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Bridging the VOCA Gap
The passage of the VOCA Fix last summer was critical to the long-term solvency of the Crime Victims Fund, the source of funding for VOCA. However, in the short-term, many victim service providers are still facing cuts. In this advochat, attendees will learn about the VOCA gap and its causes. They will also learn how to work together with other victim service providers, with state and local governments, and with their VOCA administrators to secure temporary resources from COVID relief funding to bridge the VOCA gap while the Crime Victims Fund replenishes. Panelists will include Denise Edwards, Director of Government Affairs at the National Children’s Alliance; Janelle Melohn, OVC VOCA Center Director at the National Criminal Justice Association; and Liam Lowney, Executive Director at the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance; the panel will be moderated by Rachel Graber, Director of Public Policy at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

ASL and Spanish Translation Services will be provided for this session.

May 20, 2022 11:30 AM in Mountain Time (US and Canada)

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Janelle Melohn, MPA
Director @OVC Center for Victims of Crime Act
Janelle Melohn serves as director for the OVC Center for Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Administrators, administered through NCJA, overseeing the OVC VOCA Center staff and consultants and serving as the primary liaison with the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The OVC VOCA Center is a national training and technical assistance provider for Victim Assistance and Compensation State Administering Agencies.
Rachel Graber
Director of Public Policy @National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Rachel Graber is the Director of Public Policy at National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), amplifying the voices of victims, survivors and advocates in the nation’s capital. In this position, she has been instrumental in the development and passage of important legislation to protect survivors, to provide services, and to keep firearms out of the hands of abusers. She has both organized and participated in numerous Congressional briefings about the intersection between domestic violence and firearms and is an active participant in many other areas of domestic violence-related and intersectional public policy. She was also one of the primary creative forces behind Disarm Domestic Violence, an interactive website to help survivors, advocates, lawyers, lawmakers, and others understand and use state laws governing firearm possession by respondents to protective orders.
Denise Edwards
Director, Government Affairs @National Children's Alliance
Denise Edwards is director of government affairs for National Children’s Alliance (NCA), the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC). As director of government affairs, Denise develops, coordinates and leads all federal and national legislative and public policy strategies for NCA and its members, including strategies to expand the use and awareness of CACs in the public policy arena. Denise began her Washington career working in the U.S. House of Representatives. Denise is a graduate of Baylor University, with a master’s in Public Policy Administration and a bachelor’s in Business Administration with a focus on financial planning.
Liam Lowney
Executive Director @One Ashburton Place
Liam T. Lowney began working in the field of Victim Services in the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in 1998 as a Victim Witness Advocate advocating for the rights and services for individual crime victims. In January of 2007, Liam was appointed as the Chief of Victim and Witness Services by the Massachusetts Attorney General overseeing the office’s services to crime victims and the Massachusetts Victim Compensation Program. Throughout his career Liam has advocated for policy changes that impact crime victims including gun safety legislation, updates to the victim compensation and assistance statute, and Massachusetts’ first Human Trafficking Law. Upon passage of the Human Trafficking law the Attorney General appointed Liam as the Director of the Human Trafficking Interagency Task Force where he led efforts to meet the needs of survivors. In September 2012, Liam was appointed by the Victim and Witness Assistance Board to lead the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance.