From the Office of Attorney General Luther Strange
(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Luther Strange today called on Congress to increase the cap on the Crime Victims Fund to at least $1 billion so victims can access the services they need. The Alabama Attorney General joined in a May 8 letter of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) that was signed by 51 state and territorial Attorneys General.
The Crime Victims Fund was created as part of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) and 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 Fund, with a projected $7.4 billion balance for fiscal year 2012.
Every 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.
Congress placed a spending limit on annual Fund obligations but promised 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.
“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. “We respectfully request 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.”
A copy of the NAAG letter can be found here: http://www.naag.org/sign-on_archive.php