Bipartisan Bill to Help Increase Funding to Crime Victims Fund Now Heads to President’s Desk to Be Signed into Law
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today passed bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senator Maggie Hassan that would prevent deep cuts to programs that provide critical support and compensation to survivors of violent crimes, including survivors of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). The Crime Victims Fund, which was established under VOCA, has faced a steep loss in revenue over the last four years, which threatens the program’s survival and future support for victims of crimes.
“Many survivors of violent crimes need assistance after going through such a traumatic experience, and we owe it to survivors to ensure that they have the resources and care that they deserve,” Senator Hassan said. “I am glad that the Senate unanimously voted to continue critical funding for victim services in New Hampshire and across the country, and I hope that the President will sign this commonsense bill into law without delay.”
VOCA grants are the largest source of federal funding of victim service providers in New Hampshire and across the country, which can include programs serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking, and drunk driving. VOCA grants also fund victim compensation, including paying medical bills, covering lost wages, and paying for funeral costs. These critical grants are not taxpayer-funded. Instead they are paid out of the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), which is funded, in turn, through federal criminal monetary penalties. Over the past several years, deposits into the CVF have dropped, leading to corresponding cuts in grants to victim service providers. This bill would require the Department of Justice to deposit all monetary penalties, including from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements, into the CVF.
Senator Hassan is working to provide support to survivors of violent crimes. Last year, Senator Hassan and a bipartisan group of her colleagues introduced the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Prevention Training Act of 2020, which would help prevent the human trafficking and exploitation of children by providing grants to train students, parents, teachers, and school personnel to understand, recognize, prevent, and respond to signs of human trafficking. The Senator also previously cosponsored bipartisan legislation to create a private cause of action allowing victims of rape and sex trafficking, as well as individuals whose intimate images are distributed without their consent, to sue pornographic websites that profit off their exploitation. Additionally, the Senator and her colleagues introduced bipartisan legislation last December to allow individuals to seek compensation and relief in federal court for the non-consensual disclosure and transmission of intimate images of them, often referred to as “revenge porn.”