January 19, 2022 | Priya Elangovan

UPDATE (March 14, 2022): VAWA reauthorization passed as part of the omnibus government funding bill last week. See the final version of the bill in this summary from the sponsoring Senators.

Today is a National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Day of Action on VAWA. As a reminder, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was a landmark piece of bipartisan legislation signed into law in 1994 that provides funding and resources into the prevention of sexual violence against women. The bill was reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and 2013, but expired in 2019. The House of Representatives passed a new version of VAWA in April 2019, but that bill stalled in the Senate. After three years of negotiations, a bipartisan group of Senators (Democrats Dick Durbin and Dianne Feinstein, and Republicans Joni Ernst and Lisa Murkowski) have reached a deal on a framework to reauthorize VAWA and plan to introduce the bill this month. This push comes after a rise in domestic violence cases during the COVID pandemic. The reauthorization and associated funding will be extended until 2027 if the bill passes.

The new reauthorization framework for VAWA includes:

  • Funding to strengthen rape prevention and education efforts, as well as services and protections for young survivors
  • Expanded access to emergency housing support for survivors
  • Expands programs that provide VAWA protections to reach survivors in rural areas, survivors that require “culturally specific services” and LGBT survivors
  • Expands criminal jurisdiction to tribal courts to cover non-Native perpetrators of sexual violence and related offenses that are committed against Native women and occur on tribal lands
  • Improves response to sexual violence including grants for training forensic examiners
  • Provides support for legal services funding and trauma-informed law enforcement responses

You can learn more about the bill in this summary from the sponsoring Senators.

How to take Action:

Check out more of AIT’s legislation breakdowns here. And you can learn more about VAWA and recent advocacy by checking out our webinars on Advocating for Survivors During COVID and Advocating For Survivors from the last round of Violence Against Women Act negotiations in 2019.