The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence represents 22 local crime victim service provider agencies supporting survivors in every Iowa county. Intimate partner violence (IPV) remains a preventable but persistent public health problem with epidemic levels of prevalence. ICADV is committed to advancing policies to address the urgent needs of survivors and promoting comprehensive responses to violence and effective solutions for ending and preventing it.
We engage our membership and Iowa communities in advocacy efforts to promote positive public policy change through education and outreach to legislators. We provide input on legislation to Iowa state legislators and to Iowa’s U.S. Congressional delegation. We also comment on government agency policies and participate in working groups addressing issues impacting survivors.
POLICY RESOURCES TO SUPPORT SURVIVIORS
FEDERAL POLICY PRIORITIES
We join the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and state, tribal, and territorial coalitions to support federal funding for victim services and public policies to improve and advance equity in responses to violence, access to services, and prevention efforts across all systems. Each year Iowa victim service provider agencies participate in NNEDV’s Annual Domestic Violence Counts Survey: a one-day, unduplicated count of adults and children seeking domestic violence services in the United States. The most recent Domestic Violence Counts Iowa Report reveals that on a single day in 2022, 1,025 domestic violence victims and their children received essential services. On that same day, 57 requests for services went unmet because of a lack of resources, and 61% of the unmet requests were for housing and emergency shelter. There is an urgent need to increase survivors’ access to vital programs as well as to address current unmet needs.
Iowa’s Victim Assistance section (formerly known as Crime Victim Assistance Division) in the Attorney General’s office administers federal grant funding to states authorized through the federal laws highlighted below. Each year the Victim Assistance section publishes an annual report summarizing the work of Iowa’s publicly funded crime victim service providers.
FAMILY VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND SERVICES ACT (FVPSA)
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), enacted in 1984, is the foundation for our nation’s public health response to gender violence. Federal FVPSA funds to states support essential victim services, including emergency shelter, housing assistance, counseling services, crisis lines, and other vital support services for families impacted by violence. We urge Congress to pass the FVPSA Reauthorization bill (S. 1275), making essential improvements in the law to increase resources and enable crime victim service providers to better support victims of violence. The most recent Domestic Violence Counts Iowa Report reveals that on a single day in 2022, 1,025 domestic violence victims and their children received essential services. On that same day, 57 requests for services went unmet because of a lack of resources, and 61% of the unmet requests were for housing and emergency shelter. There is an urgent need to increase survivors’ access to vital programs as well as to address current unmet needs.
VICTIMS OF CRIME ACT (VOCA)
The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984 created the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), where fines and monetary payments collected from violations of federal law could be deposited so these non-taxpayer funds can be available to support crime victims. VOCA victim assistance grants to states remain the largest source of funding for crime victim services nationwide. Each year, Congress decides the amount of CVF funds to allocate for VOCA victim assistance grants and state grant funds are distributed to local crime victim service provider agencies across Iowa. These grants have enabled Iowa programs to dramatically increase the number of crime victims served, expand access to services in rural and underserved communities, and offer a broad range of effective post-crisis services that support long-term stability for families. In addition to state grants for victim services, federal VOCA funds support state victim compensation programs, victim notification systems, and victim specialists in the US Attorney’s office.
We celebrated the enactment of the “VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act” (VOCA Fix) in July 2021 and appreciated the unanimous support from Iowa’s Congressional delegation. The VOCA Fix law was urgently needed because deposits into the CVF were dangerously low, culminating in catastrophic cuts in federal VOCA victim services grants to states. The new law enables more funds to be available for crime victims in the future and improves long-term stability, however, it will take more time to sufficiently replenish the fund and right now, funds are dangerously low. Congress must find a way to sustain FY24 VOCA funding at last year’s level to prevent a pending near 40% cut. Massive cuts and inconsistent funding do not benefit crime victims or service providers doing their best to provide support.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 provides resources to states and local organizations working to support effective responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. The law includes essential civil rights protections to ensure equal access to services and housing for all survivors. We celebrated the enactment of the VAWA reauthorization bill in 2022, making critical improvements that increase access to safety and justice for all survivors, including immigrant and Native survivors and enhance housing non-discrimination protections.
FEDERAL FUNDING FOR VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE
We join NNEDV in requesting robust federal funding for survivors of violence. Click here to learn more and show your support.
Click here for additional information regarding state and federal funding for survivors of violence.
To learn more about our legislative efforts, contact our director of Public Policy, Laura Hessburg, at 515.244.8028.