More funding is coming to Vermont to help victims of crime and their families.
The funding increase was announced as part of a press event in Montpelier Friday that included representatives from the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services and Senator Patrick Leahy.
Senator Leahy (D – Vermont) says he helped raise the federal cap on the crime victims fund three-fold.
Congress raised the cap to more than $3 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Vermont will now be able to fund a new legal services network and toll-free hotline using $500,000 in new Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA, funding.
The money will also be used to provide new services at the Vermont Child Advocacy Centers, and create new victims services positions at organizations and agencies across the state, including a Director of Victim Services at the Vermont State Police Major Crimes Unit and a full-time Clinical Coordinator for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.
“It’s not enough as I saw so often as a prosecutor when you have somebody who has been badly damaged or killed to say ‘if only we had known,’” said Leahy. “What you’re doing is to make sure we know.”
According to state officials, more than 12,000 crime victims received crime-related services 39,405 times with VOCA Assistance funding last year in Vermont.
The parents of Laura Winterbottom spoke at Friday’s press event. Winterbottom was killed and sexually assaulted in Burlington in 2005.
Judy Rex was also honored for her decades of work advocating for victims of crime.