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Shaheen Helps Lead Bipartisan Bill to Modernize the Violence Against Women Act

(Washington, DC) U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in introducing the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act. VAWA is the flagship 1994 law that supports survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking by providing federal resources and technical support for programs that help victims. The 2022 VAWA reauthorization would expand efforts to combat these crimes by aiding domestic violence prevention and support organizations, protecting survivors and promoting safer communities for women and families. Last year, Shaheen pushed for a swift vote in the Senate to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act after the House passed the legislation. 

“It is egregious that obstruction in Congress allowed reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to expire in the first place – let alone for three years – leaving survivors of sexual and domestic violence even more vulnerable and without access to services during the pandemic. It’s past time Congress right this wrong,” said Senator Shaheen. “That’s why I’m proud to help lead the bipartisan effort in the Senate to strengthen and reauthorize the flagship law through 2027. As a fierce advocate for survivors and Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for the Department of Justice’s VAWA programs, helping survivors find support and heal from trauma will always be my top priorities.”

Specifically, the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act:

  • 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.

As Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee which funds programs in the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to boost services and programs for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Throughout the pandemic, Shaheen has worked to provide more resources and services to domestic violence survivors nationwide. This includes a bill to reauthorize legislation to expand pro bono legal resources for victims and survivors. Shaheen has secured the highest funding level ever for Violence Against Women Act programs for four consecutive years. Last year, she reintroduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Grassley (R-IA) to build on her legislation that is now law, the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, by incentivizing states to pass legislation that guarantees the survivors rights included in the federal legislation.