The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) applauds Congress for introducing the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act. This bill would help prevent expected catastrophic cuts to Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants. VOCA grants are the primary source of federal funding for thousands of victim service providers across the nation. Several Protection and Advocacy agencies (P&As) receive VOCA grants to assist individuals with disabilities who have been the victims of crime.
“Individuals with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be victims of crime than those without disabilities,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “This bill would ensure that P&As that receive VOCA grants have the resources needed to assist people with disabilities to rebuild their lives after being victims of crime,” continued Decker.
Cuts to VOCA grants are the result of low balances in the Crime Victims Fund, where monetary penalties for federal convictions are typically deposited to support victims of crime. As the Department of Justice has increased use of deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements, fewer criminal convictions have led to fewer deposits into the Crime Victims Fund. Billions of dollars paid by large corporations through these settlement agreements are currently not eligible for deposit in the Crime Victims Fund. This bill would redirect monetary penalties from federal deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements back into the Crime Victims Fund.
NDRN and the P&A network have long advocated that people with disabilities deserve accessible services in every aspect of their experiences. We should be pursuing every path possible to support people with disabilities who are victims and survivors of criminal acts. The VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act will better safeguard accessible services and assistance programs for people with disabilities for years to come. NDRN calls on Congress to quickly take up this bill and enact it into law.
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the P&A/CAP Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.