Updated: Aug 7, 2019
On April 4th, H.R. 1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (VAWA), passed through the House of Representatives with a 263-158 vote! This critical and lifesaving legislation maintains the safety, resources, and protections crucial to all survivors, particularly women of color and other marginalized communities, and makes modest, but vital, improvements. Take this opportunity to urge your Senators pass a substantially similar bill AND support full funding of VAWA .
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019:
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.
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, including across state lines and 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.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.
And those are just the highlights! VAWA 2019 is a win for survivors, as well as the individuals, community organizations, and policymakers who have been fighting hard to expand protections for all survivors, break cycles of violence, and ensure survivors have access to the care and services they need.
The bill is waiting to be taken up by the Senate, and we need to make sure there are no changes that could weaken or defund programs! Let your Senators know how important it is that they pass a substantially similar VAWA Senate bill and fully fund VAWA programs!