Jul 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden signs bill to replenish Crime Victims Fund

Joe Biden at podium

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday signed legislation to replenish the Crime Victims Fund, which provides grants for victim services.

Why it matters: Biden noted in remarks prior to the signing that the fund was "depleted" in recent years and the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act will give it a new source of revenue.

  • The bill saw widespread bipartisan support, with the Senate voting to pass the measure unanimously on Tuesday and the House passage in March, 384-38.

State of play: The Crime Victims Fund was created in 1984 by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).

  • Biden said Thursday that in 2019 the fund helped provide grants for 230,000 victims of abuse and gave money to "states, territories and tribes to support thousands of service organizations" for abuse victims.
  • "This fund doesn't take a dime of taxpayers' money. It uses fines and penalties paid for by convicted federal criminals," Biden said.

Yes, but: Fines from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements did not previously supply money to the Victim Crimes Fund.

The big picture: The bill will also increase state compensation payments to victims by 15%, per the legislation.

  • Biden noted that money from the fund helps ameliorate the "economic costs" placed on victims of abuse, which can include "medical costs, lost productivity from work and navigating the court system," Biden said.

What they're saying: "When someone commits a crime, it's not enough to bring the predator to justice. We also need to support the victims," Biden said.

  • "This bill is going to allow us to make sure that all the fines and penalties that are from federal cases go into the crime victims fund to rebuild this fund, because it's badly needed."
  • "This is going to enable us to provide more help and support for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking, and other crimes, all across America."
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