April 20, 2006

Crapo and Wasden Work To Help Idaho Crime Victims

Both co-author letters to prevent rescission of Crime Victims Fund

Boise â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo together with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) have authored a bipartisan letter calling on the Senate appropriators to save the Crime Victims Fund from rescission in the FY2007 Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill. â??Money deposited into the Crime Victims Fund comes from fines and forfeitures in federal courts and is allocated out to crime victimsâ?? servicesâ??a total of $3 million in Idaho alone in 2005,â?? said Crapo. â??This money is not taxpayer dollars and should not be moved into the general fund as the Administration has proposed.â??Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has also co-authored and sponsored a letter to the attorneys general of all 50 states and the U.S. territories seeking their support for the continued use of the offender-generated Crime Victims Fund exclusively for the benefit of crime victims. â??The Crime Victims Fund is for the benefit of crime victims and should not be appropriated for any other purpose,â?? Wasden said. â??It is wrong to balance the Federal budget on the backs of Idahoans and other Americans who are innocent victims of crime.â??Money from the Fund helps programs across Idaho and is administered at the state level by the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victims Assistance. Approximately $2 million of it goes for victim assistance and $1 million is spent compensating victims of crime in Idaho. According to Council Executive Director Diane Blumel, forty-eight programs serving over 5,000 victims during 2005 depended on the Crime Victims Fund. â??The programs provided counseling, shelter, support and advocacy for all victims of crime including domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault,â?? said Blumel. â??Outside of the Fund, there are no other funding sources that provide for the scope of services offered at local or state levels. Current fiscal and program restraints at local levels emphasize the critical and essential services that the Fund provides. Creating a fund based on collection of fines and other penalties in our federal criminal system has benefited crime victims through services and compensation. Senator Crapo has long-championed the rights of crime victims, speaking for those who have no other voice. Preventing the rescission of this Fund is a top priority for all who administer victimsâ?? services programs in Idaho.â??The Crime Victims Fund was established by the Victims of Crime Act (P.L. 98-473) in 1984 for crime victims. The money in the fund is supplied by federal criminal fines and forfeitures in federal courts, not taxpayer dollars. In the past two years, the Administration has proposed that the entire balance of the fund, currently over $1 billion dollars, be rescinded and moved to the general fund. # # #