Dear Congress[wo]man [Insert name],
I am writing to request that you sign on as a co-sponsor to H.R. 2238, a bill recently introduced by your colleagues Representatives Jim Costa and Ted Poe, co-chairs of the Congressional Crime Victims Caucus. This piece of legislation exempts the Crime Victims Fund from sequestration - and significantly improves our ability to provide critical and life-saving services to victims of crime in Philadelphia.
More than 4,000 agencies rely on Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds to provide services to nearly four million victims. Funding for VOCA comes from fines and penalties collected from offenders, and it is used to support direct services for victims. This is a non-taxpayer fund and does not contribute to the national debt or deficit.
The Office for Victims of Crime indicates that 630,000 fewer victims of crime were assisted in 2012 through VOCA than in 2007. This egregious number notably includes 32,655 victims of child sexual abuse, 36,094 survivors of homicide victims, 32,508 abused elders, and a staggering 176,162 victims of domestic violence who were unable to be served due to declining appropriations, despite a robust VOCA fund.
Since VOCA is not tax-payer funded, and therefore has no impact on the nation's debt, it makes sense to exempt the fund from sequestration in order to preserve critical services that are needed now. Congress has already exempted other, similar types of federal programs funded through special, non-tax funded accounts dedicated for specific purposes. Victim services are certainly entitled to similar treatment.
We strongly encourage you to co-sponsor H.R. 2238 in favor of exempting the Crime Victims Fund from sequestration, and to stand up for the families, individuals and children who have experienced crime in our community.
[Signature of individual or organization.]