The U.S. Senate today unanimously passed H.R. 1652, a federal fix to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)—preventing a likely bankruptcy of the VOCA fund, upon which, victim service providers heavily rely in serving victims of sexual violence and other crimes.
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation into law.
PCAR thanks U.S. House and Senate members for their support of the VOCA Fix Act and the countless advocates, survivors, colleagues and friends who urged their representatives to support this critical legislation.
Since 2018, annual VOCA funds—obtained through the prosecution of federal crime, not taxes--had decreased by more than 50 percent.
H.R. 1652 will improve the long-term financial stability of the VOCA fund and enable victim service organizations to continue to provide optimal care and support to victims throughout the Commonwealth.
On average, every county in Pennsylvania has at least two organizations that receive VOCA funds. These dollars are critical in helping victims impacted by sexual abuse and assault, domestic violence, trafficking, child abuse, homicide, and other violent crimes. VOCA often touches every type of service provided to crime victims, as a core funding source for victim services: legal assistance, counseling and therapy, professional supervised visitation, housing and shelter, medical care, outreach to underserved populations, and more.
VOCA-funded organizations save lives daily and help survivors and their families heal from their trauma.
We are grateful VOCA bankruptcy will be prevented and the fund can be sustained through the passage of H.R. 1652. We have heard from countless victim service agencies and from survivors directly that the services funded through VOCA are needed now more than ever—during a time when COVID isolated many individuals and families, affected their housing and economic stability, and daily stresses exacerbated existing trauma for many victims and survivors.
Thank you to everyone who made calls, sent emails, and attended Congressional meetings to support this legislation.