Understanding VOCA Funding

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The Office for Victims Programs (OVP) houses a number of programs to support victims of crime. The programs include grant funding for victim service agencies, support for local victim compensation and Victim Assistance and Law Enforcement (VALE) programs, victim rights compliance, supporting statewide anti-human trafficking efforts, and supporting statewide responses to sexual assault.

In 2023, OVP awarded approximately $96,000,000 for a two-year period to roughly 230 organizations supporting nearly 175,000 Colorado victims of crime, which included funding from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). VOCA is supported with federal criminal fines and penalties collected and later awarded to states through statutory-annual distribution.

In August of 2023, the Office for Victims of Crime announced the anticipation of another 45 percent cut in VOCA funds for the federal year 2024 awards, directly jeopardizing Colorado programs tailored to help victims rebuild their lives. In the past several years, VOCA funding steadily decreased from a high of $56.7 million in 2018 to a low of $18.2 million in 2021 due to a lack of deposits into the federal Crime Victim Fund. The fund barely had enough money in the fund to award states at the cap that was set by Congress for Federal FY23.

The staff at OVP and the Board have been working on potential solutions and funding plans for the next funding cycle to try to find ways to mitigate these cuts.  Working in partnership with the three statewide victim service coalitions, OVP was thankfully allocated general fund dollars and ARPA funds by the legislature in the past few legislative sessions to offset the decreasing VOCA funds and grantees were able to receive similar funding to the prior years for the CY23-24 funding cycle.  Grantees were awarded approximately $95.2 million over a two year period.  A 45% reduction would equate to $52.3 million over a two year period.  It has not yet been determined how the cuts will be decided by the Crime Victim Services Advisory Board.

In an effort to illustrate how these cuts might impact various programs and counties within the state, the OVP staff created a one-page factsheets providing data on:

  •  the current programs funded by county, 
  • the number of victims served, 
  • the number of services provided, and 
  • the top three reported victimizations.  

There is also an informational sheet for agencies that provide statewide services, found on the Division of Criminal Justice website and the Office for Victims programs website.  For additional questions regarding these projected reductions or the informational sheets, can contact OVP staff at cvsgrants@state.co.us.

Colorado and many other states are in the midst of a perfect storm for funding to support longstanding and new victim service programs.  With the current state of VOCA funds, ARPA funds ending and crime rates on the rise there is going to be insufficient funding to support victims of crime and we need to find a way to support programs.  This will include more state funding as well as a new solution to stabilize the VOCA fund.

View VOCA Funding Factsheets by county for additional information.