Family Violence Prevention & Services Act
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) supports lifesaving services including emergency shelters, crisis hotlines, counseling, and programs for underserved communities throughout the United States, American Indian and Alaska Native communities, and territories. First authorized in 1984 and administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, FVPSA is the only federal funding source dedicated to domestic violence shelters and programs.
Over 1,500 local domestic violence agencies rely on FVPSA-funding to keep their doors open to more than 1.3 million victims seeking safety each year. A multi-state study, funded by the National Institute of Justice, shows conclusively that the nation’s domestic violence shelters are addressing both the urgent safety needs of victims and their long-term needs, including economic stability. NNEDV’s Domestic Violence Counts Census reports that on just one day in 2018, 74,823 domestic violence victims and their children received essential services ranging from shelter to counseling to medical advocacy.
However, on that same day, 9,183 requests for services went unmet due to lack of resources. Despite FVPSA’s great promise, it is clear that community-based domestic violence programs cannot meet the overwhelming demand for services.
There is an unconscionable gap between desperate need and available resources. Increased federal investment in domestic violence programs is needed to ensure that local programs can help all survivors who reach out for help. We urge Congress to fund FVPSA at its full authorization of $200 million.
FVPSA 2019 Reauthorization
FVPSA is up for renewal every five years, which provides an opportunity to improve and expand access to domestic violence services. On July 23, 2019, Senators Casey (D-PA) and Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a bi-partisan Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 2259), which includes key enhancements to increase the funding authorization level, expand support for and access to culturally-specific programs, strengthen the capacity of Indian tribes, and meaningfully invest in prevention, among other enhancements. The bill was referred to the Senate HELP Committee. The House has yet to introduce a companion bill.
NNEDV strongly supports this enhanced reauthorization and is working with champions in the House to introduce a companion bill that includes these critical improvements. We are simultaneously working to increase appropriations to ensure that FVPSA can reach all communities and survivors.