Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) released the following statements after passing the bipartisan VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (“VOCA Fix Act”). When signed by the president, the VOCA Fix Act will make more money available to support crime victims, at no cost to taxpayers.
“Survivors and crime victims need to know that we have their backs, and I am committed to getting them the resources and support they need to recover,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Allowing any gap in funding to the service providers helping vulnerable Nevadans would be unacceptable, which is why I’m proud to have passed this legislation to fix this program and increase support for those in need.”
“The Crime Victims Fund established in the Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA, provides funding for state and community programs that serve domestic violence survivors and other victim-survivors of crime in Nevada and throughout the country,” said Senator Rosen. “Unfortunately, VOCA funding levels have diminished in recent years, jeopardizing services to victim-survivors such as medical costs, lost wages, and safety planning. I’m proud that the Senate voted to pass bipartisan, bicameral legislation to fix the issue, bringing us one step closer to providing the assistance that victim-survivors and their families need.”
“The Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence thanks both Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen for supporting this critical piece of legislation,” said Susan Meuschke, Executive Director of the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. “The passage of the VOCA Fix Act will enable Nevada domestic and sexual violence programs to continue life-saving programs for victim-survivors throughout the state.”
The Crime Victims Fund (CVF) provides grant funding to states, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and individuals to help and support victims of crimes like sexual assault and domestic violence. The CVF is funded through criminal fines and receives no taxpayer dollars. However, in recent years its funding has been decreasing due to a glitch in the law that has certain penalties go into general funds rather than to the CVF. The VOCA Fix Act ensures that these penalties are redirected into the CVF, restoring adequate funding for victims.
Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen have worked to prevent crime and support crime victims. Last month, Cortez Masto led a bipartisan push, which Rosen supported, for funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program to support a range of programs related to crime prevention, law enforcement, prosecution, corrections, and mental and behavioral health. In May, Cortez Masto secured $40 million in funding for Nevada victims and survivors, which included the VOCA program, after weeks of delays from the Department of Justice. Last year, Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen also advocated for protections for immigrant domestic violence survivors and support for victims of family and domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.