AG Coakley and 50 Attorneys General Call to Increase Crime Victims Fund Cap to $1 Billion
BOSTON—Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley urged Congress to increase the cap on the Crime Victims Fund to at least $1 billion so that victims are able to better gain access to the services they need. In a letter to Congress, AG Coakley and Washington Attorney General Robert McKenna, also the President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), led the call for an increase in funding for victims. The letter was sent today by NAAG and signed by AG Coakley, AG McKenna, and 49 other state and territorial Attorneys General.
“This much needed assistance is critically important for crime victims and their families,” said AG Coakley. “We are requesting that Congress increase the cap on the Crime Victims Fund so that we maintain an appropriate level of funding to ensure that victims of crime receive these essential services.”
The letter urges Congress to raise the cap on the Crime Victims Fund to support core Victim of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) authorized programs. The Crime Victims Fund was created as part of VOCA to provide essential services for crime victims. It is funded entirely through collections from criminal fines, special assessments and other penalties paid by federal criminal offenders. These non-taxpayer revenues have already been collected and deposited into the Crime Victims Fund, with a projected $7.4 billion balance for fiscal year 2012.
Congress placed a spending limit on annual Fund obligations but vowed to retain all amounts in the Fund exclusively to support crime victim services. State VOCA assistance in 2012 will actually be cut, in large part due to the imposition of new federal management and administrative costs. Critical programs will be funded in 2012 at a lower level than they were in 2006. The letter sent today by NAAG requests a 2013 VOCA cap of at least $1 billion to support core VOCA-authorized programs without any new earmarks, set asides or uses of the Fund.
“With the demonstrated need for increased funding and more than enough money in the Fund, now is the time to raise the cap on the Crime Victims Fund and release additional money for the purpose for which Congress intended,” the NAAG letter reads.
A copy of the NAAG letter can be found here: http://www.naag.org/assets/files/pdf/signons/20120508.VOCA_Final_Letter.pdf
Each year, state VOCA victim assistance grants provide vital direct assistance that supports more than 4,000 agencies nationwide in providing services to an average of 3.7 million crime victims, including those from assaults, robbery, gang violence, domestic violence and survivors of terrorist acts. VOCA helps victims with financial assistance for medical care, mental health counseling, lost wages and funeral and burial costs.
NAAG was founded in 1907 to help Attorneys General fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.