We secured $40 million in state dollars to meet the federal funding shortly, helping 96,000 victims.
This year, the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) awarded our Executive Director, Tom King, with the Gerard D. Downing Leadership Award for his involvement with the Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) advocacy campaign.
“Tom has been a tireless advocate for proper funding,” then-Attorney General Maura Healey said. “When we were facing expected cuts to the VOCA grants, it was Tom who spearheaded a programmatic response to support the legislative advocacy work needed to bring attention to the impact these cuts would have on victims and survivors.”
We secured $40 million in state dollars to meet the federal funding shortfall. VOCA funding in Massachusetts supports 161 victim service programs throughout all counties in the Commonwealth. In FY21, over 96,000 victims were served — the highest record in agency history.
Victims who are receiving services and support include:
- Domestic and family violence
- Victims of physical assault
- Child sexual abuse and assault
- Adult sexual assault
- Child physical abuse or neglect
- Survivors of homicide
- Human trafficking
- Victims of other crimes
“I am so completely honored and humbled to be the recipient of the Gerard D. Downing Award this year from the Mass Office for Victim Assistance,” Tom said. Tom knows about the work of both the former district attorney of Berkshire County and his son Ben Downing, which makes this honor particularly meaningful to him.
“This is not an award one gets by working in a vacuum. Massachusetts Children’s Alliance is a coalition of the twelve Children’s Advocacy Centers across the state,” Tom added. “I have the extreme privilege of elevating the work and speaking of the work of those multidisciplinary teams partners throughout the state, so that no matter if a child is coming from Pittsfield or Provincetown, the response that children get in Massachusetts after a horrible event is met with compassion and skill…Victim witness advocates play a critical role in making sure that those families can navigate the court system and be connected with critical services in the community.
“It has been an incredible privilege to see how our work has expanded to children who are trafficked for the gain of adults and to help those children come back into society and to give them the support they need. That important work is supported by Victim of Crime Act money, and we are ever advocating at the State House to ensure that critical funding is supported and there for when our most vulnerable citizens need to access it.”
To view the full virtual award presentation, click here.