Take Action to protect our domestic violence shelters

Thank You for telling Congress to prevent catastrophic cuts to the Victims of Crime Act funding. 

Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding allows our organizations to employ and train advocates with the knowledge and expertise necessary to provide critical victim servicesincluding 24/7 crisis hotlines, safety planning, emergency shelter, food, clothing, and transportation, and more.

Nationally, VOCA is now facing a critical reduction of 40% ($700 million) in federal fiscal year 2024. Current funding limitations already make it difficult to meet every survivor's needs. In the past 5 years, 7,800 requests for shelter have gone unmet – with 1,258 requests in FY23 alone. 

To those who joined us in signing our petition, thank you! Together, we accumulated 237 signatures in support of urging Congress to invest adequate funding for VOCA in the final FY24 Appropriations budget.

Together, we can protect Kentucky's domestic violence shelters.


Our Petition.

When times are hard for everyone,
they are especially hard for survivors experiencing intimate partner abuse.
Over the past 5 years, more than 10,000 adults and nearly 6,000 children have found safety, help, and hope under the protection of our state-funded providers of shelter services for victims of intimate partner violence. Domestic violence shelter programs and their staff stepped up to the challenges of COVID-19, natural disasters, and economic uncertainty, working swiftly to implement practices that protected survivors’ health and safety without any interruption to services. And yet, in the past 5 years, 7,800 requests for shelter have gone unmet – with 1,258 requests in FY23 alone. Worse, the economic uncertainty that these federal funding cuts create jeopardizes our shelters, their staff, and the lifesaving services they provide survivors and their children.
As major cuts to federal funding sources, including the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), continue to grow, so will the number of unmet shelter needs. Kentucky needs strong, sustainable funding sources to maintain and grow lifesaving services for victims of domestic violence and their children, now more than ever.   Investing in domestic violence services is an investment in the safety of our Commonwealth. And so, we ask that you invest adequate funding for VOCA in the final FY24 Appropriations budget and continue to work towards a permanent solution for long-term, sustainable funding.

More About VOCA

VOCA Background

The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Crime Victims Fund (CVF) is a non-taxpayer source of funding that supports thousands of victim services providers serving millions of victims annually and is funded by monetary penalties associated with federal convictions.

Deposits fluctuate annually based on the cases that the Department of Justice successfully prosecutes. Deposits have been low for several years, impacting the balance of the CVF.

Appropriators decide how much to release from the CVF every year for VOCA grants. Statutorily, this money funds specific DOJ programs and state victim assistance grants, and supplements state victim compensation funds.

It is important to have money in the CVF to provide a buffer for lean years. Unfortunately, if there are too many lean years in a row, the CVF will not be able to provide that buffer. That is the situation we are currently facing.

Because funds in the CVF are very low, the amount Appropriators will release is low and as a result, states are or will be experiencing enormous cuts to their awards. Every state is at a different place in their grant cycles. Most states have either already cut funding to victim service organizations or will do so this coming fiscal year.

The Current VOCA Crisis

While the VOCA grant allocation of $1.9 billion that was included in the final FY23 budget essentially level funds VOCA, the proposed $1.2 billion in President’s FY24 budget and the FY24 House and Senate CJS appropriations bills is a 40% cut, as compared to FY23. States have already begun to implement significant cuts, with some cutting more than 60% in the current year alone. At this proposed funding level, thousands of victim service providers across the nation will be forced to layoff staff, cut programs, and/or shut their doors. The impact will fall hardest on the smallest programs, particularly programs in rural communities, low-income communities, and Communities of Color. Potentially millions of victims nationwide will lose access to lifesaving and life-sustaining child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and other victim services. Without access to these critical services, the real-time impact will not only be felt by individuals and families, but also in communities nationwide. It is important to note that, after being kept in isolation due to the pandemic, many survivors are just now coming forward seeking services, and losing access now will further set back their healing and safety. 

Victim service providers across the country have worked diligently with private donors and with state and local lawmakers to secure funds to address increased need and to provide a buffer if VOCA grants are cut by 40%, as anticipated based on the House and Senate CJS Appropriations bills and the President’s budget. However, even programs that have been successful in securing state, local, and/or private funding to protect against VOCA decreases simply cannot absorb cuts of this magnitude.

Given the dire potential consequences, on behalf of the victims and survivors we all serve, we ask that Congress invest adequate funding for VOCA in the final FY24 Appropriations budget.