Legislation heads to the President's desk 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act (VAWA), as part of the FY22 omnibus appropriations package, with broad bipartisan support. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) originally introduced this reauthorization in March 2021, which will authorize funding for a variety of critical grant programs, including victim services, prevention, training, education, enforcement, economic stability, and other vital programs to support survivors, help them to heal, and access justice. The bill would reauthorize VAWA through 2027. Rep. Fitzpatrick applauds the Senate passage of the spending package yesterday and looks forward to President Biden signing the legislation into law.

“VAWA has been instrumental in improving and enhancing our nation's response to safeguarding women and children from abuse, anguish, and violence. For years, VAWA programs have produced tangible, life-saving results, saving the lives of millions of women and children and providing educational tools to help survivors and their families rebuild their lives. I am incredibly pleased to see that our legislation to reauthorize VAWA was included in the House and Senate-passed omnibus package,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick.

VAWA’s authorization expired in 2018. Last Congress, the House passed a bipartisan reauthorization, but the Senate failed to take it up. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act addresses the challenges identified by survivors and by domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and other organizations that serve survivors. The landmark legislation, enacted in 1994 under the leadership of then-Senate Judiciary Chair Joe Biden, responds to our nation’s crisis of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. 

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act improves current law in several important respects:

  • Enhances and expands victim services;
  • Reauthorizes grant programs to improve the criminal justice response to gender-based violence and expands allowable uses;
  • Invests in prevention;
  • Improves access to housing for victims and survivors;
  • Helps survivors gain and maintain economic independence;
  • Ends 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;
  • Supports Communities of Color;
  • Maintains existing protections for all survivors; and
  • Improves the healthcare system’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

The VAWA Reauthorization Act is supported by the National Task Force To End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF), a large and diverse group of national, tribal, state, territorial, and local organizations, advocates, and individuals that focus on the development, passage, and implementation of effective public policy to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.