Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations along with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer held a press conference to introduce the 2018 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
VAWA is set to expire on September 30, 2018. The landmark legislation, enacted in 1994, responds to our nation’s crisis of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Ranking Member Nadler said, “Domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault do not discriminate based on age, sex, income, race, or religion. This reauthorization bill expands the existing protections of VAWA, modernizes and updates its programs, and responds to the needs identified by the survivors and advocates who devote their lives to ending violence. We must do all that we can to ensure VAWA works for every woman, man, or child who may need its protections and that fewer families and individuals experience the trauma of domestic violence and assault.”
Subcommittee Ranking Member Jackson Lee said, “After its initial enactment a quarter-century ago, VAWA—through policy reforms, interstate cooperation and grant allocation—has been pivotal in providing a national response to protecting half of the population. Equally important, it has ushered in a seismic transformation on how society perceives violence against women. The law has enhanced and improved the lives of girls and women, boys and men. It has unquestionably improved the national response to these terrible crimes. Nonetheless, much work remains to address unmet needs and to enhance access to protections and services for all victims, including sexual harassment, sex trafficking and tribal injustices. This is why I am proud to introduce its reauthorization.”
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018 improves current law in several important respects:
- Enhances judicial and law enforcement tools;
- Improves services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
- Provides services, protection, and justice for young victims of violence;
- Reauthorizes and updates the SMART Prevention Program to reduce dating violence, help children exposed to violence, and engage men in preventing violence;
- Expands grants under the Public Health Service Act to support implementation of training programs to improve the capacity of early childhood programs to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking among the families they serve;
- Preserves and expands housing protections for survivors;
- Provides economic security assistance for survivors;
- Helps prevent “intimate partner” homicides;
- Helps protect Native American women, by including provisions to improve the response to missing and murdered Native American women, improving tribal access to federal crime information databases, and reaffirming tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators of violence and assault;
- Protects the Office on Violence Against Women in the Department of Justice from being de-emphasized, merged, or consolidated into any other DOJ office.
VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2018 is supported by the National Task Force To End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF), a large and diverse group of national, tribal, state, territorial, and local organizations, advocates, and individuals that focus on the development, passage and implementation of effective public policy to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
A copy of the bill is available here.
VAWA section by section is available here.
VAWA fact sheet is available here.