The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) is extremely disappointed and disheartened in the lack of a necessary, and urgent fix by Congress to sustain Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding and preserve victim services.
Over the past few months, SCCADVASA, our member organizations, and organizations representing thousands of victim service providers, prosecutors, and law enforcement agencies, as well as millions of survivors of crime, have called on Congress to act quickly to save VOCA funding by amending the law to deposit penalties and fines from non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements into the Crime Victims Fund (CVF).
According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, “Over 6,000 local organizations rely on funds from VOCA to provide lifesaving direct services to victims of all types of crime annually. Without VOCA funds, many victim service programs would cease to exist.”
Within South Carolina, SCCADVASA’s 22-member organizations have shared the negative impact any loss in VOCA funding would have within their organizations and their communities – including the reduction of critical services, lay-offs, even permanent closure.
Without a long-term solution, thousands of victims and survivors in South Carolina will have nowhere to turn for help as they seek safety and healing from domestic and sexual violence.
As victim service providers and South Carolinians face unprecedented challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a further blow to an already desperate situation, the impacts of which will be felt for years, even decades, into the future.
While we are disappointed in this news, we continue to stand with survivors. We urge Congress to take immediate and swift action to address this issue when they reconvene, amending the VOCA statute to direct penalties and fines from non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements in to CVF, sustaining it with no burden to taxpayers.
South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault