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Call to Action – Ask Congress to Stabilize VOCA Funding

Please support the stabilization of the VOCA Fund for Crime Victim Services

VOCA funding goes to DSS to be allocated to community and system-based service. This funding is critical for community-based programs that have seen an increase in demand for services while simultaneously experiencing a decrease in funding from donations and other sources during and since COVID. A $30 million-dollar infusion will stabilize the fund while the federal VOCA fund replenishes. A $30 million infusion of funding is needed to backfill the Federal deficit of crime fines make up VOCA funding.

Why is there a VOCA deficit?

The Federal Crime Victims Fund established by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) is a critical funding source for victim services throughout Missouri and is supported by the collection of federal criminal fines and fees paid by defendants. The funding is appropriated by Congress and flows from the US Department of Justice to the Missouri Department of Social Services to award victim service providers.  Changes in federal prosecution strategies resulted in less crime fines not being captured or deposited into the VOCA fund. Congress addressed the problem in 2021 with the “VOCA Fix Act”, but it will take time for the fund to recover and see replenishment to the levels needed to support the nation’s response to crime victims. Replenishment is possible but takes time. In one month alone last year, there was $245 million dollars in crime fines deposited into VOCA.

What is the impact of a VOCA shortage?

Missouri must pass the inclusion of additional funding to support VOCA projects. Avoiding this loss is particularly important now, as throughout the pandemic community-based programs saw an increase in the number of clients seeking services. Advocates are spending more time and money on individual clients and report that the cases they see are more complex: more serious violence, more instances of strangulation, and the observed potential lethality concerns for victims of domestic violence has increased. The need for housing has increased and shelter and hotel stays are longer. At the same time agencies have faced staffing shortages, a decrease in volunteerism, and losses of grant funding and donated sources; demand has gone up as resources have gone down.

To find your two senators:

To find your representative: 

You can call the Capitol switchboard and ask to be transferred to your Representatives’ and Senators’ offices at this number: (202) 224-3121 

See below for additional background on VOCA and the current crisis

You can ask for an email address to send your Representative and Senators our VOCA letter to Congress and *New* Impacts of FY24 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Cuts – NNEDV and NAESV 

If you’d like to take action on social media in addition to calling, here’s our social media toolkit

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