The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) Crime Victims Fund (CVF)

The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) Crime Victims Fund (CVF),was established as the primary funding source for victim services throughout the nation.  Deposits to the CVF originate from criminal fines, forfeited bail, bonds, penalties, and special assessments collected by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, federal U.S. courts, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The CVF supports state-administered victim assistance programs and crime victim compensation programs, discretionary grant awards, victim specialists in US Attorneys and FBI offices, and the federal victim notification system.

All of these funds are administered through the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC).

The Victim of Crime Act’s (VOCA) Crime Victims Fund (CVF) is a non-taxpayer source of funding that supports thousands of crime victims services providers serving millions of victims of crime annually. Deposits fluctuate annually based on the cases that the Department of Justice successfully prosecutes. In 2017 funds were directed away from CVF and into the general treasury fund by the Trump administration. Due to this change in deposits and the decrease in cases throughout the pandemic, the CVF is at an all-time low and currently will continue to decrease until the funding is no longer available. As of March 2024, the federal government has left the decision in the hands of the states, so it is up to us to rally for victim-survivors and the victim-service programs that serve them!

What that means for victims now:

Lower deposits mean lower grant funding available to victim service programs like ours. We encourage you to join DVIP in speaking up for victim-survivors and telling state legislators that an increase in state funding to $10 million is the solution to these catastrophic cuts. Programs like DVIP’s will have reduced available dollars that will impact funding to services that impact all victims of crime including domestic violence programs, rape crisis services, child victims, human trafficking, and other victims of violent crimes. DVIP and other programs in Iowa are expecting a 41% cut to VOCA funding. These cuts directly impact children who escape domestic abuse with their parent. It threatens to leave our advocates overwhelmed, underfunded, and understaffed as they work tirelessly to rebuild safety, empowerment, dignity, and independence. 

Victim-survivors will not be able to find or receive the life-saving services we provide if something is not done. At a time when we have continued to see the effects of the pandemic on victims, we know that having staff and programs are vital to individuals finding safety and resources. Over the past year, DVIP has served nearly 2600 individuals and has continued to see a 28% increase in calls to our hotline every month since May 2020. Due to these cuts DVIP will be unable to hire the additional staff needed to help answer the phones. In addition, it is our rural communities that will suffer the most without funding from VOCA or the State of Iowa. Most of DVIP’s counties rely on federal funding to provide victim services to their communities. Placing this burden on victim-survivors who already face increased isolation and lack of resources is unacceptable when a fix is possible and within reach.  

Programs like DVIP’s provide much-needed support to victim-survivors. Through extensive training and with expert problem-solving skills, advocates are able to meet victims where they are. Every victim’s circumstances and needs are different. Advocates work to build trust and provide trauma-informed care for free and confidentially to anyone in need. 

This cut means that the state must step up to protect victim-survivors. For 10 years, we have been asking for an increase in State funding to accommodate the rising need of individuals reaching out for help. This year it is vital for the state of Iowa to do its part in supporting our communities most vulnerable. Without this support, programs in Iowa will close, and victims will be at greater risk than ever before. Please take a few moments to contact our legislators and let them know how important funding victim services is to you. The next two weeks are critical, so please act today!

By federal legislators not making temporary allocations until the VOCA fund is replenished and should the State of Iowa not cover crisis services needs, legislators will put the lives of victims and their families at an even greater risk. 

*To send a form letter text SIGN PZAVVE to 50409 or send your own words to the legislators in our area.

*Follow the URL below for a comprehensive infographic on the critical needs both victims and programs face.