Standing Up for Victims' Rights


Protecting victims of crime should be a top priority for legislatures at all levels of government. When I came to Washington in 2005, there was a void in leadership on issues related to crime victims. After speaking with some of my colleagues, I gathered several like-minded representatives together and co-founded the first Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus. This is a bipartisan caucus that seeks to represent crime victims in the United States through legislation that reflects their interests, rights and needs.

Furthermore, the Victims' Rights Caucus is designed to provide an ongoing dialogue between Congress and national victim assistance programs to enhance public education initiatives and communication. This way, our communities can better understand the impact of crime on victims and get involved in crime prevention and victim assistance.

Protecting the Crime Victim's Fund is a top priority of the Caucus. The Crime Victims’ Fund was started in 1984 to support crime victim assistance programs, helping over 3.8 million people each year. The fund also takes the burden off of victims for financial costs associated with crime, such as unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages and funeral costs. Instead of being supported by taxpayer dollars, the fund is sustained through the collection of criminal fines and I want to ensure that it continues to be applied to the people it was meant to help.  In each of the past years I have been in Congress, I led the effort to appropriate funds so that the Violence Against Women Act could be renewed, ensuring that national sexual assault and domestic violence programs have adequate funding to continue their efforts in our communities.

Victims of crime are our sons and daughters, husbands, brothers, wives and mothers struggling to survive in the aftermath of crime and they deserve our help. I pledge to continue my advocacy on behalf of victims as the co-chair of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, enacting compassionate policy and raising awareness of these crucial issues.

More on Standing Up for Victims' Rights

Aug 30, 2019 Press Release

(WASHINGTON) – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), founder and Co-Chair of the Victims’ Rights Caucus, introduced H.R. 4203, Janes Law. This important piece of legislation works to close loopholes that allow individuals to deliberately cross state lines after a divorce or separation in order to avoid paying court-ordered distributions.

Aug 13, 2019 Press Release

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) joined together with 213 Democratic members of Congress in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell demanding he immediately call the Senate back to session to pass H.R.

Aug 5, 2019 Press Release

 (Fresno, CA) - Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement in response to shootings this weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that took the lives of 31 people and injured more than 50 others:

Apr 12, 2019 Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Jim Costa (D-16), co-founder of the Victim’s Rights Caucus, continues his fight for women and victims of domestic violence by voting for the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (VAWA). The landmark 1994 legislation provided protections to all American’s affected from violence and abuse and provided survivors essential services, which are now in jeopardy of being cut.

Dec 20, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives updated and reauthorized funding for programs in the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA) today, including Children’s Advocacy Centers and support organizations. These programs are vital for providing Valley survivors of child abuse the services and justice they need to heal and live healthy, productive, and full lives.

Oct 31, 2018 Press Release

Fresno, CA – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) hosted national, state, and Valley leaders, survivor service providers, law enforcement, and victim advocates at a forum today at Fresno State on serving victims and survivors of violent crime.

Oct 5, 2018 Press Release

Fresno, CA – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) issued the following statement regarding the critical need to better support and secure justice for victims and survivors of sexual assault and other crimes:

May 24, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Chris Coons (Del.), co-chairs of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, and U.S. Representatives Ted Poe (Texas) and Jim Costa (Calif.), co-founders and co-chairs of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, today introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA). The VOCAA provides funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers that serve child victims and help law enforcement hold perpetrators accountable.

Apr 13, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA-16) and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX-2) – co-founders and co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus (VRC) – held the Caucus’s annual awards ceremony honoring individuals for their outstanding efforts and achievements supporting and empowering victims and survivors of crime. Since they founded the VRC in 2005, Costa and Poe have been leading the congressional effort to protect the rights of crime victims and ensure survivors have access to the resources they need for recovery.