Loebsack Statement on House Passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 2019
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the House passed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 2019 (VAWA). The bipartisan legislation that passed today is a robust, five-year extension of the bill, which expired in February after it had been reauthorized on a short-term basis since September of last year. The bill now heads to the Senate for its consideration. Loebsack is a cosponsor of the bipartisan, comprehensive reauthorization.
“I am pleased the House has acted to pass a long-term extension of the Violence Against Women Act that includes many needed provisions to help keep women and families safe. We must ensure that all women, children, law enforcement agencies, state and local government and community organizations have the education and resources necessary to help protect against violent crime. I strongly urge the Senate to take up this critical legislation to ensure that survivors of domestic and sexual violence do not lose access to the care and supportive services they need.”
H.R. 1585, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, includes:
Vital new investments in prevention:
- Increases the authorization for the Rape Prevention & Education Program (RPE) to $150 million a year from $50 million a year and specifically includes prevention of sexual harassment to its authorized uses. Demand for programs funded by RPE has skyrocketed with the #MeToo movement and the national focus on campus sexual assault, and a corresponding increase is critically necessary to meet the need of communities.
- Reauthorizes and updates the critical SMART Prevention Program to reduce dating violence, help children exposed to violence, and engage men in preventing violence.
Services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking:
- Reauthorizes key grants for programs providing services to the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Includes improvements in the grant program that provides services to the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who have disabilities.
- Makes improvements in the grant program that provides services for the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who are older Americans.
Enhanced tools for law enforcement to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and to make our communities safer:
- Reauthorizes the critical STOP (Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors) grants and allows the grants to be used to develop law enforcement tools and protocols for preventing domestic violence homicides.
- Reauthorizes grants to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence, focusing on implementation of offender accountability and homicide reduction.
- Authorizes pilot programs focused on increasing community safety by looking at alternative and community-based methods of survivor safety and perpetrator accountability.
Housing protections for survivors:
- Includes protections for survivors in federal public, subsidized, and assisted housing.
- Reauthorizes critical collaborative grants to increase the long-term stability of survivors who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Supports for survivors who need assistance rebuilding financially:
- Increases the authorization for the National Resource Center on Workplace Responses, which assists the victims of domestic and sexual violence.
- Protects employees from being fired because they are survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence.
- Protects survivors’ eligibility to receive Unemployment Compensation.
Strengthening the health care system’s response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking:
- Reauthorizes key grants to strengthen the health care system’s response.
- Broadens the reach of these grants to develop services to address the safety, medical, and mental health needs of survivors, while maintaining the grants’ local focus on providing funds to state domestic and sexual violence coalitions.
Protecting the Office on Violence Against Women:
- Protects the Office on Violence Against Women in the Department of Justice (DOJ) from being de-emphasized, merged, or consolidated into any other DOJ office.