Update on Funding
Funding for FY 2017
Congress has not yet passed appropriations bills for FY 2017, which started October 1, 2016. The government has been operating on under a “continuing resolution,” which permits spending for basic government functions at the levels under the previous year – preventing a government shut-down. However, all grant funding—including Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is suspended during that time.
The latest continuing resolution, or CR, expires April 28, 2017. Congress may choose to:
- pass separate appropriations bills
- pass a long term CR through the end of the fiscal year – September 30, or
- some combination, adopting appropriations bills for certain spending areas and including everything else in a long term CR.
If a long term CR is passed it would include grant programs, which would generally be funded at the previous year’s levels.
Funding for FY 2018
The Administration has released a “skinny budget” with the bare outlines of their proposed budget for 2018. They have indicated a more complete budget proposal will be presented later.
Meanwhile, Congress has begun its own work on FY 2018 spending, taking requests and testimony from members of Congress and the public. The deadline for Members to make their own requests into the appropriations committees is April 4 (House) and April 6 (Senate).
VOCA: The co-Chairs of the Victims’ Rights Caucus, Congressmen Ted Poe (R-TX) and Jim Costa (D-CA) are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter, asking their fellow members of Congress to sign onto a letter to House appropriators supporting a continued high level of VOCA spending in the House of Representatives. Click here to support this effort!
VAWA/FVPSA: Congresswoman Gwen Moore is circulating a different “Dear Colleague” letter, asking members of Congress to sign onto a letter to House appropriators supporting funding under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). Click here to support this effort!
Update: Violence Against Women Act
The Hill newspaper recently reported that President Trump plans for major cuts in federal funding including, at the Department of Justice, eliminating the Violence Against Women Grants. These grants provide crucial support for victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking.
Violence Against Women funding through the Department of Justice is changing the criminal justice system’s response to crimes that used to be minimized. Today, VAWA funding is distributed to all states to support special investigators, special prosecutors, court programs, and victim support in accessing justice in cases of domestic or sexual violence and stalking. It also funds the civil legal assistance victims need—including help to get protective orders—as well as transitional housing that can keep them safe as they rebuild their lives. It provides special funding for victims of sexual assault, and funding that focuses on specific groups of victims of these crimes that have not had access to services, such as rural victims, victims on campuses, elderly victims, victims with disabilities, American Indian and Alaska Native victims. VAWA funding through DOJ amounts to approximately $480 million a year—a remarkable bargain for the nationwide impact of these programs.
Violence Against Women funding is building safe and strong communities, and should be a priority for the new Administration.
Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) recently wrote a letter to the White House to urge continued funding for VAWA. They were joined by Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Bob Casey (D-PA).
The National Center works to advance laws and policies that create resources and secure rights and protections for victims at the federal and state levels.
Our policy priorities include:
Crime Victims' Rights
The National Center supports meaningful rights for crime victims in the criminal, juvenile, civil, and administrative justice systems.
One area of focus has been improving the collection of crime victim restitution. This is an important issue to the National Center and we will continue to support measures to ensure victim restitution. Access our restitution toolkit.
Federal Crime Victims' Rights
The National Center supports efforts to strengthen the rights of federal victims of crime. Read our testimony regarding needed improvements and our letter supporting the Justice for All Act reauthorization.
Maximizing the use of DNA for Justice
The National Center also supports increased use of DNA evidence and increased funding for such efforts. The Justice for All Act reauthorization, mentioned above, includes such important funding.
The National Center is also part of the Rape Kit Action Project (RKAP), a collaboration with Natasha’s Justice Projec, and the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN). We have joined forces to address our nation’s untested sexual assault kit (SAK) problem by promoting laws that ensure unsubmitted rape kits are accounted for and analyzed and new rape kits are sent for testing in an expeditious manner.
We have also developed a sample law, “Sexual Assault Survivors DNA Justice Act,” and a section-by-section analysis. These materials are intended as resources for jurisdictions looking to reform laws relating to DNA evidence and protections for victims of sexual assault.
For more on the use of DNA for victim justice, visit our DNA Resource Center.
Emerging Issues and Underserved Crime Victims
The National Center is committed to improving our nation's response to underserved crime victims, including those with disabilities, those who are homeless, immigrant victims, victims in tribal communities, and others.
Read our report, Why It Matters: Rethinking Victim Assistance for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Victims.
Read our full 2013-2014 Policy Agenda.