Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and Congresswoman Karen Bass today introduced a bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The program, which expired earlier this year, has helped millions of women and their families by improving the criminal justice system response to domestic violence and ensuring survivors and their families have access to the services they need to safely rebuild their lives.
Congressman Fitzpatrick and advocates from A Woman’s Place and Network of Victim Assistance, Bucks County organizations, spoke at a press conference about the local benefit of VAWA programs. Watch the press conference HERE.
“Congress must continue to aggressively combat domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking by swiftly reauthorizing the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA),” said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. “While there is still considerable work to be done, VAWA has drastically improved our nation’s response to safeguarding women and children from abuse and anguish. Congress has historically reauthorized VAWA with broad bipartisan agreement.”
“The Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2019 is crucial to the work we do in Bucks County with survivors of domestic violence every single day. Because of the countless lives that are saved by VAWA every day, this bill cannot be a partisan issue. We at A Woman’s Place thank Congressman Fitzpatrick for his work on this important issue, are proud to support this bill and encourage this Congress to move forward with the reauthorization of VAWA,” said Jen Hinds, Director of Advocacy and Outreach at A Woman’s Place.
“It's vitally important Congress reauthorizes VAWA funds that support direct services in our community to victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment and stalking and primary prevention programs for children and youth that will lead us to a community free of sexual violence. I want to thank Congressman Fitzpatrick for leading on this issue,” said Penny Ettinger, Executive Director of Network of Victim Assistance.
The bill improves on current law by improving services for survivors of violence, expanding housing protections for survivors, and expanding relevant training for school based and campus health centers. It includes services for young people to combat bullying, education youth on how to prevent violence, and helping children exposed to violence.
The bill also includes Congressman Fitzpatrick’s Combat Online Predators Act which will increase penalties for cyberstalking, especially against minors, and requires federal law enforcement officials to constantly evaluate and update practices to combat this online harassment.