RI Delegation Announces $642,000 to Support Victims of Crime
WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to provide essential services to victims of violent crimes and survivors of sexual assault and to strengthen the state’s support systems for people who have experienced trauma resulting from these crimes, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Seth Magaziner today announced $642,000 in new federal funding for the Victim Compensation Formula Grant program, which is funded by the Crime Victims Fund.
The federal funds, which will be administered at the state level by Rhode Island General Treasurer James A. Diossa, will assist victims with expenses related to violent crime, including: medical, dental and counseling expenses; relocation expenses; funeral and related expenses; loss of earnings; and other expenses. These funds will help Rhode Islanders and their families who have experienced trauma as a result of violent crimes reach support systems and care.
The delegation voted to make these federal funds available for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) as part of the fiscal year 2023 appropriations law. Under the law, OVC awards each eligible state victim compensation program an annual grant equal to 75 percent of the amount the program awarded in state-funded victim compensation payments during the fiscal year 2 years prior to the present fiscal year, other than amounts awarded for property damage.
“It is critical that victims of violent crimes receive proper treatment, support, and follow-up care. This federal funding will help Rhode Island provide support and care for victims and their families. It will ensure that we are doing everything we can to reduce trauma and strengthen our state’s capacity to effectively prosecute cases of sexual violence and violent crimes,” said Senator Reed.
“Organizations across Rhode Island provide heroic support to survivors of sexual assault and violent crimes,” said Senator Whitehouse. “I’m glad to help secure federal funding that will strengthen resources for survivors and their families and ensure that everyone in need of a lifeline during a crisis has access to one.”
“We have a moral duty to help sexual assault survivors and victims of violent crime recover from their trauma by funding compassionate care and counseling for those affected,” said Rep. Seth Magaziner. “This federal funding will provide direct support to survivors and victims of violent crime and ensure they have the services and resources they need to heal.”
“This essential funding for Treasury’s Crime Victim Compensation Program will help ensure that Rhode Islanders receive the care they need in moments of great need. No victim of crime should go without the resources and services they need for support. I commend our delegation for working to secure such important funding,” said Treasurer Diossa.
In July 2021, Reed and Whitehouse helped to strengthen the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) by fixing how the Crime Victims Fund is funded. Both senators sponsored the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund of 2021, which redirected monetary penalties from federal deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements into the Crime Victims Fund to provide additional non-taxpayer money for victim compensation and assistance programs in Rhode Island and across the country. This law helped to increase funding for Rhode Island’s Crime Victim Compensation Fund which is administered by the RI State Treasurer Office.
From 2015 to 2023, Rep. Magaziner served as Rhode Island’s General Treasurer and successfully ran this program, helping more than 300 victims of domestic abuse relocate away from their abusers.
For more information, on this award: OVC FY 2023 VOCA Victim Compensation Formula Grant | Office for Victims of Crime (ojp.gov) [ovc.ojp.gov]
Chip Unruh (Reed), (202) 224-4642
Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), (202) 224-2921
James Kwon (Magaziner), (202) 951-0315
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