$1.7 Million VOCA Grant Will Help Nevada Crime Victims
** Berkley Fights Bush Plan to Drain Victim Compensation Fund **
Nevada will receive nearly $1.7 million in grant funding under the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) announced today. Unfortunately, funding for the program is under attack by the Bush Administration, which is seeking to divert $1.3 billion from VOCA funds to pay for deficit spending.
"Crime victims and their families deserve to be compensated by those who break the law, and this grant will provide funding for that restitution. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration is out to gut the fund that provides these grant dollars. And it will be crime victims and their loved ones who will suffer if the White House succeeds in robbing more than $1billion in funding intended to compensate those who have had a crime committed against them," said Berkley.
In April, Berkley joined a bipartisan effort to stop White House plans to divert $1.3 billion in funding for crime victims to the general treasury. Berkley and other lawmakers object to a White House proposal that would drain the Victims Crime Fund, a pool of money collected through payments from criminals that is used to compensate victims and to provide victim services.
"These are not taxpayer dollars or surplus funding that the Bush budget is seeking to tap. This funding is collected from criminals that is then used to compensate victims and to provide important services such as rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters," said Berkley
President Bush's Fiscal Year 2006 budget calls for $1.3 billion to be diverted from the Crime Victims Fund, which was established under the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). If the Bush plan is allowed to move forward, beginning in fiscal year 2007, the VOCA fund would not be able to provide Nevada and other states with money to aid victims without using tax revenues.
"It is wrong to divert funding that rightfully belongs to those who have been victims of crime in order to pay for other spending in the President's budget. There is bipartisan opposition to this proposal and crime victims will be penalized if we do not prevent the loss of $1.3 billion in funding under next year's budget," Berkley said.
The Crime Victims Fund was established in 1984 and money in the fund supports VOCA services. Funds are drawn from criminal offender fees, not taxpayer dollars. VOCA funds aid victims of crime through compensation to assist with medical, court and funeral costs and other expenses.