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NPR Article Diverts Listener's Attention Away From Majority of Victims

Considering that the majority of those victimized by violent crime are men, why does National Public Radio turn a story about the Federal Crime Victim's Fund into a story about battered women? (See http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4661887 )

Men are 3.4 times as likely to be murdered than women according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice ( http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/gender.htm ). And although rates for all types of violent crime have dropped significantly in the last decade, men continue to be 38.4% more likely to be victims of violent crime than are women ( http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/tables/vsxtab.htm ).

If NPR must focus on victims of domestic abuse, why do they focus exclusively on female victims when the U.S. Dept. of Justice reports that 834,732 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner, constituting 36% of those so victimized? ( http://ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf )

The article claims, "Money goes to states to help families make up for lost wages or pay hospital bills or funeral expenses." But based on the organization featured in the article, it would appear that funding is going instead to organizations that blatantly discriminate against males, both adult and child. The featured organization is the Family Crisis Center's Prince Georges County "Safe House", which is listed on the DC Housing Network's website ( http://www.headinghome.org/table.html ) as accepting only women and their children, and then only if the children don't happen to be boys over 12.

After discriminatory organizations like that have received their cut, is there any money left to cover the lost wages, hospital bills, and funeral expenses that the program was intended to cover? Are the majority of crime victims, who happen to be male, left unserved while the funding that was intended to compensate them is used by organizations that vilify them? And why does NPR choose to glorify such organizations?

Contact National Public Radio and tell them:

  1. More than three times as many men as women are murdered annually. (U.S. Dept. of Justice http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/gender.htm )
  2. 38.4% more men than women suffer violent crime. (U.S. Dept. of Justice http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/tables/vsxtab.htm )
  3. Even when considering only domestic violence cases, over one-third of those victimized are men. (U.S. Dept. of Justice http://ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf )
  4. By using only battered women to illustrate a story on the Crime Victim's Fund, they've made the majority of victims of violent crime invisible.

Here’s the contact information:

U.S. mail:

Weekend Edition
National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20001-3753


Jeffrey A. Dvorkin
Send comments to Mr. Dvorkin via the webform at:

FAX: 202-513-3329

When you write, be sure to include your name, address, and daytime telephone number.


Bush Plan to Divert Victim Fund Prompts Debate
NPR News
Lisa Nurnberger
Weekend Edition - Sunday, May 22, 2005

Top state prosecutors are concerned that the federal fund to help crime victims is in jepoardy. They're lobbying against a White House proposal to divert the fund's surplus to the general fund where it would help offset the budget deficit. The administration says it's still committed to helping victims of crime. But states worry that the fund for crime victims would be empty in two years. From member station WAMU, Lisa Nurnberger reports:

Congress created the federal crime victim's fund in 1984. President Ronald Reagan had set up a task force that determined that the government wasn't doing enough to help victims. Maryland Attorney General Joseph Curran remembers it this way, "Many times, the victim was an afterthought. It was the state versus the bad guy. The prosecutors were concerned with getting the evidence to convict the defendant, when in fact of course it really was the victim who the state was speaking for."

So Congress created a fund paid for by the criminals themselves in the form of fines and forfeitures. Money goes to states to help families make up for lost wages or pay hospital bills or funeral expenses.

More than 4000 agencies get money for programs such as rape counseling centers and domestic violence shelters. For example, the non-profit Family Crisis Center runs a shelter in Prince Georges County, Maryland. It's called "A Safe House". Barbara Harvard is a counselor. "We have had clients to come in that have been stabbed. I can remember a couple of years ago we had a female that had been stabbed seven times. She came from a hospital. We have had women to come in that have had black eyes, bruises. And then we sometimes have women that are emotionally abused."

On a recent evening, more than two dozen women are staying at the safe house. The women sit around the table for a support group meeting. They're learning how to recognize, and ultimately avoid what's called the cycle of abuse. It begins with tension, leads to violence, and often ends in a honeymoon phase.

"That's when fighting is done. It's blown up. It's blown over. He says he's sorry. Bam! You're having sex. The 'I'm sorry, I'll never do it again.' Could be candy, it could be anything. But it's like the honeymoon phase. It's usually something like that. Luring you back."

Programs such as this one are in danger according to the attorneys general in all 50 states. That's because the president's proposal would move money now designated for the crime victim's fund to the general treasury. Leaving the $1.2 billion fund empty by 2007. Then it would be replenished slowly as criminal fines are collected. States worry that they'd be expected to carry the load in the interim. They wonder whether they'd have to provide extra money during downtime, when collections from fines and forfeitures are low. Acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General Tracey Henke says she can't answer that question. "Well, it would depend on what the president's budget proposes for the next fiscal year. You know, that will have a bearing on what happens. But understand that the funding provided by the Victims of Crime Act under the Crime Victim's Fund supplement state programs. It's not 100% of their funding. It supplements their funding."

But in Maryland, the fund provides $7 million a year. The state kicks in a fraction of that. The White House insists that it's firmly committed to the fund and will always find the money from somewhere to pay for the program.

Henke calls the Bush program more honest accounting because essentially it stops Congress from saying it's setting aside revenue for the Crime Victim's Fund while actually following the common practice of spending the money on other things as it flows into the treasury. "It makes it a more straightforward approach to budgeting, quite honestly. And it in no means is a reflection or should be a concern that individuals have about the committment of this administration as to crime victims." But what the Bush proposal would do is remove the government's promise to spend the fund's surplus at some point on crime victims.

Congressman Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas, calls the Bush plan bureaucratic nonsense. "Many of these agencies are working on a shoestring budget anyway. Most of them will close because they need this money to stay in business. Many of these other funds go to children's assessment centers. These are organizations that help sexually assaulted children cope with the crime and prepare them for trial. Many of them will close their doors. They have become dependent on these funds."

Congressional appropriators will decide whether to accept the president's proposal within the next couple of months.

For NPR News, I'm Lisa Nurnberger in Washington.

Date of RADAR Release: May 30, 2005

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R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org