News Flash Home
The original item was published from 10/3/2016 3:22:47 PM to 12/10/2016 5:15:03 PM.

News Flash

District Attorney

Posted on: October 3, 2016

[ARCHIVED] DA Stedman and Pa. Sen. Toomey: Crime Victims Need More from $9 Billion Federal Fund


Crime victims in Lancaster County and across Pennsylvania should be getting a bigger slice of the $9 billion currently in a federal account – funds collected specifically for them.

Pa. Sen. Pat Toomey stressed that Monday in Lancaster County, where he joined District Attorney Craig Stedman and leaders of local victim-advocacy groups in a push to pass legislation that would provide a larger, constant funding stream for victim services.

An approximate 6,000 crime victims in Lancaster County, per year, stand to be beneficiaries of increased funding.

The federal Victim Crimes Fund, made up of money paid by convicted defendants, has been used as a “slush fund” rather than helping victims to its full potential, per design, Sen. Toomey said.

Over $2 billion is paid in each year to the fund, but only about $700 million reaches victim services groups, such as child-abuse alliances and domestic-violence shelters.
Toomey’s proposed Fairness for Crime Victims Act would provide those agencies with a more-full share.

“There is resistance from colleagues [in Harrisburg] who would rather have a slush fund available to them,” Sen. Toomey said at the Lancaster County Government Center on North Queen Street.

The payouts, since the Victim Crimes Fund was created in 1984, have been sporadic, varying from year to year.

“We need a constant funding stream,” DA Stedman said, joining Sen. Toomey at the podium. “We can either use taxpayer money, or money from these defendants” to assist victims.

In Lancaster County, the Victim Crimes Fund money goes to victim advocates in Stedman’s office and numerous other agencies, including Domestic Violence Victim Services.

Increased funding could expand staffing and programs at those agencies and others across the state. Those resources are essential to a victim’s recovery.

Victims of crime “are real people and they want to be made whole,” DA Stedman said.

Toomey also was joined by:
- Jennifer Storm, Victim Advocate for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
- Vickie Melvin, of Philadelphia Children’s Alliance
- Kristen Woolley, founder of Turning Point Women's Counseling & Advocacy Center in York
- Diane Moyer, formerly of Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape

Woolley said child victims of sex abuse would greatly benefit from increased funding which would pay for counselors, advocates and other resources.

“Child sexual abuse is a reality; sadly an epidemic,” Woolley said, “and we need to do more about that.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041;; Twitter: @BrettHambright

Facebook Twitter Email