Spanberger Votes To Protect All Central Virginians And Support Victims Of Domestic Violence

The Full Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Improves Services for Victims of Partner Violence, Sexual Assault, & Stalking by an Intimate Partner

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today helped pass legislation to improve support services for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and to empower law enforcement officials to strengthen the safety of Central Virginia families.

Spanberger supported a full reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which would improve services for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, enhance penalties for persons convicted of stalking a minor, 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 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.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one-fourth of all women will experience severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner during their lifetime. VAWA must be reauthorized, so that we can respond to this urgent, widespread, and often underreported issue in our Central Virginia communities,” said Spanberger. “The funding, training, and legal protections in this bill reaffirm our commitment to protecting every American from violence and abuse. We have made significant progress in providing services for survivors, but there is still much work to be done. By empowering law enforcement and health professionals, we can build a structure of support and care for the many women in Central Virginia and around the country who have experienced violence.”

The CDC estimates that every minute, twenty-four Americans are victims of rape, violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. Sexual violence and abuse impacts more than 12 million women and men each year, with over 22 percent of first incidents against women occurring between ages 11-17.

Specifically, the reauthorization of VAWA would:

  • Enhance judicial and law enforcement tools to combat violence against women. The bill would create additional opportunities for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors to participate in legal programs that may result in the expungement of criminal convictions. 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 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. Additionally, the reauthorization bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to statistical summaries of those served by grants to combat violent crimes on campus.
  • Strengthen the U.S. healthcare systems response to domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault. The 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.

Background

A number of U.S. House Members who requested to be added as a cosponsor on VAWA were not listed as cosponsors due to a clerical error. U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37) submitted a statement for the record earlier this week to clarify the number of members standing in support of VAWA, including Spanberger.

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