The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), enacted in 1994, recognizes the insidious and pervasive nature of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking and supports comprehensive, effective and cost-saving responses to these crimes. VAWA programs, administered by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, give law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and community agencies the tools they need to hold offenders accountable and keep communities safe while supporting victims.
We can’t stress enough how important it is for a groundswell of voices to tell Congress to reauthorize VAWA now. In order to break through the noise, we will have to be strong, loud, persistent and determined.
1. Call your representative today with this message:
“We need the Violence Against Women Act reauthorized now before it expires. Survivors can’t wait for lifesaving responses to sexual assault and communities can’t wait for prevention programs. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has introduced moderate legislation, H.R. 6545, reauthorizing VAWA that both sides can support. Please co-sponsor this legislation today.”
Find your representative here!
2. Tweet at your representatives asking them to co-sponsor VAWA.
See graphics and sample tweets below! Visit this link for twitter handles.
What does this bill do?
Increases authorization for the Rape Prevention & Education Program from $50 million to $150 million to address skyrocketing need and demand for community prevention programs.
Returns sovereignty to tribes to prosecute non-native offenders of sexual assault, trafficking, stalking, and child abuse.
Adds new definitions including Abuse in Later Life; Alternative Justice Response; Digital Services; Forced Marriage; Economic Abuse; and Technological Abuse and updates the definition of domestic violence.
Strengthens public housing protections for survivors including those seeking housing transfers based on safety concerns.
Adds a new purpose to the Improving Criminal Justice Response grant program to implement alternative justice responses that are focused on victim autonomy, agency and safety to provide resolution and restitution for the victim.
Strengthens privacy protections across state lines, online with digital records, and preserves confidentiality upon survivor’s death in accordance with their wishes.
Acknowledges the trauma of incarceration on women and their family members, especially their children, and improves health care services and trauma informed responses to better prepare incarcerated women to return to their communities.
Improves enforcement of current federal domestic violence-related firearms laws and closes loopholes to reduce firearm-involved abuse and intimate partner homicide.
Expands VAWA’s ability to respond to sexual harassment.