Four members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation to the United States House of Representatives and Senate announced more than $800,000 in federal funs to help support victims and survivors of violent crime Tuesday.
U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján and U.S. Reps. Teresa Leger Fernández and Melanie Stansbury announced $821,294 in federal funds to the Crime Victim Reparation Commission of New Mexico. The funding will be delivered through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault Services Formula Program, which was reauthorized through the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 (VAWA 2022).
Throughout their tenure in Congress, the delegation has worked 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 provided tribal judges jurisdiction over non-Natives in domestic violence cases.
“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,” Heinrich said. “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.”
Luján authored the Native Youth and Tribal Officer Protection Act, which expands tribal jurisdiction to violence against children and law enforcement in connection with domestic violence incidents.
“Empowering local communities and tackling crime is a priority across New Mexico,” Luján said. “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.”
Leger Fernández authored two provisions to strengthen VAWA in 2021 that were focused on suicide prevention and ensuring VAWA programs and services are provided in a culturally relevant manner.
“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.