The Congresswoman Voted Last Week to Pass the Legislation, which will Improve Services for Survivors, Strengthen Penalties for Persons Convicted of Stalking a Minor, & Fund Essential Grants for Law Enforcement Officers
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger yesterday attended the White House ceremony celebrating the signing of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), bipartisan legislation she voted to pass last week that will improve services for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as empower law enforcement to protect Virginia families.
Spanberger voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House to pass the legislation last week as part of the federal appropriations package signed into law by President Joe Biden earlier this week. The law will reauthorize VAWA through 2027, preserve advancements made in previous reauthorizations, and include a number of additional improvements to the current law.
“Domestic violence and sexual assault are often invisible, and too many abusers go unnoticed, unreported, or unprosecuted. This week’s reauthorization of VAWA is long overdue, and I was proud to stand in support of Virginia’s survivors at the White House,” said Spanberger. “Particularly as we rebuild from the pandemic, we need to redouble our efforts to provide care for survivors, help to those at risk of violence, and justice against those who commit these heinous crimes. As a former federal law enforcement officer, I am glad both parties in Congress are working together to make sure our local law enforcement officials have the tools and resources they need to respond to this rising challenge. VAWA has saved lives — and we need to maintain its ability to do so in Virginia and across the country.”
Spanberger helped introduce a standalone version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act in March 2021, and she voted with a bipartisan majority to pass it the following month. She first voted to pass a reauthorization in April 2019 during her first year in the U.S. House.
Specifically, the VAWA Reauthorization Act will:
- Provide services, protection and justice for young victims of violence — including through extending the Rape Prevention and Education grant program and improving grants focused on prevention education for students.
- Enhance judicial and law enforcement tools through reauthorization of the U.S. Department of Justice’s STOP Violence Against Women Formula Program, known as the STOP Program. Additionally, it will strengthen the STOP Program to better support survivors who are 50 years of age or older and survivors with disabilities.
- Reauthorize and update the SMART Prevention Program to reduce dating violence. Additionally, it will help children who have been exposed to domestic violence.
- Improve 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.
- Authorize funding for LGBT victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.