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Senators Introduce Vital Legislation to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence

May 1, 2018

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) applauds the leadership of Senators Heller (R-NV), Casey (D-PA), Grassley (R-IA), Coons (D-DE), and Cornyn (R-TX) for introducing S.2784, the bipartisan reauthorization of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). Every day, FVPSA-funded programs nationwide provide victims with essential support and safety to rebuild their lives. Representing the 56 statewide and territorial coalitions against domestic and sexual violence, NNEDV works to make ending domestic violence a national priority, change the way communities respond to domestic violence, and strengthen efforts against domestic and sexual violence.

“FVPSA reaches into almost every community in our country as a lifeline for survivors in crisis. This critical federal program is the foundation upon which all domestic violence services are built and delivered,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of NNEDV. “FVPSA ensures victims and their children have a place to go when they flee their homes to escape life-threatening violence.”

Since its passage in 1984 as the first national legislation to address domestic violence, FVPSA has remained at the heart of our nation’s response to domestic violence. There are nearly 2,000 community-based domestic violence programs for victims and their children (approximately 1,500 of which are FVPSA-funded through state formula grants). These programs offer services such as emergency shelter, counseling, legal assistance, and preventative education to millions of adults and children annually.

Many programs across the country use their FVPSA funding to keep the lights on and their doors open to serve over 1.3 million victims a year. FVPSA remains the only federal funding dedicated to domestic violence shelter and services programs.

Despite the progress and success fueled by FVPSA, an alarming number of survivors cannot access support when they need it. Each year, NNEDV conducts a 24-hour census of domestic violence shelters and services and releases the Domestic Violence Counts Report. The 11th annual report revealed that in just one day, 72,959 victims of domestic violence received services; however, 11,991 requests for services went unmet due to a lack of funding and resources. Of those unmet requests, 66% were for safe housing.

Reauthorizing FVPSA is a top priority for NNEDV. “It is absolutely unconscionable that victims cannot find safety for themselves and their children due to a lack of adequate investment in these services,” said Gandy. “FVPSA reauthorization is critical to ensuring victim safety. We urge a swift re-authorization of this vital program and thank the Senators for their incredible leadership.”