VIDEO BROADCAST: Following Shaheen’s Senate Appeal, Senate Sends Biparty Legislation to Support Victims of Crime Fund to President’s Office
July 20, 2021
Shaheen calls for passage of the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act in the Senate. His words can be viewed in full here.
(Washington, DC) – This afternoon in the Senate, US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chairman of the Credit Sub-Committee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS), called on the Senate to overcome partisan politics and adopt the VOCA Fix to support the law on the Crime Victims Fund, a law that would strengthen the Crime Victims Assistance Fund for the future. The legislation redirects financial penalties from federal deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements to the CVF to provide ongoing support to state victim compensation and assistance programs. Through his leadership on the CJS Credit Sub-Committee, Shaheen has always fought to strengthen the resources of the CVF. Following Shaheen’s remarks, the Senate unanimously approved the measure, which is now heading to the president’s office for enactment.
The CVF is administered by the Department of Justice and provides victims of crime and their families with direct compensation for crime-related expenses, such as medical bills and funeral and burial costs. States also receive CVF Formula Grant funds to provide thousands of awards each year to public and private nonprofit organizations that provide victim assistance, including counseling and health services, shelters and emergency and transport. The GCF is funded by federal criminal fines, penalties, and special assessments. However, deposits in the fund are at an all time low, threatening its survival. This shortage has resulted in reductions in staff and services for thousands of victim service providers in New Hampshire and across the country who help survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and trafficking. sexual. It also has an impact on victim compensation programs, which will have to cut victim assistance services for expenses such as medical bills, counseling, funeral expenses and lost wages during recovery if funds of FVC are not stabilized.
During his remarks, Shaheen stressed the importance of passing the VOCA Fix Act to ensure continued support for victims of crime, and she urged Senators to vote against an amendment introduced by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) that would prevent the CJS Appropriations Subcommittee from taking the actions that it has always been used to ensure the stability of the fund.
Shaheen’s remarks can be viewed in their entirety here.
Shaheen highlighted calls she received from individuals and groups in New Hampshire urging lawmakers to reject the Toomey Amendment and pass a clean bill. “I have heard from individuals and organizations across New Hampshire… like the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and Granite State Children’s Alliance who are both beneficiaries of the Crime Victims Fund… This bill has already been passed by bedroom. If we pass this law today without amendment, it can be quickly enacted and we can achieve these changes that are essential to consolidate the collections in the fonds so that victims of crime can get the help they need. This will have a significant impact in securing adequate funding for survivors now and in the years to come. ”
Shaheen led the effort to preserve the CVF. In March, Shaheen and US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to immediately review the CVF given the dramatic drop in deposits in the Fund. Last month, Shaheen asked the attorney general about what the Department of Justice was doing to prioritize deposits in the CVF.
Through her leadership on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Office Against Violence Against Women (OVW), Senator Shaheen is a Senate leader fighting for legislation and funding to support survivors. domestic and sexual violence. In the budget resolution passed in February, Shaheen successfully negotiated the inclusion of his “amendment expressing support for organizations” serving survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence and child abuse, which authorized the Senate unanimously. In the US bailout, funding was included within the Department of Health and Human Services to help survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. In January, Senator Shaheen and the New Hampshire delegation announced $ 8,427,680 in funding for New Hampshire organizations to provide emergency housing assistance to vulnerable people and those fleeing domestic violence and sexual. She also introduced the?Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act, strongly supported bicameral legislation to protect victims of domestic violence against gun violence. She repeatedly and successfully adds the highest funding amounts for Violence Against Women Act programs into government funding bills.
Senator Shaheen has also led efforts in the Senate to establish basic rights and protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. His bill, the?Survivors Bill of Rights Act, was enacted in 2016 and created the first federally codified rights specifically for survivors of sexual assault and for the first time allowed survivors to assert these rights in federal court. Shaheen also introduced the bipartisan, bicameral?State Survivors Bill of Rights Act? to build on the?Survivors Bill of Rights Act?urging states to adopt legislation guaranteeing the rights of survivors included in federal law.