Madison – Today, Governor Tony Evers announced that he would be allocating $45 million for crime victim services and violence prevention efforts, administered by the Department of Justice and the Department of Administration, respectively. This timing is critical, arriving as the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding decreases. VOCA grant recipients face a 30% cut over the next two years, which would be devastating for programs and the critical services they provide for survivors, particularly now, with the COVID-19 pandemic increasing the demand for services. The Governor’s decision today will help stabilize funding for survivor services in Wisconsin.
“WCASA applauds Governor Evers’s decision to allocate $20 million to help support services for survivors in Wisconsin,” said Pennie Meyers, Executive Director of WCASA. “VOCA is a critical source of funding for not only sexual assault services, but also culturally-specific services that are provided to Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) survivors. We were extremely concerned that these services, which were prioritized in the most recent round of VOCA awards, would experience devastating cuts.”
Survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse are experiencing significantly higher amounts of distress and have more complex needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as COVID-19 disproportionately impacted BIPOC people, the pandemic has also inequitably impacted BIPOC survivors.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has isolated many survivors with abusive partners, and it’s more important than ever we ensure they have access to services,” stated Monique Minkens, Executive Director at End Abuse. “We thank Governor Evers for recognizing the disastrous impact that more cuts would have had and for acknowledging that violence in our communities necessitates a commitment to prevention work and a multifaceted approach to addressing violence.”