UPDATE (11/10/19): After months of negotiations in the Senate, talks to reauthorize the VAWA have stalled. It is time fo the Senate to reauthorize funding for this critical program.
UPDATE (04/04/19): The House has passed the Violence Against Women Act in a 263-158 vote. The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), landmark legislation first passed with bipartisan support in 1994, had its funding expire on February 15th after Congress failed to include it in the compromise federal spending bill passed the day before. The VAWA was initially set to expire in September of 2018, however Congress approved short-term stopgap funding legislation while negotiations continued.
The act establishes and funds the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women and provides funding for the investigation and prosecution of domestic and other interpersonal violence, stalking, and sexual assault. On March 7th of 2019, House Democrats introduced a reauthorization bill, H.R. 1585 that would not only reauthorize funding for VAWA’s existing programs but also establish new policies to help abuse victims remain in stable housing, expand red-flag laws to block people convicted of dating abuse or stalking from accessing guns, and broaden protections against abuse for Native American women.
Congress must act quickly to restore funding for crucial programs while also modernizing the legislation to be more inclusionary and expansive of protections.