Tell Congress: Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act
Landmark legislation to prevent and address violence against women is set to expire at the end of this month.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed into law in 1994 and has been reauthorized three times since, but now, not a single Republican has signed on in support of reauthorizing the legislation.1 If Congress doesn't act by Sept. 30, it will jeopardize the crucial services and protections for survivors of violence that VAWA provides.2
Stopping violence should not be a partisan issue. Now that Congress is back is session, we only have a few weeks to reauthorize VAWA. Congress needs to hear loud and clear that this legislation is hugely popular and must be re-authorized before the deadline.
Tell Congress: Reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act
Since VAWA first passed 24 years ago, it has funded prevention programs like the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which has received more than 4 million calls since its launch.3 There has been a massive culture shift toward accountability for perpetrators and away from victim-shaming, but there is still so much work to do. One in four women experience severe intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.4
Survivors often grapple with lasting mental and physical impact as well as heightened economic insecurity. And with guns added to the mix, domestic violence can too often be deadly. Nearly half of the mass shootings in the United States involve intimate partners5 and every 16 hours on average, a woman is killed by a current or former intimate partner with a gun.6
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee introduced the Violence Against Women Act of 2018 in the House of Representatives in July and 154 co-sponsors – all Democrats – have joined her.7,8 The legislation improves upon previous versions and includes these important provisions:9
- Baring evictions of survivors based on the actions of their abusers.
- Prohibiting those who have been convicted of dating violence or stalking from possessing firearms.
- Explicitly acknowledging the concerns of Native American women by improving tribal access to federal crimes databases and affirming tribal criminal jurisdiction in cases even when the assailant is not a member of the tribe.
- Ensuring that technological abuse including online harassment is taken seriously.
- Expanding protections for LGBTQ survivors.
It seems impossible to imagine that just as survivors are feeling safe speaking out and sharing their #MeToo stories, Congress could defund the programs that provide them with support. But Republicans are nothing if not consistently hostile to women. They tried to play games around reauthorization in 2013 because they opposed protections for LGBTQ people, immigrants and Native Americans, but with massive pressure from CREDO members and our allies, Democratic champions gained the bipartisan support they needed to pass VAWA.10 Time is running out again, which is why we need to speak out now to demand immediate support for Rep. Jackson Lee's reauthorization legislation.
Tell Congress: Reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act.
Thanks for taking action.
- Melissa Jeltsen, "Violence Against Women Act Is About To Expire," HuffPost, Aug. 8, 2018.
- Katherine Tully-McManus, "Time Running Out for Violence Against Women Act," Roll Call, July 26, 2018.
- Renée Graham, "The Violence Against Women Act is in peril," The Boston Globe, Aug. 18, 2018.
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, "Statistics," accessed Sept. 7, 2018.
- Jennifer Mascia, "Once Every 16 Hours, an American Woman Is Fatally Shot by a Current or Former Romantic Partner," The Trace, Feb. 9, 2016.
- Jeltsen, "Violence Against Women Act Is About To Expire."
- Graham, "The Violence Against Women Act is in peril."
- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, "H.R.6545 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018," accessed Sept. 7, 2018.
- Ashley Killough, Maeve O'Brien and Dan Scully, "Democrats pitch plan to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act," CNN, July 26, 2018.
photo: Frederic Bass/Getty Images