July 24, 2021 (Anchorage, AK) – Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy today applauded the passage of the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (“VOCA Fix”), which was signed into law Thursday following a bipartisan vote of 100-0 in the U.S. Senate. The VOCA Fix directs funds into the Crime Victims Fund, ensuring Alaska’s 35 victim service providers have no loss of critical funds.
“It is imperative that Alaska has every tool available to combat our devastatingly high crime rates. The VOCA Fix enables our victim service providers to best help Alaskans in their time of intense need,” said Governor Dunleavy. “My administration thanks the many individuals, agencies, and victim service allies at the local and federal level who advocated for the VOCA Fix, supporting victims and survivors of crime in Alaska.”
Passage of the VOCA Fix represents a monumental victory for the future of victim services both nationally and throughout Alaska. Sustainable funding to the Crime Victims Fund is critical to ensure that victims of crime are met with high-quality services that are trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and reflective of diverse communities. The increase in victims seeking assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a real, tangible need for the continued investment in services.
“The statistics of Alaska’s crime epidemic are no surprise to any of us. On average, an Alaskan is victimized by violent crime once every hour; this is why stable federal funding from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) is such an important tool in our fight against violent crime across the state,” stated Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell. “Thank you to Governor Dunleavy, our congressional delegation, and the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence Sexual Assault for your tireless advocacy pushing this important legislation through the finish line.”
Changes to the VOCA statute will provide for increased funding and flexibility in the management of VOCA awards, including:
- directing federal criminal settlements from non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements, currently deposited into the General Treasury, into the Fund;
- increasing the percentage that state compensation programs may be reimbursed from 60 percent to 75 percent;
- providing the U.S. Attorney General the ability to issue no cost extensions on VOCA awards;
- giving states the ability to waive the local match for VOCA assistance grants for the duration of the pandemic;
- providing additional flexibility for compensation programs to provide support for victims even if they do not interact with law enforcement prior to requesting assistance; and,
- removing the restitution recovery penalty from annual state compensation certification forms.
Governor Dunleavy and the Alaska Department of Public Safety thank Alaska’s Congressional Delegation for their efforts of advocating for the VOCA Fix. The bill was signed into law on July 22nd by President Joe Biden.