Urge Congress to protect funding for domestic violence shelters

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Urge Congress to protect funding for domestic violence shelters

Categories: Advocacy, Blog, Domestic Violence, News

YWCA Dayton is urging Congress to provide necessary support to domestic violence shelters like YWCA Dayton, ensuring victims and their families will have access to essential victim services.

YWCA Dayton operates the only domestic violence shelters and rape crisis center for Montgomery and Preble counties. Our work relies on revenue from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Crime Victims Fund. This national fund is made up of fines and penalties paid by federal criminals, not taxpayer dollars, and is the largest and most crucial funding source for agencies that provide services to crime victims.

However, the 2024-2025 federal budget proposes cutting the national program from the current $1.9 billion down to a $1.2 billion cap. This could mean a 40-45% reduction in the VOCA grant we would receive in October 2024.

“At YWCA Dayton, our shelter is dedicated toward victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking who are at imminent risk. That means all women and children who come into our domestic violence shelters have a reason to believe they would be at imminent risk of being harmed or killed if they were not in shelter. We need VOCA funding in order to continue to be a lifeline in our community,” said Kaitlyn Olsen, clinical manager at YWCA Dayton.

This shortfall is not new. In 2021, Congress passed the VOCA Fix Act, to address the immediate crisis of a dwindling Crime Victims’ Fund (“the Fund”) and allow for an expanded list of fines and penalties to be distributed into the Fund. The VOCA Fix is working, but fees and fines collected are not replenishing the Fund as quickly as necessary to keep victim service programs operational.

Without the necessary support from VOCA, victims and their families will not have access to essential victim services. Shelters and other programs like YWCA Dayton will be forced to close doors or eliminate services. VOCA funding must remain level, at minimum, at $1.9 billion. YW urges our local representatives to support survivors of crime by working with other members of Congress to replenish the revenue shortfall.

Community members can join in the movement to support domestic violence shelters by writing their representatives.

Click Here to fill out an easy form and send an email directly to your members of Congress, urging them to find a solution to the VOCA shortfall.

It only takes a few minutes to fill out the form and stand up for survivors!

YWCA Dayton has already experienced painful cuts in VOCA funding for years. We experienced a 34% decrease in VOCA funds for the 2021-22 year and a 37% decrease in the 2020-2021 budget. These dollars are used to support critical frontline staff working with survivors across YW’s shelters, hotline, and housing programs. Every day, upwards of 100 women, children, and families are helped by YWCA Dayton.

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing intimate-partner violence, YWCA Dayton can help. 24/7 Crisis Hotline: 937-222-SAFE (7233).