Victims' Rights Caucus

Press Releases

U.S. Congressman Ted Poe will hold a bi-partisan press conference on April 20, 2005 at 11 a.m. at the Cannon Terrace with U.S. Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA); Mr. Tom Charron, Executive Director of the National District Attorneys Association; fourteen major national victims groups; Mr. Mark Lunsford (father of Jessica Lunsford); Citrus County, Florida Sheriff Jeffrey Dawsy; and other members of the law enforcement community to request that Congressional appropriators reject the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)s proposal to rescind VOCA funds.

Who:
ï U.S. Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02)
ï U.S. Congressman Jim Costa (CA-20)
ï Mr. Tom Charron, Executive Director of the National District Attorneys Association
ï Mr. Mark Lunsford
ï Citrus County, Florida Sheriff Jeffrey Dawsy
ï Other members of the law enforcement community ï Justice Solutions, Inc.
ï Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
ï National Childrens Alliance
ï National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV)
ï National Association of Victim Assistance Administrators (NAVAA)
ï National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards (NACVCB)
ï National Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children (NCPOMC)
ï National Crime Victim Center (NCVC)
ï Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)
ï National Crime Victim Research and Treatment Center
ï Victim Assistance Legal Organization (VALOR)
ï National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA)
ï National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)
ï National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)

Where:
Cannon House Office Building Cannon Terrace (3rd floor)
Washington, D.C. 20515
(In the event of rain, event will be held in Cannon Room 311)

When:
April 20, 2005 at 11AM

Under the proposed Budget, the over $1.2 billion currently housed in the Crime Victims Fund is in grave danger of rescission. The Victims of Crime Act was enacted by the initiative of President Ronald Reagan to pay for victims services and compensations. It operates on money collected from criminal offenders not taxpayers that is then placed in the Crime Victims Fund. There are approximately 4,400 agencies that depend upon VOCAs victim assistance funds to provide direct services to 3.6 million crime victims annually. An additional 165,000 victims received some $434 million (state and VOCA funds) in crime victim compensation benefits. Currently, VOCA is the only federal program that supports services to victims of all types of crime: homicide fatalities, drunk driving, elder financial exploitation, identity theft, robbery, and rape.

The VOCA Fund is a crucial resource, on which many communities and organizations rely. It assists rape crisis centers; domestic violence shelters; and victims cover court costs, funeral services, and medical expenses. When questioned about its rationale for rescinding VOCA, the Office of Management and Budget classified the money in the Fund as a surplus a budget gimmick and indicated it would be diverted to improve accountability in the budget process.

Spearheading the effort to protect VOCA funding, Congressman Poe co-chairs the Congressional Victims Right Caucus that he founded last month. He has over 22 years experience dealing with criminal cases as a felony court judge and a prosecutor. He is a leading authority on crime, justice, and childrens issues. Most recently, Congressman Poe introduced and sponsored legislation the Child Predator Act of 2005 to safeguard children against child predators.

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