We Need Your Help.

The Victims of Crime Act funding is in danger of serious and long-term cuts and we need to work together to stop it. This is our biggest funding source and RIGHT NOW is a time when advocacy is needed.  I hope you can help.

Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA funding comes from fines on federal crimes and forfeitures and NOT from tax dollars. There are two acts before Congress that we need to address: a proposed significant cut to VOCA (more than a billion dollars) and a “VOCA fix” which will allow monetary penalties even in cases that don’t end in prosecution to funnel towards VOCA funds. This fix will have a very stabilizing effect on VOCA fund and will work to ensure that we continue to serve victims that need us. We hope that TODAY you will ask your member of the House and two Senators to fully fund VOCA and to support a permanent solution by supporting the “VOCA fix”.

Below you will find the names and contact information for your representatives as well as an email draft that you can use. You can cut and paste and fill in your personal information in the [bolded] sections before sending an email. Members of Congress count the number of phone calls and emails they receive about an issue to tell them how to vote. Very few Senator and Representative offices are actually answering the phone right now, but you can leave a voice mail simply asking them to “fully fund VOCA and support the VOCA fix”.  THANK YOU for letting our elected officials know how important this is to victims of abuse in our community.

Senator John Cornyn

To email Senator Cornyn please click the following link Discuss an Issue | United States Senator John Cornyn, Texas (senate.gov) and copy and paste your email in the space provided. Please select “Criminal Justice” from the drop down menu.

Senator Ted Cruz

To email Senator Cruz please click the following link: Ted Cruz | U.S. Senator for Texas (senate.gov) and select “crime” from the drop down menu.

Find Your Representative

Sample Email

You can cut and paste and fill in your personal information in the bolded sections before sending an email.

Dear (Senator/Representative)

My name is {your name} with the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, in San Marcos, TX and I am a constituent writing you from [your location]. At the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center we are first responders in addressing family violence, sexual assault, dating violence and child abuse by bringing together a coordinated team of experts in medicine, law enforcement, victim advocacy, mental health, and other disciplines to both hold offenders accountable and help children and families heal in a comprehensive way – together we are saving lives and impacting the most vulnerable citizens in our community.

Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs), family violence programs and rape crisis centers, as well as other victim service providers for programs serving survivors of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, drunk driving, homicide, and other crimes, rely heavily on Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants. VOCA also supplements state victim compensation funds. VOCA grants are not taxpayer-funded; instead, VOCA is funded by monetary penalties from federal criminal convictions. As the Department of Justice is entering into more deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements, the money available for VOCA grants has dropped dramatically. As a result, grants for victim services were cut 25% last year, and victim service providers are facing further potentially catastrophic cuts in their VOCA grants in the coming year.

Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center has been serving victims of abuse for over 40 years. Even during the pandemic, we have remained fully operational 24 hours daily with a fully functioning family violence shelter and forensic interviewers of child abuse victims on site.  Counseling and other comprehensive services have been modified as needed to address safety in the pandemic and the request for support remotely.  Last year, we served 2, 023 victims of abuse and provided 5,105 nights of shelter. We served 550 victims of child abuse last year alone.

As you know, helping abused children and families to heal and thrive is a non-partisan issue and we fully believe that all children deserve to live in a home free of abuse and neglect. Without sufficient VOCA funding, the critical services that we provide to the most vulnerable members of our community would not be possible.

For this reason, we urge House and Senate appropriators to release as much as possible from the Crime Victims Fund in the Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations budget. In addition, we urge including a VOCA fix that seeks to put VOCA grants on a more sustainable path. You may have already received a letter on this fix. Among other things, this fix redirects monetary penalties from deferred and non-prosecution agreements to the VOCA fund and increases the federal government’s contribution to state victim compensation funds.

As a constituent and as someone who cares deeply about victims and survivors, I urge you to take immediate action in support of the solutions included in the letter above.

If you have any questions, please contact me at [your email].  Thank you!