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N.M. Delegation Welcomes More Than $800,000 to Increase Support for Victims and Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) and Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) announced $821,294 in federal funds to the Crime Victim Reparation Commission of New Mexico (CVRC) to support victims and survivors of violent crime. The funding will be delivered through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault Services Formula Program (SASP), which was reauthorized through the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 (VAWA 2022). 

“One of my first acts as a Senator was to strengthen the Violence Against Women Act and its effectiveness. Using my seat on the Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to continue delivering the resources needed to boost public safety and tackle crime in our state,” said Heinrich. “This investment will help law enforcement officials hold abusers accountable and provide support services for survivors of abuse, sexual assault, and violent crime. I will continue to push for community-driven solutions that address the root causes of violent crime so we can all feel safe in our homes, schools, and neighborhoods.”   

“Empowering local communities and tackling crime is a priority across New Mexico,” said Luján. “I’m proud to welcome this critical investment that will help survivors of violence, and ensure that survivors of sexual assault have the resources and supportive communities around them to allow them to heal, and to empower them into the future. Investments in community-based solutions for local crisis centers, intervention programs, and victims' assistance are crucial to support New Mexicans.”   

"The New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission is grateful for the support from Senator Heinrich and Senator Luján and Representatives Leger Fernández and Melanie Stansbury for their 44% increase in VAWA Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) funding. As most states are preparing for the impending VOCA cuts, this funding to sexual assault service providers in New Mexico, especially rape crisis centers, will ensure they have the necessary tools to respond to sexual violence with best practices that help victims, communities, and service providers attain real and lasting change,” said Frank Zubia, Director of the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission. 

"The New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs extends our sincere thank you to Senator Heinrich and Senator Luján and Representative Leger Fernández and Melanie Stansbury for working to lessen the impact of VOCA cuts on Sexual Assault Service programs in New Mexico. SAS Formula Program funding allows Sexual Assault Service providers across NM, which ranks 7th in rates of sexual violence, to provide comprehensive and meaningful services to survivors.  These services are fundamental in assisting survivors heal from sexual violence that significantly affects their individuals and families' lives.  Senator Heinrich's fight to Provide SAS programs with the critical resources programs need to do essential work will positively impact survivors throughout New Mexico,” said Alexandria TaylorExecutive Director of the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs. 

Throughout their tenure in Congress, the Delegation has fought to strengthen and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. As a United States Representative, Heinrich authored a new provision for the Violence Against Women Act that, for the first time, provided tribal judges jurisdiction over non-Natives in domestic violence cases. A similar provision was included in the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Senator Luján authored the Native Youth and Tribal Officer Protection Act to expand this tribal jurisdiction to violence against children and law enforcement in connection with domestic violence incidents. And Representative Leger Fernández authored two provisions to strengthen VAWA in 2021, focused on suicide prevention and ensuring that VAWA programs and services are provided in a culturally relevant manner.

About the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission (CVRC):   

The New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission (CVRC) is dedicated to providing a variety of services to victims of crime. CVRC was formed in 1981 under the Crime Victims Reparation Act. Their primary mission is to provide financial assistance to victims of violent crime in regard to expenses incurred as a result of being victimized.   

In addition to direct financial assistance for individual victims, CVRC also administers federal funding from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). This funding is distributed to private non-profit and governmental programs throughout the State of New Mexico to improve and expand services to victims of crime. Federal assistance to CVRC is provided by Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants and the Stop Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grants.   

CVRC also provides training and outreach services throughout the state. Every other year ,CVRC hosts a five-day Victim Advocate Training (VAT) session available to victim advocates, and an advanced Victim Advocate Training.  During the spring, CVRC hosts the Annual Advocacy in Action (AIA) Conference.  

About the Sexual Assault Services Formula Grant Program (SASP):    

The Sexual Assault Services Formula Grant Program (SASP) is awarded to states and territories. It assists them in supporting rape crisis centers and other nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations or tribal programs that provide services, direct intervention, and related assistance to victims of sexual assault and their families.   

SASP is the first federal funding stream solely dedicated to the provision of direct intervention and related assistance for victims of sexual assault. Funds provided through SASP are designed to supplement other funding sources directed at addressing sexual assault on the state and territorial level.