Family Violence Prevention & Services Act
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) supports lifesaving services for victims of domestic violence and their children, 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 programs 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 reports that on just one day in 2020, 76,525 domestic violence victims and their children received essential services ranging from shelter to counseling to legal advocacy. However, on that same day, 11,047 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 $463 million.
On March 23, 2021, Representatives Lucy McBath (D-GA), Don Young (R-AK), Gwen Moore (D-WI), and John Katko (R-NY) introduced a bipartisan Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021 (H.R. 2119). Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a companion bill (S. 1275) on April 21, 2021. H.R. 2119 and S. 1275 include 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. In July 2021, both chambers voted the bills out of their respective committees of jurisdiction.