- Peter Osborne
Biden signs bipartisan reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act
The bipartisan, bicameral VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act was officially signed into law on July 22. RMSP members, many of whom were vocal supporters of the law, were pleased that the Senate passed the bill after the House passed it in March.
The bipartisan legislation, which RMSP supported in March, will ensure that grant programs established in the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) continue to receive funding. VOCA grants provide financial support for programs that assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and other crimes. “This critical piece of legislation will support vital victim service programs by preventing future cuts to already diminished federal victim service grants,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), one of two original Republican co-sponsors of the House bill along with Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10).
Fitzpatrick, a vocal supporter of the legislation, attended the signing of the bill by President Biden who said:
“In 2019, these victim compensation funds went directly to over 230,000 victims — 230,000. These funds also got to states, territories, and Tribes to support thousands of victim services organizations. These organizations have provided services and support to over 13 million survivors. “Some of you heard me talk about the need for more policing that understands the need for communities and citizens. These funds will also go to law enforcement agencies to support training on how to respond to victims who have experienced trauma. “In 1984, I was proud to support the passage of the Victims of Crime Act that created this fund. I’m also proud to sign the law that significantly strengthened it today. This fund doesn’t take a dime of taxpayers’ money; it uses fines and penalties paid by convicted federal criminals. However, fines from what are called “non-prosecutorial agreements” or defendant — or “deferred prosecution agreements” did not go into this Victims Crimes Fund in the past,” Biden concluded.
“VOCA grants are used by victim advocacy groups and law enforcement in the Fourth District to help the survivors of crime and I supported the VOCA Fix Act to help make sure these grants are available for years to come,” said Rep. John Moolenaar (MI-04). “I am glad the VOCA Fix Act is now law so local organizations can continue to serve our communities and support the survivors of crime when they need it the most.”
“Having volunteered at a women’s shelter in college and as a survivor myself, this issue is deeply personal for me. With the Crime Victims Fund facing serious funding shortfalls, this bipartisan legislation will be a critical lifeline that will provide support for crime victims in Iowa and across the country,” said Senator Joni Ernst (Iowa), a co-sponsor of the bill in the Senate.
The VOCA Fix Act will re-direct new funds into the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), a reserve that provides support for state victim compensation and assistance programs across the country. The funds are used to support programs assisting victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, among other crimes.