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VOCA Funding Advocacy

Overview

Victim Services Funding Advocacy

Federal funding for victim services has declined dramatically, and if the California legislature and Governor do not step in to provide funding, domestic violence service providers and other victim services will experience steep across-the-board cuts to their funding that will directly impact survivors’ ability to access the safety and healing the need and deserve.  

Learn about what cuts to the Victims of Crime Act could mean for sexual and domestic violence survivors in California.

We are taking action to prevent these cuts! The Partnership has joined with statewide organizations dedicated to supporting survivors of crime, advocates, and their communities to form the VOCA Advocacy Alliance.

  • We’ve submitted this budget request letter with nearly 200 organizations signed on. Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes is championing the budget request in the Assembly.  
  • We’re co-sponsoring AB 1956 (Reyes), the Crime Victim Services Stabilization Act, to requires California to support funding for essential crime victim services when there are major reductions in funding. The bill passed through the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a unanimous vote.
  • We’re co-sponsoring AB 2432 (Gabriel) to establish a new permanent funding source for crime victim services. The bill will be heard in Assembly Public Safety on April 9th and Assembly Banking and Finance on April 15th.

Get involved with our advocacy to prevent these cuts with one of the ways listed below and check this page regularly. We will update this page with ways to make your voice heard as our advocacy evolves. 

What you can do

Send an email to your legislators asking them to protect crime victim services

Email your legislators

Post this video on your social media platforms, tag your Legislators, use hashtags #CABudget and #CALeg, and urge them to fund victim services at $200 million this year. 

Organizations: Sign on to our letter to state leadership. 

Background on the Victims of Crime Act Funding & Shortfall

Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding is the backbone to California’s response to crime victims’ needs. VOCA provides funds for an array of critical services and programs that support Californians after they have experienced a crime which includes domestic violence service providers, Rape Crisis Centers, legal assistance, human trafficking services, a range of options to address survivor homelessness, and other vital services. This funding originates from fines and penalties from convictions in federal cases, not from tax dollars. Every year, Congress determines how much to release from the fund. Federal, state, and Tribal victim assistance programs receive formula grants, discretionary grants. More information about the Victims of Crime Act is available here. In recent years, the fund’s balance has declined precipitously, and Congress has reduced the amount released.

In March 2024 Congress finalized the FY 23-24 funding bills and provided $1.353 billion in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding, which will constitute a roughly $630 million cut to VOCA grants compared to FY 23.

California’s crime victim services will receive $87 million for FY24, which equates to a 43% reduction from the $153.8 million allocation last year.

VOCA’s Role in Supporting Crime Survivors

As just a small sample of the services that VOCA makes possible in California, in FY 21-22, these funds supported: 

  • A range of housing options for domestic violence survivors, including 354,227 emergency shelter nights provided, with another 15,706 unmet requests for shelter during the year; providing transitional housing 180,628 times; and supporting another 6,882 individuals with housing services through a Housing First approach to connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness quickly and successfully to permanent housing.
  • Services for 46,461 individuals experiencing sexual violence, served by California’s Rape Crisis Centers. 
  • Culturally appropriate victim services for 42,184 unserved/underserved survivors of crime, and another 4,333 child and youth survivors of crime from unserved/underserved communities, and 866 culturally-rooted therapy sessions provided to Native American children victimized by abuse and/or neglect.
  • 15,156 elder abuse victims receiving comprehensive services
  • Supporting child abuse and neglect survivors, including 1,133 individual counseling sessions provided to children who are victims of sexual abuse and/or sexual exploitation; 8,649 foster youth provided advocacy or accompaniment through the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Programs; 14,732 children victimized by abuse and/or neglect plus their family members, and caregivers received comprehensive psychotherapy services; and 16,636 child abuse survivors and their families who received support through victim-centered, trauma-informed forensic interviews, advocacy, direct or referral to therapy/counseling, and referrals for medical exams.
  • 1,138 human trafficking survivors receiving comprehensive services.
  • Providing information about the criminal justice process to 275,270 people.

Source: https://www.caloes.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/Grants/Documents/2023_JLBC.pdf

Updates

Media coverage:

If you have questions, please contact the Policy Team at policy@cpedv.org.