Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Contact Your Senators
Urge the Senate to pass its Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill and conference with the House of Representatives which voted in March to approve H.R. 1620. VAWA was last authorized in 2013. The 2021 House bill has bipartisan support and responds to the very real needs of survivors and communities across the country. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic insecurity and many homes are less safe. It is time for significant funding for enhanced prevention programs, as well as expanding services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. It is critically important to address the needs of underserved populations, particularly those in rural communities, survivors with disabilities, Deaf survivors, survivors who are older adults, survivors of sex trafficking, children and youth survivors, and survivors on tribal lands and from culturally specific communities.
Providing resources to implement evidence-based prevention programming makes our communities safer and, ultimately, saves taxpayer money. The House bill safeguards important protections that ensure all victims and survivors are served, and ensures the involvement of state domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions in prevention work in the local community. Prevention education that engages men and boys as allies and promotes healthy relationships is key to reducing gender-based violence.
We urge the Senate to improve access to housing for victims and survivors, and improve the healthcare system’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. The bill must also provide resources to help survivors gain and maintain economic independence, and improve workplace responses to gender-based violence.
Building upon the success of previous reauthorization bills approved by Congress, VAWA 2021 should affirm tribes’ sovereignty to prosecute non-native offenders and provide a mechanism to hold predators who prey on Native women accountable. The House bill ends impunity of non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault, child abuse co-occurring with domestic violence, stalking, sex trafficking, and assaults on tribal law enforcement officers on tribal lands. We urge the Senate to act.
VAWA 2021 must continue to improve the criminal justice system’s ability to keep victims safe and hold perpetrators accountable. Every state has enacted laws making stalking a crime and strengthened criminal rape statutes. VAWA addresses sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking by promoting a coordinated community response in which law enforcement, victim services providers, prosecutors, courts, and others work together in a systemic way. The House bill strengthens these programs and creates trauma-informed victim-centered training for law enforcement demonstration program. It is time for the Senate to act.