FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2015
CONTACT: Ilana Flemming, Manager of Advocacy at JWI
JWI commends the members of Congress for their dedication to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes. The new budget would increase funding for crucial victim services programs, including VAWA, FVPSA, and VOCA. Many victim service programs are underfunded and understaffed, and are forced to turn victims away for lack of resources. The proposed budget provides essential funding to these programs, and increases funding from the previous fiscal year, so that service providers will be able to serve a greater number of victims and survivors in the coming fiscal year. We thank Congress, and especially Appropriators, for recognizing the importance of these services, which provide crucial support to victims and survivors of violence as they seek to rebuild their lives in safety. JWI continues to work for a future of safe homes and healthy relationships for all women and families.
While we are pleased that the proposed budget includes increased funding for VAWA, we are concerned that this money was taken from the VOCA fund. VAWA is a taxpayer-funded program that focuses on systemic responses to gender-based violence. In contrast, VOCA is funded by criminal penalties and its funds are intended to support direct service providers and crime victims. This budget maneuver sets a poor precedent for future years, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress to ensure that VOCA, VAWA, and other crucial programs receive full support from the appropriate funding sources.
JWI thanks all the members of Congress for their hard work and dedication. We are especially grateful for the leadership of Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, and for all of the Appropriators who have consistently advocated for victims and survivors of violence.