Federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Under Scrutiny by States

Attorneys General nationwide, including Michigan’s, are urging Congress to make changes to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). The Act provides critical financial support to violent crimes victims and their families. 

The effort hopes to redirect fines and fees from corporate deferred and non-prosecution agreements to the fund as well as increase the rate of federal reimbursement to states for victim compensation programs. It also hopes to extend the amount of time VOCA funds can be spent.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “In some instances, crime victims were subjected to a traumatic experience and must recover emotionally or physically, both of which can require treatment from health care professionals and the medical bills that go with it.” 

Michigan has a revamped Crime Victims’ Rights website and uses federal Victims of Crime Act funds to have several victim advocates on staff to support victims through legal proceedings. 

Funding comes from criminal fines, forfeited bail bonds, penalties, and special assessments collected by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, federal courts and the Federal Bureau of Prisons 

Reporting for WGRT – Jennie McClelland