Washington, D.C. – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) has introduced the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2021. This legislation authorizes funding for a variety of critical grant programs, including for victim services, prevention, training, education, enforcement, economic stability, and other programs that support survivors and help them to heal and to access justice. 

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 of 2021 is a slightly updated version of the bill passed last Congress. It addresses the challenges identified by survivors and by domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and other organizations that serve survivors. It has now been eight years since VAWA was last authorized. 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. 

Representative Fitzpatrick: “Congress must continue to aggressively combat domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking by passing our bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021. VAWA has been instrumental in improving and enhancing our nation's response to safeguarding women and children from abuse, anguish, and violence. Congress has historically reauthorized VAWA with broad, bipartisan agreement, and I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to ensure that VAWA continues to protect victims and survivors across the nation.” 

Marianne G. Lynch, Executive Director, A Woman’s Place: “Since its inception in 1994, VAWA has been a critical tool in the work to end domestic violence. Congressman Fitzpatrick’s unwavering support of this bi-partisan effort has allowed A Woman’s Place to continue life-saving work under some of the most challenging circumstances of our lifetime. We are in full support of the 2021 reauthorization and appreciate that our congressional representatives embrace and understand the significant positive impact the expanded VAWA legal powers and funding have had on survivors of domestic violence and their families.” 

Penelope Ettinger, Executive Director, Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA): “ VAWA is essential in supporting services for women who are victims of sexual assault and other serious crimes.  Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) relies on VAWA funds to provide services including but not limited to forensic nursing services for victims of sexual assault who present in our local hospitals and personal safety education programs to youth in our area schools. VAWA funds are vitally important to NOVA’s mission and work in the community.  We stand with Congressman Fitzpatrick in support of this bill”.

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 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;
  • Protects victims of dating violence from firearm homicide;
  • Maintains existing protections for all survivors; and
  • Improves the healthcare system’s response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2021 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. 

A copy of the bill is available here.

A section-by-section analysis is available here.