March 12, 2021
CALL TO ACTION: Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act
MACA needs your help! Funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers and victim services is in jeopardy. We need YOU to reach out to your members of Congress, and ask them to co-sponsor and support S.611 / H.R. 1652 Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act (“the VOCA Fix Act”). Please see the email script linked here, as well as links to contact Senator Markey and Senator Warren, and to find your member of Congress.
Here’s more information:
Right now, Congress is deciding on a bill to sustain Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding, which provides crucial funds to the Massachusetts Children’s Alliance, our Children’s Advocacy Centers, and many other victim service providers. VOCA grants are not taxpayer-funded; instead, VOCA is funded by monetary penalties from federal criminal convictions deposited into the Crime Victims Fund (CVF). As the Department of Justice is entering into more deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements, the money available for VOCA grants has dropped dramatically. Over the past three years, victim assistance grants have been cut by two-thirds. Without this bill, funding for victim service programs serving survivors of child abuse, trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, drunk driving, homicide, and other crimes is in danger of more cuts.
The bipartisan, bicameral bill, called S. 611 / H.R. 1652 Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (VOCA Fix), would make VOCA funding more sustainable and prevent further reductions in funding to these programs.
The VOCA Fix is critical to maintaining victim services across the country, and action is urgently needed. Without this fix, Children’s Advocacy Centers in Massachusetts could lose staff who provide direct services like forensic interviews, victim advocacy, and mental health to child abuse victims and their caregivers.
This is where you come in: you can help by reaching out to your Senators and Representatives to urge them to support and co-sponsor the VOCA Fix to preserve essential funding for survivors. You can contact Senator Warren here, Senator Markey here, and find your Congressional Representative here.
You can download an email template here, so all you have to do is fill in your name and personalize where you see red text in brackets.
For more information, visit the National Children’s Alliance.
ABOUT THE LEGISLATION
Senate: S.611 – A bill to deposit certain funds into the Crime Victims Fund, to waive matching requirements, and for other purposes.
House: H.R.1652 – To deposit certain funds into the Crime Victims Fund, to waive matching requirements, and for other purposes.
MACA works with our members, partner organizations, and individuals for better resources and legislation in our state. We advocate for proper funding and bills for services for the most vulnerable population in our Commonwealth: child victims of sexual and physical abuse. We need your help, and it’s really easy to pitch in! Here are some examples of how you can support our initiative.
- State Funding and Legislation: Services for child victims of sexual and severe physical abuse in Massachusetts are supported through line item 4510-0810, which provides funding to MACA and CACs.
- Federal Funding and Legislation: The federal Victims of Child Abuse Act provides critical funding to MACA and CACs throughout the state, as well as nationwide. CAC advocacy and mental health services are also supported by the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds. MACA works to make sure our Senators and Members of Congress preserve funding for these essential services.
For Fiscal Year 2020 MACA, along with the National Children’s Alliance (NCA), is advocating for $32.5 million dollars in the VCAA in order to benefit child victims of abuse.
Each year we meet with our legislators at the National Children’s Alliance Leadership Conference. National Children’s Alliance holds its annual Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. allowing its membership to meet with their Federal and State officials on “Hill Day’. We use this opportunity to educate our elected officials about the effectiveness of Children’s Advocacy Centers and answer any questions they may have.