VOCA Funding

Current Status/Action News:

FY 2018

Congress has extended the continuing resolution through January 19, 2018 and in doing so forestalled a partial federal government shutdown and delayed implementation of the statutory pay-as-you-go (SPAYGO) requirements. Under SPAYGO, mandatory spending programs would have to be reduced (or eliminated) to offset the projected increase in the federal deficit resulting from the recently enacted tax bill. Because the size of the projected deficit (up to $1.5 trillion or more over 10 years), SPAYGO cuts could prevent any spending from the Crime Victims Fund, among other federal mandatory spending programs. The extended CR delays implementation of SPAYGO cuts until January 19, 2018 which gives Congress time to waive those requirements as indicated by Congressional leadership.

For VOCA, FY 2018 spending cannot be determined until Congress enacts a spending bill for the entire fiscal year. So far, the House Appropriations Committee is recommending a FY 2018 VOCA cap of $4.632 billion, an 80 percent increase over the FY 2017 VOCA cap. While the Committee is not recommending any transfers of Crime Victim Fund to programs not authorized under the VOCA statute, the Committee would allocate 5 percenet "for grants to Indian tribal governments to improve services and justice for victims of crime."

The Senate Appropriations Committee is recommending a FY 2018 VOCA cap of $3.636 billion, a 41 percent increase over the FY 2017 VOCA cap which would include 5 percent "to the Office for Victims of Crime for grants, consistent with the requirements of the Victims of Crime Act, to Indian tribes to improve services for victims of crime." The Senate bill would also transfer another $10 million to the Office of Inspector General for oversight and auditing purposes and $379 million to the Office on Violence Against Women.

The Administration released its FY 2018 budget proposals on May 23, 2017. The proposed budget contains some significant provisions affecting VOCA and the Crime Victims Fund. While these proposals may have a minimal immediate net impact on the amount of state VOCA assistance grants, the policies, if adopted, will have major long-term adverse implications for VOCA-funded victim services.

Some of the major Crime Victims Fund proposals are:

  • Permanent rescission (removal) of $1.31 billion from the Fund balance (“above the cap”). The Administration says the reason for this is "deficit reduction," even though the VOCA statute says unobligated Fund amounts "shall remain in the Fund for obligation in future years...".
  • Increase the cap from $2.573 billion to $3 billion, but that includes, among other things:
    • Continuation of $10 million for DOJ Inspector General (this would bring total OIG funding to $40 million)
    • Increase transfer for VAWA programs from $326 million to $445 million (93% of total OVW programs)
    • New 5% set aside for grants to tribes ($150 million)
    • Using the CVF for several OJP and OJJDP programs previously funded from general tax appropriations ($165 million)
    • 3% ($90 million) set aside for OJP research, evaluation and statistics (not previously authorized from CVF)

By permanently removing amounts retained in the Fund and raising the cap in order to fund non-VOCA programs, the request poses a serious challenge to the Fund’s long-term viability.  There are no assurances that Fund deposits will continue to sustain the current level of victim services thereby undermining Congress’s original intention of capping annual Fund obligations to ensure a stable source of funding for VOCA programs. By expanding the use of the Fund to support additional programs not authorized under the VOCA statute, it opens the door even further to use the Fund to pay for other programs; the more additional programs come to rely on the Fund, the less becomes available for state VOCA victim assistance programs.

NAVAA supports the policy that the annual VOCA cap be set at the average of the three previous full fiscal years of deposits into the Crime Victims Fund, and used only for purposes authorized under the VOCA statute and without any transfer to non-VOCA programs. Using that policy, the FY 2017 cap should be no less than $2.573 billion that would likely result in state VOCA assistance grants at about the same level anticipated for FY 2016.

Background Documents

(All documents in PDF format unless otherwise indicated in square brackets.) [Top]


  • The Crime Victim Fund helps an average of 3.7 million victims of all types of crime every year.
  • The Fund comes from the collection of Federal criminal fines; not taxpayers.
  • Congress has repeatedly pledged that all amounts deposited into the Fund would remain available for victim services.

The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 is the Federal government's principle means of providing support for programs that serve victims of all types of crime. Each year, Federal criminal fines, forfeitures and special assessments are deposited into the Crime Victims Fund (the Fund). These offender generated revenues -- NOT TAXPAYER DOLLARS -- are used to support these programs:

  • Children’s Justice Act -- to improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases;
  • U.S. Attorney’s victim/witness coordinators -- to provide assistance to victims involved in Federal criminal prosecutions by funding 170 FTE United States Attorney Office victim assistance coordinators;;
  • F.B.I. victim assistance specialists-- to help victims during Federal criminal investigations by funding 112 FTE victim assistance specialists;
  • Federal victim notification system -- to provide automated notification to victims of the status of Federal criminal investigations and prosecutions and the offender's status in the Federal prison system;
  • OVC discretionary grants -- to support national scope training and technical assistance and to provide services to victims of Federal crimes;
  • State compensation formula grants -- to supplement State funds used to reimburse victims of violent crimes for medical expenses, mental health counseling, lost wages, loss of support and funeral/burial costs;
  • State victim assistance formula grants -- to support direct victim assistance services -- such as counseling, emergency shelter, rape crisis centers, help in participating in the criminal justice system. Approximately 3.5 million - 4 million crime victims receive these services by more than 4,000 agencies annually;
  • Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve -- to replenish a special $50 milllion reserve to assist victims of domestic and international terrorism and mass violence.

However, beginning in FY 2012, congressional appropriators began diverting money in the Crime Victims Fund to support other programs that are not authorized under the VOCA statute.This included a portion of the Office of Justice Programs management and administrative costs, Justice Department Office of Inspector General and transfer to the Office on Violence Against Women.

Prior to FY 2000, all of the money deposited into the Crime Victims Fund from the collection of Federal criminal fines, forfeitures and assessments, was allocated the following fiscal year according to a formula in the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) statute. Because of wide fluctuations in the amount deposited, beginning in FY 2000, Congress began imposing a limitation or "cap" on the amount of Fund deposits that could be obligated the following year. Congress said it was delaying use of the deposits above the cap in order "to protect against wide fluctuations in receipts into the Fund, and to ensure that a stable level of funding will remain available for these programs in future years." [Conference Report 106-479] Congress also amended the VOCA statute to reflect the preservation of all deposits for future VOCA programs.

Fiscal Year
Prv. Yr. Deposits
Prv. Yr. Deposits
2007 649,631,046 625,000,000  
2008 1,017,977,475 590,000,000   2017 1,486,357,496 2,573,000,000
1 Includes rescissions.
2 Does not include $100 million in Recovery Act funding


Contact Congress

Call, email or fax your Congressional delegation and urge them to protect the Crime Victims Fund for VOCA authorized programs. Find out how to contact your Senator and Representatives ) by going to these web sites:

Connect to their offices through the Capitol Switchboard: 1-800-247-2971 or 202-224-3121

For media inquiries about VOCA and the Crime Victims Fund: contact: NAVAA Executive Director Steve Derene at steve@navaa.org or call 608-233-2245.