Thank you to Governor Hogan for adding $35 million to VOCA funds to head off the pending crisis and close the FY23 gap in victim services funding.
Without this action, rape crisis centers, child advocacy centers, programs helping sex trafficking survivors, domestic violence shelters, and others supporting crime victims across the state would have faced lay-offs, reduced services, or even closure.
Thank you also to our champions in the General Assembly who helped advocate for the additional funding and "fenced off" $20 million to help with this effort. This meant that the Governor could not spend those funds on anything else. The legislature cannot require that the funds be spent, so it was still up to the Governor. We appreciate his choice to stand with survivors. The Governor's decision to add this money to the state budget means he will expend the $20 million of fenced off funding AND add another $15 million for a total of $35 million. This is expected to be enough to prevent all of the looming cuts to services.
This was a group effort supported by many different groups, including MACO, the Maryland State's Attorneys Association, DisabilityRightsMaryland, and MCASA member programs. Special shout out to our sister coalition, Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence. This was their first venture into heavy budget advocacy and their partnership is appreciated.
Thank you to everyone who contacted the Governor and the members of the Maryland General Assembly to advocate for survivors.
You have made a difference in our efforts to end sexual violence in Maryland.
Lisae C. Jordan
Executive Director & Counsel