How federal funding for crime victims services is in jeopardy

Dec 07, 2020 at 08:00 am by Child Advocacy Center

VOCA Helps Kids Heal

“The Victims of Crime Act federal funding for crime victims is in jeopardy,” said Child Advocacy Center director Sharon De Boer. “The Child Advocacy Center has relied on this federal funding for the last 20 years to provide critically needed services to over 24,000 child abuse victims, child sexual abuse victims, drug endangered children, and families in Rutherford and Cannon Counties.”  

The Child Advocacy Center of Rutherford County, Inc. was established in Rutherford County in September 2000 and in Cannon County in October 2008 utilizing funding from the federal Victims of Crime Act grant. The Victims of Crime Act funding supports 43% of the Child Advocacy Center’s annual budget. The grant funds six employees that provide forensic interviews of child abuse and child sexual abuse victims and family advocacy to help families rebuild their shattered lives. 

“The Child Advocacy Center is not the only Rutherford County and Cannon County agency that is funded by the Victims of Crime Act funding. The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center, Cannon County SAVE, and the District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Program are all critically needed programs in our community that will be impacted by the VOCA grant funding cuts,” continued De Boer. 

The Child Advocacy Center was notified by the National Children’s Alliance that there will be a 40% cut in VOCA funding next year. That would be a $130,600 cut in funds. The Child Advocacy Center would lose 3 employees that provide critically needed services to child abuse victims. 

The VOCA fund was established in 1984 by the Reagan Administration. These funds have been used to assist crime victims across the nation for 36 years. The VOCA grant funds are not taxpayer funded. VOCA is funded by monetary penalties from federal crime convictions. Grants for victims’ services were cut 25% last year, and victim service providers are facing further potentially catastrophic cuts in their VOCA grants in the coming year. 

Here is where you come in. The Child Advocacy Center is asking for our community’s support. Please send an email to your Senators and Representative. Urge them to support services for crime victims. It is a simple process that takes less than 5 minutes. Click the links in this press release to email our Tennessee Senators. Click the other link and enter your zip code to find your Representative. Go to their online email page, cut and paste the information in the next paragraph, and sign your name.  

Letter to Legislators: I am your constituent, and I am writing to you about the VOCA grant fund. Services to crime victims are important to me. I urge the Senate and House appropriators to release as much funding as possible from the Crime Victims Fund in 2021. I also support the VOCA Fix that seeks to put VOCA grants on a more sustainable path. The VOCA Fix redirects monetary penalties from deferred and non-prosecution agreements to the VOCA fund. 

Tennessee Senators: 

Senator Lamar Alexander: https://www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Email 

Senator Marsha Blackburn: https://www.blackburn.senate.gov/email-me 

Tennessee Representatives: 

Use the link below to enter your zip code and find your Representative. 

https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative 

The Child Advocacy Center set a goal of 500 letters from Rutherford and Cannon Counties. De Boer concluded, “Please help us make this happen! Together we can make a difference in children’s lives!” 

For additional information visit the National Children’s Alliance website at https://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/act-now-for-cacs/ For more questions, contact the Child Advocacy Center at (615) 867-9000.  



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