Maximizing the Potential of VOCA Funding for Underserved Survivors
We are at a moment of extraordinary opportunity for victims of crime. In 2015, the federal budget for Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds increased by $1.6 billion—from $745 million to $2.361 billion.1 These funds represent the single largest source of funding for victim services in the United States. An increase of this size is unprecedented for VOCA.
New York, NY—Common Justice, a Vera Institute of Justice demonstration project, today announced that three Los Angeles-based groups—the Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches (LAM), Life After Uncivil Ruthless Acts (L.A.U.R.A.), and The Reverence Project—were awarded new federal victim services funding to increase their capacity to reach underserved African American and Latino survivors of crime. The application for funding was submitted with the support of a collaborative effort by Common Justice, Equal Justice USA (EJUSA), and Californians for Safety and Justice, who have partnered to direct newly increased federal victim services funding to groups working with underserved victims.
Eighteen-year-old Jamel was shot in the leg during a robbery attempt while walking down a main street in Harlem after he refused to give up his $800.00 leather coat to three armed gunmen. He had worked hard and saved for months to buy the coat, and he’d be called a punk if he went home without it, leading to further trouble. He rushed the gunman. One of them shot him in the leg, but he managed to get away as the men opened fire.
New York, NY—The Vera Institute of Justice today announced a first-in-kind learning collaborative for people and organizations working with young men of color who have been harmed by trauma and violence.
Danielle Sered, Director of Common Justice, Vera Institute of Justice With Scott Stossel, The Atlantic With thanks to our underwriters: Open Society Foundation (Founding) The Joyce Foundation (Presenting) Ford Foundation (Supporting) The Annie E. Casey Foundation (Contributing) The Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation (Contributing)
The New Yorker
I grew up around the corner from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington, D.C., which housed the small but remarkable National Museum of Health and Medicine. The musty place hosted a steady rotation of surreal exhibits—conjoined twins in a jar, artifacts of early campaigns to stop sexually transmitted diseases—but the focus was the history of battlefield medicine, which meant, most of all, wartime efforts to treat gunshot casualties.
Toward a Framework for Serving All Survivors of Crime
Our media, our culture, and even some of our statutes continually reinforce the idea that in order to be deserving of care, a victim of crime has to be innocent. Sometimes innocence is tied to some intangible yet narrow notion of purity that our culture uses to assign value and, most often, recognize vulnerability. Sometimes innocence is a matter for the courts, the opposite of legally determined guilt.