On Thursday, July 26, 2018, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) introduced the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for reauthorization (H.R.6545). This legislation provides critical improvements to VAWA which will ensure survivors of domestic violence can access vital resources to heal from trauma and rebuild their lives.
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018 improves current law in several important respects:
- Enhances judicial and law enforcement tools, through reauthorization of the STOP Grants, authorizing the use of stop grants to develop and enforce firearm surrender policies, expand permissible use allowed use of grant funding for programs focused on increasing survivor/law enforcement/community safety, and legal assistance for dependent children in appropriate circumstances.
- Improves services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
- Provides services, protection, and justice for young victims of violence, including extending the Rape Prevention and Education grant program, addressing bullying of young people, improving grants focused on prevention education for students, and expanding relevant training for school-based and campus health centers;
- 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, by reauthorizing the National Resource Center on Workplace Responses, protecting employees from being fired because they are survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence, and protecting survivors’ eligibility to receive Unemployment Insurance;
- Helps prevent “intimate partner” homicides, by including provisions expanding firearms laws to prohibit persons convicted of dating violence from possessing firearms, prohibiting persons convicted of misdemeanor stalking from possessing firearms, and prohibiting individuals subject to ex parte protective orders from possessing firearms;
- 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 domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and trafficking for all federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaskan Natives;
- Protects the Office on Violence Against Women in the Department of Justice from being de-emphasized, merged, or consolidated into any other DOJ office.
WomenRising is encouraging all residents to call their representatives to urge them to support and co-sponsor VAWA reauthorization. Click here to find access to your congressional district's representative.