For Immediate Release: September 15, 2021
Contact on behalf of Alliance for Safety and Justice: [email protected]
Alliance for Safety and Justice Applauds House Committee Action to Support Crime Victims, Improve Community Safety
Major milestone towards providing more support for crime victims passes two key House Committees; funding would ensure help for victims and communities through violence intervention programs
Alliance for Safety and Justice urges full House support and swift Senate action
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) applauds the movement of key community violence intervention (CVI) funding through two key United States House of Representatives committees. Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed its provisions of the Build Back Better Act, including $2.5 billion in funding for CVI. The legislation’s subtitle containing CVI funding passed on a vote of 31-27. The House Judiciary Committee also passed budget reconciliation legislation on September 13 containing an additional $2.5 billion in CVI funding on a vote of 25-19.
These investments reflect transformative progress towards ensuring our communities have the resources needed to address and prevent crime and interrupt cycles of trauma and violence. ASJ strongly urges the full House of Representatives, and subsequently the U.S. Senate, to pass these crucial funding provisions and ensure they maintain a public health frame.
“This historic federal investment in comprehensive community-based, trauma-informed services for people who are victims of crime and their communities reflects a major turning point in our nation’s response to the prevention of violence and crime,” said Aswad Thomas, Alliance for Safety and Justice’s Chief of Organizing and the National Director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “Now is the time to make this investment, ensuring that community-based organizations are leading the effort to interrupt the spread and continuation of violence, including through support for hospital-based violence intervention services, trauma recovery centers, and other evidence-informed programs.”
During the budget reconciliation process, ASJ has advocated to ensure support for crime victims, particularly those who have historically been underserved, is included in the final legislative package. Supporting crime victims is key to stopping cycles of violence, yet existing services consistently fail to provide most victims with the assistance they need. As a result, Americans most harmed by violence are persistently the least helped. For example, research from the Bureau of Justice Statistics has documented that while young Black men who live in urban areas are at higher risk of violent victimization than any other population in the United States, they are the least likely group to have access to services.
CVI funds can be used to expand trauma recovery centers (TRCs), which provide comprehensive services and assistance to people who have experienced violent crime. TRCs remove barriers to health and stability, healing communities and interrupting cycles of violence. Services offered by TRCs include trauma-informed clinical case management; evidence-based individual, group and family psychotherapy; crisis intervention; medication management; and legal advocacy and assistance in filing police reports and accessing victim compensation funds. Importantly, these services are offered at no cost to the patient and are not dependent on a patient’s interactions with the criminal justice system.
ASJ especially thanks Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman (NJ-12), as well as their colleagues Rep. Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), Rep. Gwen Moore (WI-04), Rep. Jamaal Bowman Ed.D. (NY-16), Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37), Rep. James P. McGovern (MA-02), and Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS-02). These members sent a letter to Democratic House and Senate leadership urging inclusion of robust community and trauma-informed violence intervention funding in the reconciliation package.