NOW urgently needs your help to ensure that a vital piece of legislation, the 2019 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), H.R. 1585, is passed. On March 13th, the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill introduced by Reps. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) to reauthorize and expand programs designed to help victims of sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking.
The bill now heads to the House floor, where it is expected to get a vote early next month. If enacted, the measure would authorize vital programs and services through fiscal 2024, providing five years of key funding for programs that target all sexual and domestic violence.
In this era of #MeToo, the 2019 reauthorization of VAWA makes crucial improvements to the original bill that address dating violence, harassment and bullying. Other improvements include:
Increased protections for Native American women, men and children, and the LGBTQIA community.
Improvements to the criminal justice response to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
Housing protections for survivors of sexual assault and a new position at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to address domestic violence.
While several Republicans on the Judiciary Committee attempted to introduce exclusionary measures towards transgender individuals and tribal members seeking prosecution of non-tribal members, those efforts were defeated. We must demand that the bill passes without these types of negative amendments and that it is inclusive of all people who have been impacted by violence.
Below you will find a sample telephone script and letter to use as a guide for contacting your representative. It is vital to act now so that members of Congress know this is an important issue to their constituents as they plan their April vote. The House is in recess the week of March 18th, so district offices should be your first point of outreach. You can find your representative’s contact information here.
Urge your representative to become a co-sponsor of H.R.1585 and to vote for passage of the bill when it comes to the House floor! The current list of co-sponsors is available here.
Sample Talking Points for Telephone Calls
Hello, I am (FIRST AND LAST NAME) a constituent of Rep. [name of Member]. I am calling in support of reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Since its inception, VAWA has saved thousands of lives and helped support victims of violence through the long and difficult recovery process by providing access to shelters and other critically needed services. And the need for the protections that VAWA provides is still evident today as one out of every three women worldwide will face violence during her lifetime.
Without reauthorization, funding could lapse for critical programs that we need to address this epidemic. The reauthorization also includes vital new support for programs addressing harassment, protections for transgender individuals and Native American women and housing needs for survivors. I support this reauthorization of VAWA and urge Rep. [name of Member] to vote in favor of it on the House floor.
Sample Letter to Send to Your Congressional Office
Subject: Protect Women by Voting for VAWA Reauthorization
Hello, my name is [name] and my zip code is [zip code]. I am writing to urge Rep. [name of Member] to support the reauthorization of the 2019 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), H.R. 1585, which will be coming to the House floor in early April. Since its inception, VAWA has saved thousands of lives and helped support victims of violence through the long and difficult road of recovery by providing critically needed services and shelters for hundreds of thousands of women and their families.
But the need for the protections that VAWA provides is still evident. One out of every three women worldwide will face violence during her lifetime and of all the women murdered in the U.S. in 2018, 63 percent were killed by an intimate partner. This staggering number proves that violence is still a monumental issue for the U.S. and must be addressed. Without reauthorization, funding could lapse for critical programs that we need to address this epidemic.
I am pleased to see that the reauthorization also extends protections to transgender individuals and that efforts to roll back protections for Native American women were defeated in the House Judiciary Committee. The final bill to come out of the House vote must ensure that the best, most inclusive VAWA possible is enacted.
As a constituent I am counting on Rep. [name of Member] to vote for reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act!
First Name, Last Name