VOCA in Jeopardy!

Intervention

ACTION NEEDED!

The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) provides essential funding for programs in local communities throughout Tennessee and across the country to meet the needs of people impacted by a multitude of crimes, including trafficking, sexual assault and domestic violence. This funding literally saves lives!

The recent Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 reduces the amount of money that will be distributed by an estimated $1.5 billion. This reduction will negatively impact service providers across the country, cutting funds that go towards survivor services like counseling, shelter, and more.

WHAT IS VOCA?

  • VOCA is not funded by tax dollars but by fines and penalties paid by convicted offenders to assist victims.
  • Victims of crime across the country need help to restore their lives after victimization, and this group of people are often overlooked for assistance. Tennessee victims of crime – ALL crime victims – human trafficking, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, rape, homicide, assault, are served every day by agencies who depend on this federal funding.

These proposed cuts could be devastating to many new and existing victims’ services. We must make our voices clear and loud right now to sustain VOCA funding.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  • Call or email your members of Congress immediately!
  • Get the word out to your friends, family, coworkers, uncles, barbers, yoga instructors and everyone else in the whole wide world!

Tennesseans, you can call/email the following Congressmen and stress the importance VOCA funding:

Senator Lamar Alexander   http://www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email
Washington Office: 202-224-4944

Senator Bob Corker   http://www.corker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/emailme
Washington Office: 202-224-3344

Congressman John J. Duncan Jr.   https://duncan.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
Washington Office: 202-225-5435

Congressman Phil Roe, MD   http://roe.house.gov/Contact
Washington Office: 202-225-6356

Congressman Jim Cooper https://cooper.house.gov/contact
Washington Office: 202-225-4311

Congressman Scott Desjarlais       https://desjarlais.house.gov/contact/email-me
Washington Office: 202-225-6831

Congressman Stephen Fincher   http://fincher.house.gov/contact
Washington Office: 202-225-4714

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann   https://fleischmann.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
Washington Office: 202-225-3271

Congressman Steve Cohen   https://cohen.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
Washington Office: 202-225-3265

Congressman Marsha Blackburn   https://blackburn.house.gov/contactform/
Washington office: 202-225-2811

Congressman Diane Black   https://black.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
Washington Office 202-225-4231

Get the word out on social media:

Here are some messages you can share on Twitter, Facebook and other social media:

#DontCutVOCA

#DontCutVOCA when the FY 15 increase is just starting to help victims find safety.

#DontCutVOCA just when survivors of sexual assault are finding courage to seek services.

Trafficking, DV and assault victims need VOCA to stay safe. Too many are turned away.Please protect the Victims of Crime Act. No victim deserves to be on a waiting list. #DontCutVOCA

TALKING POINTS:

1)       Don’t cut VOCA!

2)       We count on VOCA to fund lifesaving direct victim services such as emergency and long-term shelter, rape crisis services, legal assistance, and counseling.

3)       The increase in VOCA funds in 2015 allowed programs to create services to reach victims who have not had access to services in the past.

4)       If VOCA funding is cut, it will roll back the progress we have made to serve all victims of crime. It will have a devastating impact on victims and victim services programs across our state and the nation. Programs will have to reduce the number of victims served, reduce or eliminate victim service programs, and/or cut staff positions and wages.

5)       Victims in our state are counting on sustained VOCA funds.

Please send a message to your Members of Congress urging them to protect victims now by preventing devastating cuts to VOCA funding in 2016.

SAMPLE EMAIL:

Dear Representative/Senator______ :

I am writing to respectfully urge you to prevent devastating cuts to victims services programs funding through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). Please Don’t Cut VOCA!

If Congress does not release funds similar to Fiscal year 2015 from VOCA, more victims will be turned away from services. Victim service providers will be forced to reduce or eliminate victim services programs, reduce the number of victims served, and/or cut staff positions and wages.

Victims rely on VOCA-funded direct services such as shelter, rape crisis services, legal assistance, direct counseling, and more. The increase in 2015 allowed programs to create services to bridge the gap between need and available resources. If VOCA funding is cut, it will roll back the progress we have made to serve all victims of crime.

In this year’s Appropriations process and beyond, Congress must maintain its commitment to helping the most vulnerable victims escape and heal from violence and abuse and rebuild their lives. Please tell Appropriators that victims are counting on sustained VOCA funds.

With over $12 billion in the VOCA fund, this is not the time to cut funding for victim services.

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