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Over 20 Organizations Serving Victims of Crime

Urge Immediate General Assembly Action on VOCA Cuts

We, the undersigned organizations serving victims of crime in Rhode Island, ask for urgent action to address drastic and imminent 40% cuts to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). VOCA provides essential services to the victims and survivors of violence that we serve in our state, and this looming cut represents a severe $700 million reduction to all victim services programs funded by VOCA across the nation. We call for immediate emergency state-level bridge funding of $2 million, and further action to counteract these cuts.

Established by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, the Crime Victims Fund has been distributed locally by the Public Safety Grant Administration Office to organizations across the state of Rhode Island in order to address the needs of victims of crime in all corners of the state.

VOCA funding allows local organizations to provide support services to some of our most vulnerable community members, who may need street outreach, trauma services, emergency shelter, transitional housing, comprehensive case management, therapy, law enforcement advocacy, grief counseling, transportation, protective services, medical services, behavioral health services, court advocacy services for restraining orders, safety planning, and a confidential 24-hour statewide Helpline.

VOCA grants are not taxpayer funded. Instead, they are paid out of the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), which comprises federal criminal monetary penalties. Every year, federal appropriators decide how much to release from the CVF. Allocations to Rhode Island have been vital in providing direct services to victims of violent crimes, including survivors of child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, and trauma. These awards are also leveraged by community-based organizations to attract other private sources of funding, maximizing the dollars to serve more clients.

These cuts also impact state agency victim services programs. VOCA supports the Rhode Island Crime Victims Compensation Program (CVCP), administered by the Office of the General Treasurer. CVCP helps Rhode Islanders recover from the financial hardship resulting from being a victim of a violent crime. The program provides critical funding to Rhode Islanders for medical care and mental health counseling expenses; relocation expenses; funeral and related expenses; crime scene cleaning; and loss of earnings or loss of financial support.

Previous reductions in VOCA funding during the COVID-19 pandemic were particularly damaging to these programs. At a time when public health measures required staying at home and social distancing, VOCA cuts resulted in decreases to housing supports and transitional housing. Agencies were forced to forfeit leases of transitional housing units, cutting their capacity as they struggled to avoid evicting other clients during an existing housing crisis and economic crisis during the pandemic. An additional 40% cut this year would be devastating to programs and the victims and survivors they serve. It will result in layoffs, reduced services, and in some cases services and programs being eliminated.

It is imperative for VOCA funding, and these life-saving victim services, to be bolstered with immediate emergency bridge funding from Rhode Island’s state budget so that it is level-funded at last year’s VOCA allocation level. This will ensure we can provide adequate services to our RI constituents after experiencing violence and trauma. This requires $2 million of state-level bridge funding to close this RI victim services program funding gap.

The RI General Assembly and state elected officials must take immediate action to address this urgent crisis and provide emergency bridge funding for local VOCA programs in our state budget and ensure sustainable funding for these life-saving programs in Rhode Island for years to come.

Thank you for your attention to this critical funding request on behalf of Rhode Island’s victim services organizations across the state.


Amos House  
Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center               
Center for Southeast Asians   
Child and Family Services of Newport County                 
Community Care Alliance                         
Day One                                         
Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County  
Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island  
East Bay Community Action Program                     
Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center                         
House of Hope CDC                         
Interfaith Counseling Center                          
Lawrence A. Aubin Sr. Child Protection Center              
Lucy’s Hearth                                         
Progreso Latino, Inc.                                 
Providence Housing Authority                          
Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence      
Sojourner House
Tri-County Community Action Agency                    
Women’s Resource Center                         
Youth Pride, Inc.

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At The Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, your safety is our top priority. If you are experiencing domestic violence, please reach out to us. We provide a safe and confidential environment where you can talk about your experience and receive support and resources. If you need to maintain particular communication methods or times, please let us know, and we will make arrangements to accommodate your needs. Please note that while we try our best to respond promptly, a response may not be instantaneous. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911. If you are in need of immediate resources, please call the 24-hour Helpline at 1-800-494-8100.


Hotline: (401)738-1700

Business: (401) 738-9700

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Serving individuals and families affected
by domestic violence and sexual assault.

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