VOCA Funding Impacts
Call to Action
HB 181 APPROP: SPECIAL; AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT, currently includes a 6 million dollar appropriation for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Programs to be spread out over 4 year. This will be a help to many programs across the state but it is unclear how it will impact WAVE's operating budget. We are still asking you to reach out to your legislators and tell them how important these services are to our community. Thank you all for your continued support of WAVE.
On April 1st, 2021 WAVE received a memo from the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA) stating that the State of Alaska’s Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2021 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds would be reduced by $4.1 million and that all victim services should expect a 30% cut in their grants starting in FY2022.
This means that WAVE is facing funding cuts of over 30% for Victim Services which will impact the level of services we will be able to provide. WAVE provides critical services to victims in our community. If we lose 30% of our funding, here are some of the choices WAVE will be forced to make:
Discontinue Sexual Assault Response to exams
Outsourcing 24hr helpline
Reduced advocacy staff
Reduction in the number of victims we are able to provide services to
Reduction in the amount of services we can provide to victims
The Victim of Crime Act’s (VOCA) Crime Victims Fund (CVF) is a non-taxpayer source of funding that supports thousands of crime victims services providers serving millions of victims of crime annually and is funded by monetary penalties associated with federal criminal convictions. This fund is the primary funding source for victim services throughout the nation including WAVE.
Deposits to the CVF originate from criminal fines, forfeited bail bonds, penalties, and special assessments collected by U.S. Attorneys' Offices, federal U.S. courts, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, receipts into the fund began to diminish due to what we believe was a decrease in the prosecution of corporations in criminal actions like fraud and corruption cases and an increase of non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements that do not go into the CVF.
Federally, the proposed VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act, if passed, will increase deposits into the CVF by depositing monetary penalties associated with deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements into the CVF as well as monetary penalties associated with convictions. However these fixes will take at least two years.
Crime victims should not be expected to bear the brunt of these cuts for the next two years. There are funds through the American Rescue Plan Act funds that can offset the VOCA funding reductions.
How you can help:
Contact State legislators and let them know what is happening and explain why WAVE services are important to you or to the Petersburg Community, and ask them to allow American Rescue Plan Act funds to offset the VOCA funding cuts. Below are ways to contact AK legislators:
Contact your legislators and tell them you support them allowing American Rescue Plan Act funds to offset the VOCA funding cuts, and why WAVE matters
If you prefer to email the Alaska house finance committee
Committee Members: firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to all committee members: http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Committee/Details/32?code=HFIN
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, 907-465-3732, toll-free: 888-461-3732, Representative.Jonathan.Kreiss-Tomkins@akleg.gov
Senator Bert Stedman, 907-465-3873, Senator.Bert.Stedman@akleg.gov
Talking Points RE: VOCA Funding Impacts
INTRODUCTION: Thank you for this opportunity to testify today. My name is ________ and I am representing myself today (or My name is __________and I am the Executive Director/Board Chair or member of ___________________ and I am speaking on behalf of my agency.)
REASON FOR CALL: We were recently informed of funding impacts to VOCA.
There is a proposed federal fix, however it will take at least two years for funds to be disseminated. I am calling to ask you to allow American Rescue Plan Act funds to help offset the VOCA funding impacts. If these funds are lost, even for two years, it will have devastating impacts across Alaskan communities especially during a global pandemic.
In 2020, as the only advocacy organization in Petersburg, Working Against Violence for Everyone (WAVE), served 30% more victims and had a 48% increase in services provided compared to 2019. Because of this increase in demand for services WAVE was exploring additional funding options to hire more staff. Instead, today WAVE is looking at cutting their already over taxed advocacy staff and other vital services.
[INSERT Personal story about why WAVE is important]
Please help Alaskan communities by finding a solution to this crisis before the end of session.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.