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Government & Politics

Congress Works on Fix to Aid Nonprofits That Help Crime Victims

photo of gavel and handcuffs

A federal fund that relies on fines from criminal prosecutions is at historically low levels. The fund supports organizations that assist crime victims. Many of them have seen major budget cuts.

Congress is working on a fix to the situation.

Organizations that help crime victims sounded the alarm last year when the Crime Victims Fund established by VOCA—or the Victims of Crime Act--fell 40 percent. Since 2018, VOCA funding to Ohio has been cut in half.

Bipartisan legislation aims to fix the situation by making sure fines from criminal prosecutions resolved without trial go into the fund.

Senator Sherrod Brown says there’s wide support for this.

“We have an obligation to help survivors and communities that are victimized by violent crimes," Brown said.

When federal white collar crimes are resolved without trial, those fines go into general revenue. The bipartisan legislation would redirect it into the Crime Victims Fund and Brown says would also increase the money states get to distribute to the nonprofits.

Congress considering legislation to restore depleted Crime Victims Fund
Brown says change would ensure funding for organizations that help victims.

“One of the provisions of our bill is to raise from 60 to 75% the reimbursal from the federal government on the state compensation program. So we’re increasing this and this should be a more steady stream of revenue for these programs around the country.”

Brown says the changes are meant to sustain the Crime Victims Fund. The House has approved the fix. The senate takes it up next.