What is Victims of Crime Act VOCA? Click to see NNEDV Factsheet
Funding from VOCA Fund supports state and local and state programs that assist victims of crime – that includes the crisis help centers, shelters and culturally specific community organizations and nonprofits. Since 2018, sources of funding for this fund have declined leading to lesser funds for DV services and programs.
In 2022, domestic violence and sexual assault centers received 20% of funding reductions in their VOCA Awards and projections show an additional 17% reduction in VOCA fund awards to victim services providers for FY 2023, resulting in a total loss of 37% ($30 million) federal funding cut to agencies serving victims of crime. The impact of Georgia victim services programs is huge and it is estimated that will lose more than 400 front line employees around the state (source NNEDV).
Potential cuts that could impact Raksha’s services tremendously. The 37% cut to our VOCA funds is equivalent to approximately 15% of our overall budget which is approximately 1 million. VOCA funds have been funding staff that provide advocacy and clinical services in addition to emergency transportation, housing and food needs. Raksha alone spent about $185,000 meeting emergency needs of our clients needing support during this pandemic. Many of our immigrant survivors never got calls back from mainstream services when seeking rental or utility assistance. The existing programs are not marketed towards our community especially those who might not speak or read English well. We have had clients that applied for Department of Community Affairs help in September and still have not gotten any assistance to help from being evicted from their apartments.
This cut would be devastating to our program if we had to cut staff who provide comfort and support to many survivors who feel isolated and needs culturally and linguistic support as they make steps to live violence free lives. Many survivors might be here on dependent visas and or their abusive partners never filed for their paperwork. They are often not eligible for many state benefits and the support we provide is a lifeline for the survivors and their children. Raksha serves approximately 400 survivors and their children in a given year from throughout the state of Georgia. Please note that the data does not include the culturally specific programs that are not shelters or sexual assault centers.