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

Apr 21, 2020 Press Release

(FRESNO) – In support of 2020 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) introduced a resolution recognizing the vital needs of crime victims and survivors across the country and throughout the world.  The 2020 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week theme— “Seek Justice | Ensure Victims’ Rights | Inspire Hope” – emphasizes how victim service providers and others can help all survivors in the aftermath of criminal victimization.

Nov 19, 2019 In The News

Congressman Jim Costa has hit out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over his failure to impose stricter gun control laws following a shooting in his California constituency of Fresno which left four people dead.

McConnell is once again receiving backlash in the wake of another mass shooting in the country after he blocked a Senate vote passed by the House in February which would require full background checks on all people trying to purchase a firearm.

Nov 18, 2019 Press Release

(WASHINGTON) – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement about the overnight shooting in Fresno, California that left 4 people dead and injured 6 others: 

Nov 15, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC —  Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), Co-founder and Chair of the Crime Survivors and Justice Caucus, joined fellow caucus Co-Chairs, Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) and Rep. Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) to launch the Alliance to End Human Trafficking, a group of survivors, victim advocates and non-profit organizations committed to raising awareness, educating the public and providing resources to fight this modern-day slavery.

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.