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Victims of Crime Act Funding

Advocate for Legislation

VOCA state victim assistance grants are important to the CASA/GAL network

Background

The Crime Victims Fund (the Fund) was established by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984 and is administered by the Office for Victims of Crime. The Fund is financed by the collection of federal crime fines, forfeitures and special assessments rather than taxpayer dollars.

Starting in 2000, in response to large fluctuations in these sources of funding, Congress placed an annual cap on funds available for distribution, with the intent to maintain the Fund as a stable source of support for future services for victims.

The Fund helps an average of 3.7 million victims of all types of crime every year. The Fund is used to fund crime victim assistance grants in every state, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. States, in turn, provide subgrants to community-based organizations and public agencies that provide services directly to victims. While there are federal guidelines on the parameters for spending these VOCA dollars, states also exercise significant discretion in spending them.

For FY2020, the House and Senate agreed on a cap of $2.641 billion on the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) and the President has signed this into law.

While states have wide discretion and make their own determinations on how and to whom they supply VOCA funding, the Department of Justice developed federal guidelines on the parameters for spending VOCA dollars including, “the use of direct service funds to support training and coordination of volunteer services in such circumstances is appropriate, as it typically allows funded organizations to cost-effectively leverage the available funds and volunteer efforts to provide more direct services for victims.”

VOCA Funding for CASA/GAL Programs

State and local CASA/GAL programs are eligible to receive VOCA funding through state victim assistance grants. The use of direct service funds to support the recruitment, screening, training and supervision of CASA/GAL volunteers enables programs to provide more direct services for victims of child abuse. In some states, the state CASA/GAL organization also receives funding to support state-level services such as training, program development, data collection and administration.

Policy Recommendation

VOCA state victim assistance grants are an important source of funding for the CASA/GAL network. For our programs to continue their important work with children who have experienced abuse or neglect, it is vital that:

  • the Crime Victims Fund cap return to the level of $3.35b in FY21; and
  • the number of state and local CASA/GAL programs that receive VOCA funds, and the amount of funding they receive, rise in response to the growing number of children in need of the services we provide.

Please contact advocacy@nationalcasagal.org with questions.