News Releases

Senator Murray Announces Over $7 million Federal Grant to Aid Victims of Domestic Violence

Aug 17 2005

VOCA grant will fund domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and other social services for 39,000 crime victims throughout Washington state

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee and a national leader in the prevention of domestic violence, today announced a federal grant of $7.683 million to the Washington Department of Community Trade and Economic Development. The grant is being administered under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), and will include funding for critical social and support services for victims of domestic violence.

"This funding will help our state better respond to the needs of domestic violence victims," Murray said. "It's crucial that we provide the support women and children need to feel safe, to avoid future violence, and to rebuild their lives."

VOCA was passed in 1984 to provide financial assistance and support services to crime victims and their families. The funding for this grant comes from fines, penalty assessments, and bond forfeitures collected from convicted federal offenders – not from tax dollars. The funding is distributed under the U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime, which administers VOCA programs and funding.

The funding will be distributed to community-based organizations in every county in Washington state. This will allow approximately 39,000 crime victims to receive direct services, including:

  • Crisis intervention,

  • Counseling services,

  • Emergency shelters,

  • Criminal justice advocacy, and

  • Emergency transportation.

Senator Murray was a leader in the effort to pass the original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994, also helping write the landmark legislation. She has since used her position on the HELP and Appropriations Committees to help strengthen VAWA, provide funding for critical programs, and raise awareness of domestic violence. She is currently a cosponsor of VAWA reauthorization legislation in the Senate.

"Domestic violence is a threat to every community in our country," Murray said. "I'm proud to provide this funding, and I'll keep fighting to stop these crimes and protect victims."

Two weeks ago, Murray held a roundtable discussion with advocates and victims on domestic violence issues. At that roundtable, she announced that she will introduce the Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act, which will include thirty days of leave to allow victims to address domestic violence and will allow them to collect unemployment insurance if they are fired or have to leave their job because of abuse. The SAFE Act will also prevent insurance discrimination by insurance companies, and will address the punitive elements of the welfare system that penalize victims when they try to flee a dangerous situation.