Attorney General Morrisey Joins Coalition in Support of Helping Victim of Crime

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged Congress to secure funding of support and services for victims and survivors of crime. 

   West Virginia, along with attorneys general of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories, urged Congress to consider amendments to the Victims of Crime Act. The bipartisan coalition expressed concern with decreasing amounts in the fund.

   “The balance and financial health of the Fund is in jeopardy,” Attorney General Morrisey joined in writing. “Any decrease in the funds available for distribution results in a decrease in the number of victims and survivors that are served as well as the potential loss of essential staff for victim service programs.”

   The Crime Victims Fund, established by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), is the main source of funding for victim services in the U.S. and its territories. It is comprised of criminal fines, forfeited bail bonds, penalties and special assessments collected by the courts.

   Since its creation, the fund has covered the expenses of vital, direct services and support for victims and survivors following a crime, including medical care, mental health counseling, lost wages, courtroom advocacy and temporary housing. 

   The fund also provides support for initiatives that benefit victims of crime, including federal, state and tribal victim service programs, crime victim compensation, discretionary grant awards, victim specialists in U.S. Attorneys’ and FBI offices and the federal victim notification system.

   West Virginia joined the Massachusetts- and Montana-led letter with attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.