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Honoring the 35th Anniversary of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act

October 15, 2019

Today, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) commemorates the 35th anniversary of the passage of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). FVPSA is at the heart of our nation’s response to domestic violence, ensuring that local domestic violence shelters and programs are able to keep their doors open to serve more than 1.2 million victims and their children every year.

FVPSA funds nearly 1,600 community-based programs through state formula grants. These programs provide emergency shelter, counseling, legal assistance, crisis intervention, and domestic and dating violence prevention education. FVPSA is the only federal funding source dedicated to providing support to domestic violence shelters and programs.

“For 35 years, survivors and their children who are forced to flee their homes have been able to find safety in FVPSA-funded shelters,” said Cindy Southworth, NNEDV Executive Vice President and Interim CEO. “While FVPSA funding supports survivors seeking immediate safety, it also sustains organizations working to eradicate domestic violence once and for all.”

While other federal laws fund services to respond to the criminal and legal aspects of domestic violence, FVPSA services help advance improvements for survivors in health, social services, and other systems. State domestic violence coalitions, which are authorized and funded by FVPSA, advance this work in each state and U.S. territory to ensure that survivors and their children have access to high quality and responsive services and systems. FVPSA also advances a prevention framework through state and community prevention grants administered and evaluated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Through our annual census of domestic violence services, we learned that in just one day in 2018, FVPSA-funded domestic violence programs served 74,823 victims of domestic violence. However, on the same day, 9,183 requests for services went unmet due to lack of funding and resources. Resources are often limited in some rural communities, culturally-specific communities, and tribes, due to their more limited access to FVPSA funds.

“As we look to future of our movement’s work, we must double down on our commitments to prevention and equal access,” said Southworth. “Congress must fund FVPSA at $200 million and reauthorize the act with key enhancements so that we can serve all survivors and work to create a world free from violence.”   

Senators Casey (D-PA) and Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced a bill to reauthorize and improve FVPSA. The bill provides key enhancements as follows:

  • The bill provides greater investment in lifesaving core victim services and shelters.
  • The bill increases investments in domestic violence prevention.
  • The bill strengthens the capacity of Indian tribes to exercise their sovereign authority and serve survivors.
  • The bill expands support for, and access to, culturally-specific programs.

Learn more about FVPSA here.