Scott Perry legislation would put end to using crime victims fund for other projects

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York, PA –U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (PA-4) today unveiled bipartisan legislation to ensure the Crime Victims Fund is used only to assist crime victims, rather than paying for unrelated federal projects.

Congress created the Crime Victims Fund in 1984, based on a simple idea: Money collected by the federal government from those who commit crimes should be used to help those victimized by crime. Each year, criminal fines and penalties collected by the federal government are deposited into the Fund to pay for other government spending. The Fairness for Crime Victims Act (H.R. 275), introduced with Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA-13), ends that practice.

Since 2000, Washington has diverted billions of dollars that, under federal law, must go to victims of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes. Congress uses this money to fund other federal programs — despite the fact that federal law says money deposited into the Crime Victims Fund may be used only to assist crime victims. Through a budget gimmick, Congress claims that the money already spent is still in the Fund and available for victims. For example, from Fiscal Year 2010 through 2014, the Fund collected $12 billion, but gave only $3.6 billion, or 30 percent, to victims. H.R. 275 would require the Fund, which receives no taxpayer dollars, to disburse what it brings in each year to crime victims.

“You know Washington has a spending problem when it’s willing to steal money from victims of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes to keep the funds flowing,” said Rep. Perry (PA-4).

Rep. Perry is a member of the House Victim Rights Caucus and has voted for legislation to support sexual assault victims and give local law enforcement the tools they need to assist victims. These efforts increased funding for programs aimed at preventing sexual assault and help survivors find justice, including the Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecutions programs.

“In 2013, we provided services to 386 child victims and their families. In 2016, we provided services to 816 children and their families – that’s more than double the number of victims in three years’ time,” said Deborah Harrison, Executive Director of the York County Children’s Advocacy Center. “The unmet need for victim services is huge and it makes no sense to have restricted funds available and not have them accessible to the organizations that provide such needed services.”

SOURCE: U.S. Rep. Scott Perry press release

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