VOCA VAWA Updates
Updates to VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) and VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) Funding
Currently, There is a Substantial Concern Regarding Significant Cuts to VOCA and VAWA:
Crime victim advocacy programs across the state are deeply concerned for the rumored substantial cuts to VOCA funding at the federal level. Someplace Safe depends on VOCA dollars to provide critical services to survivors of all crimes and their families. In the past year, over 4,100 survivors have accessed services through Someplace Safe. This decision will have a devastating impact on crime victims and their children in our communities, especially the largely rural population of service area, of whom the proposed cuts would most significantly impact (rural citizens with limited access to transportation, housing, childcare, and the like).
Impacts of the Proposed Cuts at Someplace Safe Advocacy Offices:
Staff time at the 10 Someplace Safe Advocacy Offices will be cut; resulting in victims, offices, and communities impacted in several ways:
- Clients will not receive as many services as they currently receive as the advocacy offices may be closed when they reach out. Clients may have to wait longer times for services and travel farther distances.
- Less staff time will lead to less fundraising efforts, further stressing an already tight budget, and impacting moneys available for future direct services and emergency financial assistance.
- Less time to devote to community partnerships
- Less systems change work
- Less training and education for community members
- Less overall community outreach
- Less staff involvement in external groups
- The inability to respond to the emergency room or accompaniment to law enforcement interviews. This leaves victims with uncertainty, not knowing their options.
- Less time to assist with victims, explaining the court system, court tracking, victim-impact statements and trial prep of victims. This would increase work for the prosecution.
- Cuts would mean less overall time for staff to advocate on behalf of clients at schools, daycare, landlords, employers, and others.
- Cuts to VOCA funding would mean less availability for Crime Victim Advocates to provide court accompaniment, provide outreach at local college campuses, respond to emergency rooms, and accompany victims to appointments (medical, prosecution, work force, campus student behavior hearings, child protection, attorney, schools, housing, etc.).
In addition, client needs dollars would be cut substantially. The agency currently administers over $100,000 in client needs (housing, transportation, food, clothing, daycare, personal care items, etc.) annually to remove victims’ barriers for safety. These funds would be cut by at least half to $50,000. There will not be the staff capacity to administer these funds, nor the funds available. This would undoubtedly result in:
- A maximum of a 3-day hotel stay for emergency housing (currently up to 30 days)
- Limited assistance with rent and deposits (this is now paid if it relates to a crime)
- Limited assistance with utilities (this is now paid if it relates to a crime)
- Limited assistance with transportation (related to court, support group, therapy, and other appointments pertaining to the crime)
- Limited assistance with daycare (this is now paid if it relates to a crime)
- Limited assistance with car repairs (this is now paid if it relates to a crime)
- Limited assistance with moving expenses (this is now paid if it relates to a crime)
Impacts of the Proposed Cuts at Someplace Safe Parenting Time Centers:
Someplace Safe Parenting Time Centers provide a safe, neutral location for drop off, pick up and visitation of children. The proposed cuts mean some of the agency’s five Parenting Time Centers would close.The closure of a center would cause
- the families who utilize the center to seek services elsewhere – the nearest centers are 30-60 minutes' drive.
- Many families would not be able to afford the increased transportation costs, causing exchanges to occur outside gas stations, fast food restaurants, or law enforcement agencies.
- This will increase law enforcement involvement in these cases as those who use Parenting Time Centers do so for safety reasons.
How Can You Take Action?
- Inform your family, friends, and peers of the devastating affects that the proposed cuts to VAWA would have on local victims and survivors.
- Share this information on social media. Below are social media graphics that you may use to spread the word.
- Social media 1
- Social media 2
- Contact your legislature and let them know of your concerns. You may use this letter template as a basis for your communication with local legislatures. Let them know that VOCA dollars allow Someplace Safe to provide critical services to survivors and their children remain intact. Encourage your legislatures to contact Someplace Safe with questions or to schedule an in-district meeting.
Need Further Information?
You may contact Someplace Safe with questions or to to gain more information on how to get involved.
Sheila Korby, Executive Director
218.739.3486 ext. 445 or firstname.lastname@example.org