LUBBOCK, Texas — The Victims of Crime Act supports thousands of crime victims annually and is funded by court fines or plea deals associated with federal criminal convictions.
However, during COVID-19, most trials were moved online or suspended altogether, decreasing the Crime Victims Fund for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021.
“This grant on this particular funding starts on October 1,” said Voice of Hope Executive Director, Kristin Murray. “We got an email last week letting us know we could expect funding cuts and organizations that were already being funded could possibly be unfunded for the upcoming fiscal year.”
It is an issue that would not only impact victims and survivors on national level, but would take away resources from those in vulnerable situations right here in Lubbock.
“Losing a resource is inevitably triggering a fight or flight response,” said a local survivor of sex trafficking. “As a survivor, the instinct is to go back to what’s comfortable, back to what we’ve always known and to lose the support is just going to put us back onto the streets.”
In March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “VOCA Fix Act” which would increase the amount of fines and fees deposited into the fund from 60 percent to 75 percent. It is currently at the Senate floor waiting on a vote.
“We are very fortunate to have Texas Senator John Cornyn co-authoring the bill, so I feel like we have great support from our local representation,” said Murray. “I feel like it’s just about spreading the message and making sure everyone is on board.”