Reauthorization Of The Violence Against Women Act
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a U.S. federal law, signed by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994. It was authored by then-Senator Joe Biden (DE), and co-authored by Representative Louise Slaughter (NY). It was passed in Congress (234/195 House, 61/38 Senate).
The law established a budget (initially $1.6 billion) to:
- Investigate violence against women crimes
- Prosecute perpetrators of such crimes
- Impose requirements for restitution to victims by perpetrators
- Provide reparations, if prosecutors opt not to prosecute a crime
Extensions of the Law were passed in 2000, 2005 and 2013. In each case, there were changes which met with varying degrees of opposition, generally from Republicans and organizations such as the NRA and other conservative groups. In 2019 reauthorization was defeated in the Republican Senate.
Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is on President Biden’s 100-day agenda, and set to be taken up by the House the week of March 18th.
- The House will take up and vote the week of March 18. Passage is expected but not guaranteed, therefore contacting Representatives is urgent.
- We’ll be watching the Biden Budget to demonstrate his priority on this legislation
- Senate battle will be difficult with opposition based on 1) the “boyfriend loophole” 2) indigenous people and immigrant components and 3) partisanship
- The challenge is to demonstrate a strong commitment to this legislation, and make sure to only support legislators who recognize its importance, including all of the “controversial” elements.
CALL to ACTION
Contact your representatives in Congress to urge their support for reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Here are sample messages, however, we encourage you to add any message about your personal connection to this issue with which you feel comfortable. This will increase the impact of your message.
Short version (appropriate for quick messages or for supportive legislators):
“Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, and a deterrent to an equitable and peaceful world. It is devastating and its impact is enormous and widespread. I support the Violence Against Women Act and call on you to support it as well.”
“The crisis of gender-based violence continues to grow, far outpacing available resources (many of which have been disappearing for lack of funds). The need for funds to prevent, prosecute and provide resources to victims is overwhelming and Congress has not done enough to provide these resources to all Americans. This unending culture of violence has serious impacts on the majority of the population, either directly or indirectly, and inaction is not acceptable. I support the Violence Against Women Act and will demonstrate that support with my vote. I call on you to support it too.”
Ways to contact representatives:
- Phone call
Encourage your family and friends, both in the US and abroad, to do the same. Also, encourage anyone who can possibly visit the local or DC office of their legislator to do so in a more dramatic show of support and importance.