On November 13, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA, S 2843) to enhance and build upon our nation’s response to sexual and domestic violence. Enacted in 1994, twenty-five years ago, VAWA was the first federal law responding to our nation’s crisis of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. S 2843 is based on extensive outreach to survivors, direct service providers, and other stakeholders and would make modest yet vital improvements including:
- maintaining protections for all survivors;
- making vital investments in prevention;
- improving access to housing for survivors;
- addressing urgent and particular needs of native survivors;
- realizing the health care system’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking;
- protecting dating violence survivors from firearm homicide; and
- increasing survivors’ access to safe housing and economic stability.
On November 20, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced her version of VAWA Reauthorization, a harmful measure that would roll back existing LGBTQ nondiscrimination provisions and undermine key protections for Native survivors. The House of Representatives passed HR 1585, a substantially similar bill to S 2843, on April 4. VAWA expired on September 30, 2018.