The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization with broad bipartisan support. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Karen Bass (CA-37) introduced this reauthorization which will improve services for survivors of violence, expand housing protections for survivors, and expand training and prevention programs.

“VAWA programs have provided educational tools and helped survivors and their families get the resources they need to begin the healing process. This is not a partisan issue which is why I put a special emphasis on working to build bipartisan support for this critical legislation. I’m also happy to see my Combat Online Predators Act included in this legislation which will increase penalties for predators who cyberstalk children,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick worked to build bipartisan support for the bill which passed with the support of 33 Republicans.

The VAWA Reauthorization also includes Rep. Fitzpatrick’s Combat Online Predators Act which increases penalties for cyberstalking against minors and requires federal law enforcement officials to evaluate and update practices to combat cyberstalking.

WATCH Congressman Fitzpatrick advocate for passage of the VAWA Reauthorization.

“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 shouldn’t be a partisan issue and I was happy to see the bipartisan cooperation Congressman Fitzpatrick helped foster. We at A Woman’s Place thank Congressman Fitzpatrick for his work on this important issue, are proud to support this bill and encourage the Senate 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 by passing HR 1585 a bipartisan bill that will ensure protections for any individual who has been a victim of  sexual assault in any community across the country and will allow the expansion of personal safety programs for children and youth that will lead us to a community free of sexual violence.  I want to thank Congressman Fitzpatrick for co-sponsoring HR 1585 and building bipartisan support for the bill in the House,” said Penny Ettinger, Executive Director of Network of Victim Assistance. 

VAWA was first enacted in 1994 with broad bipartisan support as a response to our nation’s crisis of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. The reauthorization improves upon current law through the following:

  • Provides services, protection, and justice for young victims of violence by addressing bullying of children, improving grants focused on prevention education, and expanding training in school-based and campus health centers.
  • Reauthorizes and updates the use of STOP Grants which are awarded to states to assist law enforcement combat violent crimes against women and children. The funds are distributed between law enforcement, prosecutors, victim services, and state and local courts.
  • Updates the SMART Prevention Program to reduce dating violence and engage men in preventing violence.
  • Preserves and expands housing protections for survivors.
  • Prohibits those convicted of domestic violence and stalking from possessing firearms.