On April 4, the House of Representatives passed HR 1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (VAWA, 230-157). 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. HR 1585, a bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA,) 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;
- Investing in prevention;
- Ending impunity for non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault, child abuse co-occurring with domestic violence, stalking, sex trafficking, and assaults on tribal law enforcement officers on tribal lands;
- Improving access to safe housing and economic independence; and
- Protecting dating violence from abusers with firearms.
The Senate has yet to introduce its own bill, nor has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) scheduled consideration of HR 1585. VAWA expired on September 30, 2018.