Congress Plans to Use Crime Victim Funds to Balance the Budget

Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C.

Congress plans to “rescind and permanently cancel” $1.5 billion dollars from the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), threatening the sustainability of programs that assist victims.

Established by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA), the CVF includes money from fines and penalties collected from criminal and civil cases. By statute, these funds are intended to be used only to help victims and to support criminal justice activities. This fiscal year, the fund will distribute more than $2 billion dollarsto state and local victim service organizations. These funds also help reimburse victims for crime-related expenses, such as medical costs.

To help balance the budget, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 reduces the amount of money in the fund at a time when more survivors are coming forward for support. Every two minutes, another American is sexually assaulted, according to the Justice Department. According to a recent survey, more than one-third of rape crisis centers have a waiting list for services.

RAINN, which works in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers to operate the National Sexual Assault Hotline, is lobbying against the cut, according to Rebecca O’Connor, vice president for public policy. “RAINN needs your help to ensure victims receive the support they need and deserve. Without the Crime Victims Fund, there’s no guarantee survivors won’t be put on a waitlist, or worse, never receive services at all.”

Visit RAINN’s Action Center for the tools you need to reach out to Congress today and ask them to ensure that sustained VOCA funds are made available to victims of crime.

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