Violence Against Women Act
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) creates and supports comprehensive, cost-effective responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. Since its enactment, VAWA programs, administered by the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), have dramatically improved federal, tribal, state, and local responses to these crimes.
Through the original bill, which passed in 1994, VAWA created the first U.S. federal legislation acknowledging domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes, and provided federal resources to encourage community-coordinated responses to combating violence. Up for renewal every five years, each VAWA reauthorization builds on existing protections and programs to better meet the needs of survivors. Reauthorized in 2000 it created a much-needed legal assistance program for victims and included responses to dating violence and stalking. In 2005, VAWA created new, holistic responses programs to meet the emerging needs of survivors and communities, such as prevention, landmark housing protections for survivors, funding for rape crisis centers, and culturally- and linguistically-specific services. VAWA 2013 enhanced access to safety and justice for Native American and LGBTQ survivors.
On March 7th, 2019, a bipartisan bill (H.R. 1585) to renew and improve VAWA was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Hon. Karen Bass (CA-37) and Hon. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1). H.R.1585 has passed in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. On November 13, 2019, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) along with 45 co-sponsors, introduced S. 2843, a companion to the bipartisan House bill.
VAWA reauthorization should reflect the provisions in H.R. 1585 and S. 2843, which safeguard current protections to ensure all survivors have access to safety and justice. This includes ending impunity for non-Native perpetrators of violence against Native women and children; improving housing protections and providing safe housing options so that survivors do not have to choose between safety and homelessness; increasing investment in domestic and sexual violence prevention; promoting economic security for survivors; increasing avenues for justice; and supporting efforts to reduce domestic violence homicides. While federal funding is still available for domestic violence programs, the lapse of the underlying law (VAWA) has meant uncertainty for providers around the country.
Check back for updated information as the bill proceed in the 117th Congress.
VAWA Housing protections
NNEDV works closely with allied organizations and experts to develop and implement the housing provisions VAWA. See our factsheet for more information.
- NNEDV’s statement on VAWA signing.
- NNEDV’s statement on VAWA passage
- NNEDV’s press statements on VAWA
- NNEDV’s President Kim Gandy on MSNBC
- NNEDV’s Vice President of Development & Innovation Cindy Southworth on PBS