The second legislative session is back in full swing, and I am excited about the work I’ll conduct as senate chair of the Judiciary Committee this year. A large focus of my work this session is addressing the shortfall in the funding Maine receives through the federal formula-based Victims of Crime Act.

Anne Carney Joe Phelan photo/Kennebec Journal

The Victims of Crime Act. is a federal program that helps to fund a broad range of services for crime victims and survivors in Maine. The act funds support of Maine’s Children’s Advocacy centers, which work with child victims of sexual abuse, and our Victim Witness Advocate programs, which provide support in court and beyond for the families of homicide victims. The funds also help Mainers access critical civil legal protections for survivors of abuse and violence through Pine Tree Legal Assistance and Legal Services for the Elderly. Suffice to say that these services are essential to crime prevention, to Maine’s civil and criminal justice systems, as well as to the individuals and families who need these services to receive justice and recover from trauma.

As a volunteer lawyer, I provided pro-bono legal representation with Pine Tree Legal Assistance for eight years. I saw first-hand how essential the Victims of Crime Act is for the countless Mainers and their families as they recover from personal tragedy and require the assistance made possible by the act’s funds. Imagining these victims of domestic, child sexual abuse and elder abuse without the legal assistance provided by Pine Tree Legal and Maine’s network of service providers causes me great concern.

This session I am honored to be working with this network of service providers and a bipartisan group of legislators to seek state solutions to the shortfall in federal funding, while also advocating for restoration of federal funds. Federal funding for the Victims of Crime Act. has decreased dramatically over the past five years, and Maine is projected to see $5 million shortfall in the upcoming federal fiscal year.

Mainers rely on these services – many of these dedicated service providers responded to the Lewiston mass shooting and continue to work at the Maine Resiliency Center in Lewiston. That’s why we’re taking an “all hands on deck” approach to avoid cuts to these essential services this legislative session.

LD 2084, “An Act to Provide Funding for Essential Services for Victims of Crimes,” proposes to allocate $6 million in ongoing funding for crime victim services typically funded through the Victims of Crime Act program while solutions to the federal funding issue are sought. The funds will go toward a variety of resources, including Maine’s Sexual Assault Support Centers, Victim Witness Advocates, Domestic Violence Resource Centers, Human Trafficking Shelter & Fund, Legal Services for the Elderly, Elder Abuse Institute of Maine as well as the Children’s Advocacy Center’s. These are just a few of the Victims of Crime Act-funded programs LD 2084 aims to protect.

On Tuesday, Jan. 23, there will be a public hearing on LD 2084 at 1 p.m. before the Judiciary Committee at the State House. Public participation is a crucial part of the legislative process in Maine. If you would like to offer written or live testimony on this or any legislation, please visit You are able to testify in person, in writing or over Zoom.

Anne Carney represents Maine Senate District 29, which consists of Cape Elizabeth, South Portland and part of Scarborough. She can be reached at 207-287-1515 or

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