SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Bonta today joined a coalition of attorneys general representing 32 states and territories urging Congress to provide critical support and services to victims and survivors of crime by taking steps to increase the Crime Victims Fund (Fund) with short term, bridge funding. The balance of the Fund, which was established under the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA), has decreased significantly in recent years. It is projected that compared to 2023 funding, the 2024 funding for victim services grants will be 41% or $700 million lower nationwide year over year.
“We must take immediate action to replenish the Crime Victims Fund to prevent the closure of numerous victim service programs across the nation,” said Attorney General Bonta. “We cannot leave victims and survivors without necessary services and support, such as those provided by the California Department of Justice’s Victims’ Services Unit. Reduced funding for victims’ support is particularly likely to impact vulnerable victims, including those in rural areas, underserved populations, and impoverished communities. As victims often serve as witnesses in criminal cases against the people who caused them harm, the lack of services and support for these individuals may hinder our states' ability to hold perpetrators accountable and ultimately compromise public safety. It is our duty to ensure this fund stays financially healthy so that we can properly respond to the needs of victims and survivors.”
In today’s letter, the coalition asks House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to urge Congress to provide short-term funding so that victims, survivors, and their families have access to the essential services they need while they try to get back on their feet in the aftermath of crime.
The Fund is financed by fines and penalties paid by people convicted of federal crimes, and is the primary funding source for victim services in all 50 states and six U.S. territories. Those services include medical care, mental health counseling, lost wages, courtroom advocacy, and temporary housing.
A copy of the letter is available here.