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Spanberger Votes to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence & Survivors of Sexual Assault, Reauthorize Violence Against Women Act

The Congresswoman Helped Introduce the Legislation, which would Improve Services for Victims, Strengthen Penalties for Persons Convicted of Stalking a Minor, & Fund Essential Grants for Law Enforcement Professionals

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today voted to pass bipartisan legislation that would improve services for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as empower law enforcement officials to protect Central Virginia families.

Spanberger voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a full reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which expired in 2018. The legislation would improve services for victims, expand housing protections for survivors of violence, and fund essential grants for law enforcement professionals, sexual assault educators, and nurses. Additionally, the bill would reauthorize critical funding for essential services that help survivors, as well as strengthen grant and education programs that work to prevent and treat instances of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking.

Prior to the vote, Spanberger presided over the floor of the U.S. House during debate on both the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and legislation to remove the deadline on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Both pieces of legislation passed in the House today with bipartisan support.

“Across our communities, domestic violence and sexual assault are often invisible. And because these horrific crimes are frequently hidden in the shadows — particularly during the COVID-19 crisis, too many abusers go unnoticed, unreported, and unprosecuted. We need to respond to this urgent challenge by reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act,” said Spanberger. “This VAWA reauthorization takes a holistic and community-wide approach to combatting domestic violence — including on our college campuses, within traditionally underserved populations, and among our LGBTQ neighbors. As domestic violence cases rise, we must redouble our efforts to provide trauma-informed care for survivors and give healthcare professionals the tools they need to build a structure of wraparound support for victims and their families. This legislation has been a priority for President Biden throughout his time in office, and I urge our colleagues in the Senate to listen to the voices of the vulnerable and send this legislation to the President’s desk as soon as possible.”

Spanberger helped introduce the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act earlier this month, and she first voted to pass the legislation in April 2019. This legislation is led by U.S. Representatives Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX-18), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01).

Specifically, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act would:

  • Enhance judicial and law enforcement tools to combat violence against women. The bill would preserve dedicated funding for legal assistance for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. Additionally, the reauthorization legislation would preserve critical programs for communities of color and enhance protections for Native American women.
  • Improve services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The bipartisan VAWA reauthorization would preserve dedicated funding to advance services for survivors with disabilities and to preserves funding to educate professionals on abuse later in life.
  • Provide services, protection and justice for young victims of violence. The legislation would improve campus grant programs to support institutions of higher education in developing and disseminating comprehensive prevention education for all students.
  • Strengthen the U.S. healthcare systems response to domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault. The bipartisan bill would fund and improve screening for victimization and perpetration of intimate partner and sexual violence across federally-funded healthcare programs. Provisions would also be included for trauma-informed protocols for screening, assessment, and intervention with sexual assault victims.
  • Provide safe homes for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The legislation would increase access to housing protections for survivors and add language to strengthen confidentiality agreements.