WASHINGTON, D.C.— February 10, 2022 – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) yesterday introduced the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act.
“The Violence Against Women Act has improved the criminal justice system’s ability to keep victims safe and hold perpetrators accountable. It has been a valuable tool for so many women and their children – and we must reauthorize it to ensure that these services remain intact,” Brown said. “VAWA helps give these victims and survivors a place to turn to escape violent relationships, or the means to seek legal representation. I am pleased that Democrats and Republicans were able to work together to find common ground to draft this critical piece of legislation.”
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. In addition to Senators Brown, Feinstein, Ernst, Durbin and Murkowski, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Patty Murray (D-WA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH), Brian Schatz (D-HI), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS).
Key provisions of the bill:
- 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.
Included in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act is Brown’s Trafficking Survivors Housing Act of 2021 which would require the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to commission a study and report in partnership with federal agencies, survivors, and the organizations that serve them on the availability and accessibility of homelessness and housing services for survivors of trafficking. Brown reintroduced this bipartisan legislation in June 2021 and previously introduced in 2019 and 2018. The bill text is available here. A one-pager on the bill is available here.