For a number of years, the Crime Victims Fund, which provides invaluable support to organizations supporting victims of crime and state victim compensation programs, has had a declining balance. In August 2020, every attorney general in the country signed a letter sent to Congress proposing three solutions to stabilize the Crime Victims Fund:
- Redirecting fines and fees from corporate deferred and non-prosecution agreements to the Fund.
- Increasing the rate of federal reimbursement to states for victim compensation programs.
- Extending the amount of time VOCA funds can be spent.
Following the attorneys general letter, a bipartisan and bicameral coalition introduced the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (H.R. 1652/S. 611). This important legislation stabilizes the Crime Victims Fund and is proudly supported by NAAG. The VOCA Fix Act passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming support in March 2021 and then passed in the Senate unanimously in July 2021. Just a few days later, President Biden signed the legislation into law.
Op-Eds by Attorneys General Supporting the VOCA Fix Act
Janelle Melohn, Director of the Iowa Crime Victim Assistance Division within the Iowa Attorney General Office, co-wrote an op-ed for The Hill with Karma Cottman, Executive Director of Ujima, Inc: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community on how Congress can support victims following the rise of violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In October 2020, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and then-Montana Attorney General and NAAG President Tim Fox published a joint op-ed in Morning Consult explaining why repairing the Crime Victims Fund remains a top bipartisan priority for the attorney general community.
Who else supports the VOCA Fix Act?
The VOCA Fix Act enjoyed widespread bipartisan support among stakeholders. In addition to overwhelming support in the House of Representatives, where the VOCA Fix Act was led by Judiciary Chairman Nadler and passed by a 384 - 38 margin, over 1,680 organizations sent a letter to Congress in March 2021 voicing their support for the VOCA Fix Act. These organizations represent thousands of victim service providers, prosecutors, and state VOCA administration and compensation agencies, as well as millions of survivors of crime, who all rely on support from the Crime Victims Fund.
This coalition included:
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)
- National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators (NAVAA)
- National Children's Alliance
- National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA)
- National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
- National District Attorneys Association (NDAA)
- Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA)
- National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards
- Council of State Governments' Justice Center
- National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)
Thanks to Wisconsin Attorney General Kaul for your leadership pushing for action on the #VOCAFix. There is bipartisan support for it and it is past time to pass our legislation in the Senate.— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) April 21, 2021
To all my Senate colleagues, let’s get the job done now. #Crisis4Victims https://t.co/XWRA3k3B65