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The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), first authorized in 1984, is the only federal funding source dedicated directly to domestic violence shelters and programs.  After FVPSA expired in 2008,  NNEDV lead the effort with doemstic violence advocates to reauthorize this vital legislation  Congress passed a bill to reauthorize FVPSA as part of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) reauthorization through fiscal year 2015 on November 10, 2010.  The bill was signed into law by the President on December 20, 2010.

FVPSA-funded programs are the foundation of our nation’s response to adult and child victims of domestic violence.  Over 2,000 local domestic violence agencies rely on FVPSA-funding to keep their doors open to hundreds of thousands of victims seeking safety each year.  FVPSA, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds essential services that are at the core of ending domestic violence: emergency shelters, hotlines, counseling and advocacy, and primary and secondary prevention.  A recent multi-state study shows conclusively that the nation’s domestic violence shelters are addressing victims’ urgent and long-term needs and are helping victims protect themselves and their children.

The FVPSA reauthorization of 2010 builds upon the successes of the existing program while making improvements.

Overall, the bill maintains the core work of the FVPSA program, which includes:

  • Formula grants to states to provide shelter and supportive services through subgrants to local domestic violence programs – local programs serve nearly a million adult and child victims annually;
  • National and specialized training and technical assistance resource centers;
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline – often the first call victims make when fleeing a violent home;
  • Grants to State Domestic Violence Coalitions, which act as the information clearinghouses and coordinate state- and territory-wide domestic violence programs, outreach and technical assistance; and
  • A Tribal formula grant program.

Key improvements to the Act include:

  • A distinct definition of dating violence, based on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) definition, to ensure that all victims in danger can access services;
  • An expanded emphasis on prevention, by improving and statutorily defining the DELTA prevention program;
  • A newly authorized program for children who are exposed to domestic violence (the Specialized Services for Abused Parents and their Children program);
  • A formula fix in funding for State Domestic Violence Coalitions to evenly distribute funding to the coalitions in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and American Samoa;
  • Amendments to the state planning process to better involve the State and Territorial Domestic Violence Coalitions in planning and monitoring and to ensure that the needs of underserved populations are assessed and addressed with the participation from community-based organizations whose primary purpose is to provide culturally appropriate services to racial and ethnic minorities and other underserved populations;
  • A broadened definition of eligible entities for subgrants to allow for partnerships between domestic violence programs and community-based organizations with a history of providing culturally appropriate services to underserved populations; and
  • Streamlined and updated language to reflect current and emerging best practice, enhance consistent implementation and monitoring by HHS and Congress, and to make provisions consistent with those of the VAWA 2005.

Please click here for a more detailed analysis of FVPSA.

Why FVPSA Funding Is Critically Needed:

  • FVPSA supports lifesaving emergency shelter, crisis lines, counseling, safety planning, legal assistance and preventative education to millions of adults and children annually.
  • These effective programs save and rebuild lives.  A recently released multi-state study shows conclusively that the nation's domestic violence shelters are addressing both urgent and long-term needs of victims of violence, and are helping victims protect themselves and their children.[1]
  • There is an unconscionable gap between desperate need and available resources. In just one day in 2010, 70,648 victims were served by 1,746 domestic violence programs.  On that same day, however, over 9,500 requests for services when unmet because programs lack the necessary funding resources to meet the victims' needs.[2]

FVPSA has been reauthorized at $175 million.  The President's Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal includes $135 million for FVPSA, a $5 million increase from Fiscal Year 2011.

We urge the U.S. Congress to fund FVPSA at $140 million to meet the growing demand for services.


[1] Lyon, E. & Lane, S. (2009).  Meeting Survivors’ Needs: A Multi-State Study of Domestic Violence Shelter Experiences. National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and University of Connecticut School of Social Work. Found at http://www.vawnet.org.

[2] Domestic Violence Counts 2010: A 24-hour census of domestic violence shelters and services across the United States. National Network to End Domestic Violence (January 2011).