Zonta International is a global organization of women and men dedicated to empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. The Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center is a tool for our members in the United States and other individuals who share our commitment to gender equality to take action to improve the lives of women and girls. With your help, we can make a difference. In addition to the actions below, click here to support our joint efforts with UNICEF USA to end child marriage in the United States.
In the Senate's recent appropriations bills, the bill that funds the Department of Justice includes a 40% cut to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) release. This comes after a 25% cut last year. If the bill goes through, VOCA victim service grants will have been cut 74% over the last two years. Many organizations that help survivors of gender-based violence rely on this federal funding to provide critically needed services, including shelter, legal assistance, counseling and more.
The VOCA fund, established in 1984 by the Reagan administration, is not funded by taxpayers. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), "VOCA is funded by monetary penalties from federal criminal prosecutions, and prosecutors are increasingly entering into deferred prosecutions and non-prosecution agreements instead. Congress must shore up the Crime Victims Fund by ensuring federal financial penalties from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements are treated the same way as penalties resulting from criminal convictions - that they go to serve and compensate crime victims. This fix was included in the COVID-19 relief packages that passed the House in both May and September, and it must be signed into law."
Congress can save victim service grants by including this fix in their omnibus appropriations bill. Contact your senators and representatives today and ask them to shore up the Crime Victims Fund and increase VOCA funding.