As community-based agencies are wrapping up the year of 2020, there is a somber tone amongst many. Several social service agencies rely on federal funding for many programs and services that help victims of crime; including the programs and resources in our communities that work to combat sexual assault, and other domestic related crimes.
Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)
In 1984 the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) was passed into legislation hence establishing the Crime Victims Fund. This grant is a major source of funding for many programs nationally. These funds are generated from the collection of Federal criminal fines, and not taxpayer support. To receive these funds, agencies and organizations must directly serve victims of crime as the core component of programming. Although VOCA is considered federal funding, these dollars are generally managed at the state-level. Throughout 2019, many programs were made aware of potential funding cuts to take place during the 2021 grant cycle. Unfortunately, agencies were unaware of how substantial and extensive those cuts would be, and how huge of an impact it would have on the overall operational capacity of organizations.
As a result of funding cuts, and across the state, various agencies are looking to reduce costs, lay off employees, and alter programming. This means that many essential services provided to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault will be negatively impacted. All VOCA funded programs were cut an average of 30% nationally. Unfortunately, this directly impacts the services provided at Turning Point, as the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant has been one of Turning Point’s most substantial funding sources over the past 40 years. Last fiscal year, Turning Point was awarded $1,667,170.97, compared to this year’s allocation of $994,702.41, equating to just over a 40% cut. With this, the administration over at Turning Point have been tasked with making some very difficult decisions.
What’s Been Accomplished…
Below is a chart illustrating clients served by county during the June 2019 – July 2020 program year.
As you can see from the chart above, domestic violence support services are critical in all (6) of the counties served by Turning Point, and across the nation as well. Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN) found that within the past year there’s been a 33% increase in fatalities related to domestic abuse. Children are present at 18% of domestic abuse fatalities, leading to intense childhood trauma and a heightened risk for behavioral health issues. Additionally, the current COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, while necessary to stop the spread of the virus, has placed many individuals in isolation with their abusers. These cuts will significantly impact the preventative, outreach, and follow-up related services provided in your communities. An inability to provide adequate services to victims of domestic violence will have implications, and consequences that will be seen within our communities. Victims need our support now more than ever.
How you can support?
Over the years, Turning Point has been very successful due to supporters within the community. Our programs have survived shutdowns and recessions in the past, and there is comfort in knowing that during these times we can look upon these same supporters to help us continue our mission of serving victims of domestic violence.
We urge those who support Turning Point’s mission to help in one of three ways:
Reach out to your local representatives to inform them of how critical our services are. Now is the time to act!
Volunteer and/or provide services that help support the organization.
Provide financial support and/or donations to the shelter to help prevent any further reduction in services. To make a donation, please visit turningpoint6.org/donations. If you would prefer to donate by check: Turning Point, PO Box 875, Marion, OH 43301-0875.