For Immediate Release
Contact: Joseph Kosten: 202.467.8751, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC-- The National Center for Victims of Crime applauds President Obama’s announcement today of his plan to protect our schools and communities from gun violence. We urge Congress to pass legislation to prevent anyone with a criminal background or severe mental health problems from having access to guns. We also ask Congress to ensure that mental health services are available to all those who need them.
The President made his announcement alongside the parents and families of the children and teachers killed in Newtown, Connecticut, last month. He and Vice President Biden paid tribute to the courage and grace of these families amidst overwhelming sadness and loss.
Today, these survivors need the nation’s support; in the weeks, months, and years to come, they will need counseling, mental health services, financial support, and other vital services. And so will the family members and loved ones of the more than 900 victims of gun violence that have occurred since this tragedy. We believe that all Americans want our nation to meet these needs.
We also believe that Congress should support these and other crucial victim services by releasing more resources from the federal VOCA (Crime Victim) Fund, which is funded completely by federal fines, forfeitures, assessments, and penalties—rather than tax revenues—to support crime victim compensation and other programs for victims.
Several years ago, Congress imposed a cap on the dollar amount that can be released to the states from the Fund each year. Despite the steady growth of the Fund, Congress often hesitates to release the level of funds needed to better meet victims’ needs. We are asking Congress to release $1 billion in 2013 to increase support for victims; doing so would signal the nation’s commitment to all who are harmed by crime.
For comment from the National Center, please contact Joseph Kosten, 202.467.8751
The National Center for Victims of Crime, established in 1985, is the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. For more than 25 years, the National Center has led this nation’s struggle to provide crime victims with the rights, protections, and services they need to rebuild their lives.