OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna and Attorneys General from 49 other states submitted a joint letter to Congress yesterday to express concern about drastic cuts of more than $1.2 billion from the Federal Crime Victims Fund that is used to provide direct assistance to victims of violent crimes.
The Federal Crime Victims Fund was created by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA). Through grants to state victim compensation programs, victims of violent crimes throughout the country have been able to get help for medical care, mental health counseling, funeral and burial expenses, and other vital services.
“The proposed budget would have a devastating impact on our ability to support victims of crime,” said McKenna. “Local programs, such as the Department of Social and Health Services’ 26 victim assistance programs, depend on VOCA assistance grants to provide necessary services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, drunk driving, elder abuse and robberies, as well as families of homicide victims and other victims of crime.”
The Attorneys General asked Congress to protect funding for vital crime victim services and assure the future availability of these monies to the Crime Victims Fund.
“The proposed cuts could not come at a worse time for states and territories,” which are facing significant budget problems, the letter said. “Victims should not be further burdened by having to pay for such services themselves, or worse, forced to go without them.”
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