July 26, 2018 – Today on Capitol Hill, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) introduced the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for reauthorization (H.R.6545). This legislation provides critical improvements to VAWA that would ensure survivors can access vital resources to heal from trauma and rebuild their lives. We commend Congresswoman Jackson Lee’s leadership and her dedication to championing the needs of survivors.
“The Violence Against Women Act has been a game-changer for victims of domestic violence and should be swiftly reauthorized,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of NNEDV. “These proposed improvements will save even more lives and help countless survivors access the resource they need to stay safe.”
Since its original passage in 1994, VAWA has provided crucial resources for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. With each reauthorization, this landmark legislation has been reshaped to better address the needs of survivors and their families. The 2018 bill reaffirms this commitment and makes much needed improvements to the current law, including increased funding for rape prevention education, improving healthcare responses, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and extending financial support services to victims and survivors. Additionally, this legislation provides needed housing protections for victims, and recognizes the sovereignty of Native tribes to prosecute non-Native offenders of sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking, and stalking.
“This bill will take crucial steps towards ending the crisis of homelessness among domestic violence survivors, and give them the opportunity to decide the best way forward for themselves and their families,” said Gandy. The proposed legislation reauthorizing VAWA would prevent survivors from being evicted or denied housing based on the criminal activity of their abusers. These provisions also prohibit housing discrimination, enables survivors to maintain safe housing through emergency transfers and vouchers, and guarantees survivors the right to seek emergency assistance (e.g. calling 911) without retaliation.
The NNEDV is proud to support this bill, as it closes longstanding loopholes and focuses on the needs of survivors. NNEDV and our 56 state and territory coalitions are urging their Members of Congress to co-sponsor the bill, and support passage before current provisions expire on September 30.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), a non-profit charitable organization, is a leading voice for domestic violence victims and their advocates. NNEDV members include the state and territorial coalitions against domestic violence, which include more than 2,000 local programs and serve millions of victims each year. NNEDV has been a premiere national organization advancing the movement against domestic violence for over 25 years, having led efforts to pass the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and to reauthorize and strengthen countless laws and regulations to increase safety and end violence. To learn more about NNEDV, please visit NNEDV.org.