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Urging Congressional Action on the 25th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

September 13, 2019

Today, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) commemorates the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This landmark law, passed in 1994, has transformed our nation’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

Every five years, the United States has the opportunity to build upon VAWA’s successes and evolve to meet survivors’ changing needs through reauthorization. Though the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.1585, a bipartisan VAWA reauthorization bill with key improvements in April 2019, the Senate has not yet passed a companion bill. NNEDV joins its national partners in urging the Senate to pass VAWA 2019 to ensure survivors have access to lifesaving protections and services.

“VAWA helped bring violence out of the shadows and into the national spotlight,” said Cindy Southworth, NNEDV Interim CEO and Executive Vice President. “VAWA’s passage 25 years ago is due to the tireless advocacy of survivors, advocates, and state coalitions who saw an urgent need for change.”

The final VAWA 2019 reauthorization should reflect the provisions in H.R. 1585, 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.

“The improvements proposed in VAWA 2019, especially those that will reach survivors who are most marginalized, are long overdue,” said Monica McLaughlin, NNEDV Public Policy Director. “Today, survivors and advocates share the urgency and impatience of those who first rallied to create a national response to end domestic and sexual violence. Our movement urges Congress to swiftly reauthorize and invest in VAWA.”