Senators Cantwell and Murray Hail Introduction of Bipartisan Bill To Modernize Violence Against Women Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the chair of the Senate health committee, today hailed the introduction of the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act. Senator Murray is a cosponsor of the legislation and worked to negotiate parts of it.
The bill, which would reauthorize VAWA through 2027, preserves advancements made in previous reauthorizations and includes a number of additional improvements to the current law.
"We are righting the wrong of letting the Violence Against Women Act lapse," said Cantwell. "This bipartisan bill strengthens protections for women and children by providing more resources for survivors no matter where they live, where they work or who they are victimized by. This bill is also a major step forward in protecting our Tribal communities. Indigenous women and children will be better protected against sexual assault, child abuse, stalking and sex trafficking that occurs on Tribal lands. I urge my colleagues to take up this bipartisan compromise quickly so we can get these protections in place now.”
“When women and families experiencing domestic violence have the tools and protections to seek justice, stay safe, and regain independence, it’s not only life-changing, it can be life-saving,” said Senator Murray. “This reauthorization is long overdue and takes some extremely important steps to protect Native women in particular. I’m going to keep working to get this bill over the finish line so we can act to give survivors in Washington state and across the country the resources, supports, and protections they need.”
During the 2013 reauthorization fight, Senators Cantwell and Murray championed key provisions that strengthened protections for victims in Tribal communities, and both senators have continually pushed for legislation to combat the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
Key provisions of the bill include:
- Provides services, protection and justice for young victims of violence, including extending the Rape Prevention and Education grant program and improving grants focused on prevention education for students in institutions of higher education.
- Enhances judicial and law enforcement tools through reauthorization of the Justice Department’s STOP Violence Against Women Formula Program, known as the STOP Program, and expansion of the STOP Program to better support survivors who are 50 years of age or older and survivors with disabilities.
- Reauthorizes and updates the SMART Prevention Program to reduce dating violence, help children who have been exposed to domestic violence, and engage men in preventing violence.
- Provides economic security assistance for survivors by reauthorizing the National Resource Center on Workplace Response. Expands the program to support sexual harassment victims and ensure that the program’s resources are available to private-sector businesses with fewer than 20 employees in addition to public-sector entities.
- Improves the medical response to instances of domestic violence and sexual assault, including expanding access to medical forensic examinations after a sexual assault for survivors who live in rural communities.
- Protects Indian women by improving tribal access to federal crime information databases and clarifying the existence of tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence, sexual violence, sex trafficking and stalking that takes place on tribal lands.
- Authorizes a grant program to provide community-specific services for LGBT survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Directs the Office on Violence Against Women to provide technical assistance and training to victim service providers and organizations that are seeking to work with survivors.
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