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NNEDV Celebrates House Passage of VAWA Reauthorization

March 17, 2021

For Immediate Release

NNEDV Urges Senate to Swiftly Pass the Bill  

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 with a bipartisan vote of 244-172. The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) applauds the bill’s lead sponsors, Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and all those who voted for VAWA’s passage.

“Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to support survivors by passing a VAWA reauthorization that both maintains established protections and resources and expands VAWA to address ongoing gaps in the law,” said Deborah J. Vagins, President and CEO of NNEDV. “The pandemic continues to reveal deep racial and gender inequalities that impact survivors’ lives and jeopardize their safety. H.R. 1620 addresses the needs of historically marginalized survivors in a number of critical ways.”

H.R. 1620 provides targeted resources to Communities of Color; creates additional pathways to justice beyond criminal legal responses; improves economic protections; provides safe, affordable housing options; restores tribal jurisdiction so tribes can hold non-native perpetrators accountable; increases resources for prevention; closes dangerous legal loopholes in existing federal domestic violence-related firearms laws; maintains vital non-discrimination protections; and continues to invest in lifesaving programs.

“H.R. 1620 builds on the progress that has been made for survivors, but acknowledges there is much more to be done to prevent violence, address abuse, and ensure safety,” said Vagins. “The bill takes a comprehensive approach, addressing the complex realities of survivors’ lives. We celebrate the House bill and urge the Senate to swiftly pass it.” 

Gender-based violence is insidious, pervasive, and often life-threatening. First enacted in 1994, VAWA creates and supports comprehensive, cost-effective responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. 

Up for renewal every five years, each VAWA reauthorization builds on existing protections and programs to better meet the needs of survivors. VAWA’s current authorization expired in 2018. While the House passed a bill to reauthorize VAWA in 2019, and the Senate introduced a similar bill, it did not pass the Senate in the 116th Congress.

NNEDV urges the Senate to swiftly pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 to ensure survivors have the support they need in these challenging times and beyond.