or the amount of funds that could be allocated out of the Crime Victims Fund. In 2021, Congress passed the “VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act,” to ensure those funds could also be added to the Crime Victims Fund. To date, however, the VOCA Fix has not replenished the fund to the amount needed to sustain VOCA programs at adequate levels.
Ohio’s victim service providers have already endured significant cuts to VOCA funding since 2019. The proposed $1.2 billion cap, a 40% cut in funding, in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget would be devastating to victim service agencies. Along with Crime Victim Services, there are over 350 recipients of VOCA funding in Ohio and over 1,500 victim service organizations across the nation. Crime Victim Services urges community members to reach out to their federal Congressional members and ask that Congress invest adequate funding for VOCA in the final Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations budget.
It is imperative these vital community programs remain accessible to those who need support and services, especially our community’s most vulnerable populations, and so that agencies can safely and effectively provide these services amid rising economic costs.
At Crime Victim Services, we believe communities thrive when all members prevail over trauma and support one another with empathy and respect. We strive to amplify the voices of crime victims and survivors through collaboration with community partners to ensure survivor stories are heard and their needs are met. We need your help.