Press Releases

Washington—Yesterday, 740 organizations working to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking called on the Senate to pass the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act.

The bill, introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act through 2027, preserving advancements made in previous reauthorizations and adding a number of additional improvements to the current law.

“VAWA’s current authorization expired in 2018, more than two years before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the organizations wrote. “COVID-19 has exacerbated barriers for survivors, leaving vital programs that serve survivors in critical need of additional resources. Now, more than ever, we are counting on the Senate to address the dire and evolving needs of survivors. We urge the Senate to recognize how important this bill is to their constituents by swiftly passing the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 to ensure survivors have access to the multitude of resources and options they need to protect themselves and their children and seek healing in these unprecedented times and beyond.”

Full text of the letter is available here and follows:

March 2, 2022

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Joni Ernst
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Richard Durbin
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski
United States Senate 
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senators Feinstein, Ernst, Durbin, and Murkowski:

The 740 undersigned local, state, territorial, national, international and tribal organizations working to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking commend your leadership in introducing S. 3623, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022, and offer our strong support of the bill. First enacted in 1994, VAWA creates and supports comprehensive, cost-effective responses to gender-based violence. We thank you all for your commitment to survivors and urge you to swiftly pass the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022.

S. 3623 builds upon the House companion bill H.R. 1620 and maintains existing protections, as well as expands VAWA to address persistent gaps in the current law. Despite being narrower in some respects than the House bill, this survivor-centered legislation remains groundbreaking in many ways, and we believe it can win bipartisan passage in the Senate. The bill includes many historic victories that will prevent violence and increase access to services, safety, and justice by responding to contemporary challenges with real-world solutions. The legislation creates community pathways to justice; augments programs for rural survivors; reaffirms Tribal Nations’ jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators of child violence, sexual violence, sex trafficking, stalking, crimes against tribal law enforcement and correctional officers, and obstruction of justice; establishes a pilot project that will allow a limited number of Alaska Native Villages to exercise special criminal jurisdiction over certain covered crimes; increases resources for Tribal Nations exercising Special Tribal Criminal Jurisdiction; creates a reimbursement program for tribal costs; enhances implementation and enforcement of VAWA’s existing housing provisions and expands access to temporary and emergency housing; increases access for culturally specific communities; increases resources for prevention; provides tools to ensure adjudicated abusers who are prohibited from possessing firearms do not obtain new ones; maintains vital non-discrimination protections; includes a new LGBTQ+ grant program; expands access to and training for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs); and continues to invest in lifesaving and healing services. 

VAWA’s current authorization expired in 2018, more than two years before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has exacerbated barriers for survivors, leaving vital programs that serve survivors in critical need of additional resources. Now, more than ever, we are counting on the Senate to address the dire and evolving needs of survivors. We urge the Senate to recognize how important this bill is to their constituents by swiftly passing the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 to ensure survivors have access to the multitude of resources and options they need to protect themselves and their children and seek healing in these unprecedented times and beyond.

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