Today in the Senate a vote on final passage of the VOCA fix bill was unanimous - 100-0! Now the VOCA fix heads to the president to be signed.
Now would be a good time to call or email Senator Graham, Senator Scott and representatives who voted yes on final passage of the VOCA Fix Act and thank them. All 100 senators voted yes, and it is important we let Senator Graham and Senator Scott know we appreciate the work they did.
Thanks again to all of you who reached out to legislators! Together we worked to #BeHeard4Kids in South Carolina. You can use the link below to go to our VOCA Call to Action Page to find your Senators contact information. You will find links to contact Senator Graham and Senator Scott Below.
As a reminder both South Carolina Senators, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Tim Scott, have singed on as sponsors of the VOCA Fix Act. The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) was signed into law in 1984 and was created to assist and compensate victims and survivors of crime which includes the victims of child abuse that our Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) serve. One of the most underrated but important aspects of the bill is that the funding comes from federal criminal fines, forfeitures, and special assessments, but, not from tax dollars.
More than half of the Senate has co-sponsored the VOCA Fix Act that will restore funding to Children's Advocacy Centers in South Carolina who serve kids and countless other victim service agencies in South Carolina and across the nation. We have the support to pass this bill but an amendment by Sen. Toomey (R-PA) would change Senate rules and make the VOCA Fix of little or no practical value. A bipartisan group of senators have won a path to bring the VOCA fix to the Senate floor for a vote early next week.
Here is what you can do to help. Reach out to Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Tim Scott today (7-16-21) or next Monday and thank them for their support and co-sponsorship of the VOCA fix. Ask them to vote NO on the amendment from Senator Toomey that would kill the VOCA Fix Act and, to vote YES on final passage of HR 1652, the House-passed VOCA Fix Act.
You can use the contact links below to email or call each senators office.
As of 3-18-21, Senator Tim Scott has now signed on as a cosponsor of the VOCA Fix Act S.611. So we now have both Senator Graham and Senator Scott as cosponsors. We thank all of our supporters for reaching out.
On 3-17-21 the US House of Representatives passed the VOCA Fix Act with a 384-38 vote. Now the VOCA Fix Act will go to the Senate where Senator Graham is a supporter and co-sponsor of the VOCA Fix Act in the Senate.
The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) was signed into law in 1984 and was created to assist and compensate victims and survivors of crime which includes the victims of child abuse that our Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) serve. One of the most underrated but important aspects of the bill is that the funding comes from federal criminal fines, forfeitures, and special assessments, but, not from tax dollars.
We need every member of the South Carolina Network of Children's Advocacy Centers (SCNCAC), multidisciplinary team (MDT) members, and supporters to help us reach out to Congress about Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding, which is in danger of serious and long-term cuts unless we act as a movement to stop it.
The situation is dire! Federal grants to victim services through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) decreased by 35% last year on top of a 25% decrease the previous year, and further drastic cuts are expected. VOCA grants are financed by non-taxpayer-funding and this pool of money is running dry. Congress can fix this by ensuring federal financial penalties from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements are treated the same way as penalties resulting from criminal convictions - that they go to serve and compensate crime victims. And that’s exactly what the VOCA Fix Act does!
As noted above, VOCA funds are non-tax dollars that arise from criminal convictions. But as we all know, not every case ends in a conviction—some cases result in deferred prosecutions or non-prosecution agreements but still carry monetary penalties. However, the monetary penalties in deferred prosecutions and non-prosecution cases are not currently included in the VOCA fund. On Thursday, March 4, 2021, Senator Graham (R-SC) along with other Senators and Representatives introduced the bipartisan, bicameral VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (“the VOCA Fix Act”). This critical legislation will prevent devastating cuts to federal funding for victim service programs through the Victims of Crime Act (“VOCA”), including programs serving victims and survivors of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, drunk driving, assault, homicide, and other crimes. Without this VOCA Fix, Children's Advocacy Centers in South Carolina could lose up to 42 percent of their staff that provide direct services like forensic interviews, medical, and mental health services to child abuse victims and their caregivers.
One of the great benefits of this effort is that our work has bipartisan support. Working to help child victims of abuse heal, recover, and thrive is not a Republican or a Democratic issue—it is a human issue. And please note for those reading this that are MDT professionals: Reaching out to Congress about VOCA is not considered lobbying. It’s educating your members of Congress (who want to hear from you as a constituent) about the impact on your CAC and community if these funds are cut.