For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: April 13, 2005
Wasden Asks Congress to Restore Crime Victims Fund
(Boise) - Attorney General Lawrence Wasden joined the unanimous effort of all states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and territorial attorneys general calling upon Congress to restore funding for law enforcement grants under the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.
"Congress will devastate programs that provide grants to nearly four million victims of crime if they remove more than $1.2 billion from the Crime Victims Fund," Attorney General Wasden said. "These grants provide assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, drunk driving, elder abuse, robberies, families of homicide victims and other victims of crime."
The Crime Victims Fund was created as part of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) and is funded entirely through collections from federal criminal fines, forfeitures and special assessments.
"Victims of crime in Idaho have been able to receive help with medical care, mental health counseling, funeral and burial expenses," Attorney General Wasden said. "Without the VOCA funds, many victims will fall through the cracks and be unable to receive the services they desperately need."
The VOCA Crime Victims Fund is administered by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) in the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs. Although the Administration's proposed federal budget includes VOCA funding of $650 million for fiscal year 2006, all other monies remaining in the fund and any new monies collected in fiscal year 2006 would be eliminated. As a result, starting in 2007, there would be no money readily available for state victim assistance programs, crime victim compensation grants, or for federal personnel who provide victim services.
"Idaho is still recovering economically and many agencies are facing budget constraints already," Wasden said. "If these federal grants are no longer available, many agencies will simply have to turn away victims of crime."
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