Issue Report ● Human and Civil Rights
For Immediate Release: 
April 5, 2019
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
This week, the House passed the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2019, a five-year reauthorization introduced by Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37), with bipartisan support. The Violence Against Women Act first became law in 1994 and was reauthorized with strong, bipartisan support in 2000, 2005, and 2013. Here’s a look at how the legislation prevents domestic violence and ensures survivors have the resources to recover and seek justice:

The VAWA Reauthorization of 2019 is a five-year reauthorization that strengthens existing law and makes critically important improvements based on feedback from VAWA service providers and program beneficiaries. VAWA 2019:
  • Enhances judicial and law enforcement tools and safeguards the Office on Violence Against Women at the DOJ.
  • Expands STOP grants to include further community resources to respond to incidences of domestic violence.
  • Addresses bullying, supports prevention education for students, and expands training for campus health centers.
  • Updates the SMART Prevention Program to, in part, engage men and boys in preventing violence.
  • Supports training in early childhood programs on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
  • Preserves and expands housing protections for survivors.
  • Reauthorizes the National Resource Center on Workplace Responses, protects employees from being fired because they are survivors, and protects survivors’ eligibility for Unemployment Insurance.
  • Addresses “intimate partner” homicides by prohibiting persons who are convicted of dating violence or misdemeanor stalking, or are subject to ex parte protective orders from possessing firearms.
  • Protects Native American women by improving tribal access to federal crime information databases and reaffirming tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and trafficking for all federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaskan Natives.
Since its enactment nearly 25 years ago, VAWA has historically enjoyed bipartisan support: 
  • 1993 House Passage: 172 Republicans voted YES
  • 1994 House Conference Report Passage: 46 Republicans voted YES
  • 2000 House Reauthorization Passage: 206 Republicans voted YES
  • 2000 House Reauthorization Conference Report Passage: 187 Republicans voted YES
  • 2005 House Reauthorization Passage: 225 Republicans voted YES
  • 2013 House Reauthorization Passage: 87 Republicans voted YES
Advocacy groups voiced strong support of this latest reauthorization of VAWA:

National Task Force To End Sexual And Domestic Violence: “[The] bill makes important investments in prevention, a priority identified not only by people who work with victims and survivors daily but also by the bipartisan Women’s Caucus. Providing resources to implement evidence-based prevention programming makes our communities safer and, ultimately, saves taxpayer money.” [Letter, 3/11/19]

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: “H.R.1585 is a modest reauthorization bill that includes narrowly focused enhancements to address gaps identified by victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence and the people who work on the ground with them every day.” [Blog, 3/27/19]

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs: “VAWA has increased the accessibility of resources for LGBTQ programs, and established opportunities for other programs to… better serve LGBTQ survivors... [The bill] affirms current protections for LGBTQ and other underserved communities...” [Statement, 3/8/19]

NAACP: “This legislation not only gives necessary funding increases to NAACP-supported Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs, but it also makes modest yet vital enhancements to existing law…” [Statement, 3/31/19]

National Hispanic Leadership Agenda and Casa de Esperanza: “Since the enactment of VAWA in 1994, and during each subsequent reauthorization…Congress has continued to support and improve protections for survivors in a bipartisan manner…Therefore, it would not be acceptable to merely maintain the status quo with a straight reauthorization…nor would it be acceptable to try to undermine current protections and reduce access to safety and justice…” [Letter, 1/1/19]

Click here to read the PDF. 

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