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. The reauthorization protects vital funding and civil rights protections for survivors written into the law. It also allows for essential updates that incorporate new, evidence-based approaches to ending violence and address shifting priorities on-the-ground.
Defending VAWA & amplifying survivor voices.
When we organized Women’s Town Halls across New York State to provide a platform for women to speak out, we heard from all of you loud and clear. Women survivors of sexual and domestic violence joined us to tell their stories. The result? Powerful testimony from over 75 organizations and survivors of violence to make an undeniable case for preserving VAWA. Hear the stories and learn how you can take action to defend VAWA today.
Why We Need VAWA
- Because of VAWA, millions of survivors of violence have been able to receive essential help, including legal assistance, healthcare, housing, or counseling they needed to heal, restore their families, ensure their health and economic security, and move forward with their lives.
- Funding to stop violence against women has been invested in every state and territory in the nation as well as the majority of federally recognized tribes. VAWA’s coordinated community response 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.
- VAWA 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.
Thirty years ago, I did not have the benefit that my fellow survivors have now of campus education, of rape kits. We need this funding to educate people. We need the campus education programs to keep going. We need the support services that I didn’t have.”
At a time when more survivors of violence are speaking out than ever before, we need to preserve the protections and vital services of VAWA. There are genuine concerns that the issue of violence against women will be diminished on Trump’s watch. We can’t let this happen. VAWA has been a lifeline for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, or any form of gender-based violence, sharing your story can be a powerful tool for change. We are collecting survivor stories to demonstrate the critical need for a strong Violence Against Women Act; to push for policy reforms at the local and national levels; and to advocate for the cultural change catalyzed by #MeToo.