The landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has helped millions of survivors since it was first enacted in 1994, but it has yet to be reauthorized by Congress.
VAWA transformed our nation’s approach to gender-based violence.
VAWA made violent crimes against women a federal priority for the first time in history, transforming our nation’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking and serving as a model for the world. Every five years, VAWA must be reauthorized by Congress. This means that as of September 30, 2018, we are operating without an updated Violence Against Women Act.
Why We Need VAWA:
- It provides survivors with essential help, including legal assistance, healthcare, housing, or counseling.
- It has pushed diverse agencies and institutions—such as advocates, police, prosecutors, judges, health care providers and survivors—to work together to address and prevent violence.
- It has been a lifeline for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, covering everything from law enforcement training for working with rape victims, to visas for immigrant women to flee their abusers, to nondiscrimination protections for LGBT survivors of violence, to protections for Native American women victims of violence
Here’s what you can say:
In April 2019, the House passed H.R. 1585 , a strong bill that will reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act. This legislation has bipartisan support and was tirelessly crafted based on the real experiences of survivors, service providers, and women’s rights advocates across the country. We must take action to pass this legislation in the Senate NOW. With each passing day, we are missing a key opportunity to strengthen the programs that serve survivors and prevent violence against women and girls.
Will you commit to supporting a strong VAWA in the Senate that mirrors H.R. 1585?
What a newly authorized VAWA will do:
- Strengthen protections for Native women by returning sovereignty to tribes to prosecute non-native offenders of sexual assault, trafficking, stalking, and child abuse.
- Enhance the housing transfer process for those who need to move based on safety concerns.
- Increase funding for the Rape Prevention & Education Program from $50 million to $150 million in response to increased demand for such programs.
- Add sexual harassment to the “Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence: A National Resource Center,” which provides tools, resources and training to employers.
- Include options for alternatives to incarceration to be funded under the Improving Criminal Justice Response grant program, which focus on victim autonomy, agency and safety to provide resolution and restitution for the victim.
- Improve enforcement of current federal domestic violence-related firearms laws by prohibiting persons convicted of stalking from possessing firearms. It also calls for notifying state and local law enforcement when an abuser fails a background check.
There’s more you can do. Did you know the NRA Opposed VAWA’s passage in the House?
Every month in the U.S., an average of 50 women are shot to death by an intimate partner. Yet the NRA is coming out in full force to block passage of the historically bipartisan Violence Against Women Act because it will strengthen laws preventing convicted domestic violence abusers and stalkers from possessing firearms.
Thank the House Reps who stood up to the NRA and call out those who didn’t!
In defiance of the NRA’s last-minute bullying tactics, the House went ahead and passed a strong VAWA reauthorization (H.R. 1585) on April 4th. H.R. 1585 will fund vital anti-violence programs and close loopholes in our current laws that allow abusers to keep their guns. It’s critical that we thank the 33 Republicans and the 230 Democrats who stood united against the NRA and prioritized women’s safety over politics.
It’s equally important that we send a clear message to opponents: we won’t let a vote against VAWA stand–especially not in the next election. We are tracking the 157 Republicans and one Democrat who voted down the Violence Against Women Act. This includes two of our New York State Reps: Elise Stefanik and Chris Collins. It’s vital that they hear your opposition.
Here’s what you can say:
If they voted YES:
Thank you for voting yes on H.R. 1585 , and for standing with survivors and women’s rights advocates across the country. I know that H.R. 1585 includes critical protections for LGBT people and Native American survivors of violence as well as provisions that would prevent violent offenders’ access to firearms, and so I thank you for prioritizing these issues.
If they voted NO:
I am a constituent living in your district. I see that you voted NO on H.R. 1585, and am wondering why you’ve decided to stand in opposition to survivors and women’s rights advocates across the country. I know that H.R. 1585 includes critical protections for LGBT people and Native American survivors of violence as well as provisions that would prevent violent offenders’ access to firearms. Do these issues matter to you?