Moolenaar Votes to Help Victim Advocacy Organizations

March 17, 2021
Press Release

Tonight, Congressman John Moolenaar voted for the VOCA Fix Act. This legislation would ensure that grant programs established in the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) continue to receive funding. VOCA grants provide financial support for programs that assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and other crimes.

“The VOCA Fix Act will provide victim advocacy and law enforcement organizations with funding so they can help people who have been the victims of crime," said Congressman Moolenaar, an original cosponsor of the bipartisan legislation. “Local organizations are best-suited to meet the needs of the communities they serve, and I am proud to work with organizations in the Fourth District on this very important issue. This legislation will help the survivors of violent crime recover and receive the support they need."

“Michigan’s victim service organizations have seen almost a 75% decline in VOCA funding over the last three years. The dollars the VOCA Fix Bill will secure are absolutely essential to continue providing services to children and families who are victims of crime," said Bethany Law, Executive Director of the Northern Michigan Alliance for Children.  "Simply stated, without this fix, many organizations like the Northern Michigan Alliance for Children would not be able to help those in need and we are thankful for Congressman Moolenaar’s leadership on this issue.”

"We're very grateful for Congressman Moolenaar's support of crime victims. This bill directly impacts not only the IM-SAFE Child Advocacy Center here in Montcalm County, but child advocacy centers throughout the nation," said Montcalm County Sheriff Mike Williams. "These Centers are crucial in assisting law enforcement with multi-disciplinary investigations of child abuse and child sexual abuse. The legislation will help ensure that the centers will have the funding necessary to provide the needed support services for those victimized children."

“VOCA funding is absolutely critical to supporting child crime victims in Gratiot County and throughout Mid-Michigan,” said Heather Therrien, Children’s Advocacy Center of Gratiot County Program Director. “Agencies like ours rely heavily on these funds to provide direct services and support to children suffering from sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, and drug endangerment. The number of kids and families in need is rising every year as funding becomes more difficult to secure. We are grateful to Congressman Moolenaar and his team for championing the VOCA Fix to help support kids and their families throughout our district.”

The Victims of Crime Act was first signed into law in 1984 and it funded grants with the proceeds from prosecutions by the Department of Justice. However, because the department is increasingly seeking non-prosecution and deferred-prosecution agreements instead of prosecuting, there has been a decline in funding. The VOCA Fix Act would redirect the settlements from these deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements into the VOCA fund to ensure grants are available to victim advocacy organizations.

The legislation passed the House tonight in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. The full text of the legislation can be found here.