Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Urges Congress To Increase The Crime Victims Fund Cap To $1 Billion
Attorney General Jack Conway is calling on Congress to increase the cap on the Crime Victims Fund to at least $1 billion so victims can access the services they need. General Conway was among 51 state and territorial Attorneys General to sign a letter delivered to Capitol Hill today from the National Association of Attorneys General.
The Crime Victims Fund was created as part of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) and is funded entirely through collections from criminal fines, special assessments and other penalties paid by federal criminal offenders. These non-taxpayer revenues have already been collected and deposited into the Fund, with a projected $7.4 billion balance for fiscal year 2012.
“At a time of funding cuts and strained resources for victim assistance agencies across the country, requests for services are on the rise,” General Conway said. “Now is the time to raise the cap on the Crime Victims Fund and ensure that vital services are provided to those who have suffered as a result of domestic violence, child sexual abuse, elder abuse and other violent crimes.”
Every year, state VOCA victim assistance grants provide vital direct assistance that supports more than 4,000 agencies nationwide in providing services to an average of 3.7 million crime victims, including those from assaults, robbery, gang violence, domestic violence and survivors of terrorist acts. VOCA helps victims with financial assistance for medical care, mental health counseling, lost wages and funeral and burial costs.
Statistics from the Office for Victims of Crime show that more than 507,000 fewer crime victims received VOCA-funded services in 2010 than they were able to in 2007, including 91,270 fewer domestic violence victims and 22,103 fewer child abuse victims.
Congress placed a spending limit on annual Fund obligations but promised to retain all amounts in the Fund exclusively to support crime victim services. State VOCA assistance in 2012 will actually be cut, in large part due to the imposition of new federal management and administrative costs. Critical programs will be funded in 2012 at a lower level than they were in 2006.
A copy of the NAAG letter can be found at: http://www.naag.org/sign-on_archive.php .