VOCA passed in the Senate!

The VOCA fix is about to become law!

The VOCA Fix passed in the Senate yesterday and we’re thanking everyone who worked so diligently on this piece of legislation that will save lives by getting much-needed funds to victim services.

In March of this year, The House of Representatives passed H.R.1652 – VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 and was unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate yesterday. The VOCA Fix now goes to President Joe Biden for signature. 

We are grateful for all of you and your grassroots activism that helped get this bill passed. Thank you for tweeting, calling your elected officials, and bringing attention to this issue.

Facts about VOCA

VOCA dollars are not taxpayer funds, but rather come from criminal fines, forfeitures, and penalties paid by federal offenders. There are two important parts of VOCA:

  1. Crime victim Compensation Formula Grant Program: This program provides funding to supplement state compensation programs that provide financial assistance and reimbursement to victims for crime-related, out-of-pocket expenses, including medical and dental care, counseling, funeral and burial expenses, and lost wages and income. Compensation programs may also reimburse victims for other types of expenses related to their victimization, such as travel, temporary lodging, crime scene cleanup, and dependent care.
  2.  Victim Assistance Formula Grant Program: This grant program supports thousands of victim assistance programs throughout the nation each year. VOCA grants are made to domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, child abuse programs, and victim service units in law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices, hospitals, and social service agencies, among other entities. Plus:
  • A minimum of 10% of each state’s annual VOCA assistance grant must go to victim services in three priority areas: domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.
  • Another 10% or more must go to “previously underserved” survivors of violent crimes, other than domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault with each state defining this category.

All states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico each receive an annual VOCA victim assistance grant with a base amount of $500,000; the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa each receive a base amount of $200,000. Additional funds are distributed to states and territories based on population, a grant formula.

Additional resources on VOCA

For more information about Esperanza United’s public policy efforts, contact Olivia Garcia, Ph.D., Public Policy and Training Manager at ogarcia@esperanzaunited.org.