April 8, 2008
Jefferson City, Mo. - Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon is again urging Congress and the President to restore federal funding of programs that have been crucial in helping crime victims and law enforcement. Nixon renewed his call in advance of the next week's observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week (April 13-19), which has as its theme, "Justice For Victims, Justice For All."
"This annual event focuses public attention on the need to strengthen and maintain the rights of crime victims on a year-round basis, and not retreat at all from that commitment," Nixon said. "Failing to restore the victim assistance grants under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), as well as other important federal crime-fighting grants, would be a step back in our ability to serve crime victims."
Funding for state VOCA assistance grants is likely to be approximately $81 million less than it was in 2007. Funding for the Edward Byrnes Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrnes/JAG), which is the only source of funding currently available to state and local law enforcement for multi-jurisdictional drug enforcement, has been cut by two-thirds for fiscal year 2008.
Nixon and other Attorneys General have repeatedly urged Congress and President Bush to restore funding for the VOCA and Byrne/JAG grants, and Nixon said his office and other advocates for crime victims must continue to speak with a united voice.
"Such a setback reminds us that on the 28th observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, while we have made tremendous strides, much more needs to be done," Nixon said.
For the 16th year, Nixon will be a featured speaker at ceremonies around the state commemorating National Crime Victims' Rights Week, with appearances in St. Joseph and Jefferson City. He has been a leader in supporting and expanding the rights of crime victims during his more than 20 years of public service, including increasing funding for domestic violence shelters and fighting for the rights of victims to be present during court proceedings.
Nixon's office also offers online resources at ago.mo.gov to notify victims and witnesses of upcoming court proceedings, and free booklets for victims of domestic violence and other crimes that provide information on the judicial process in state and federal court and definitions of court terms.