WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives took vital action today to help victims of sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking by voting to reauthorize the 2019 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA / H.R. 1585). NOW leaders in the states are working with their Senators to ensure that a companion bill is passed by the Senate as soon as possible. This is a critical next step in order to establish important improvements and secure stable funding for VAWA for the next five years.
The proposed reauthorization includes a provision to close a loophole in the original Act that allows convicted domestic abusers of dating partners to have access to firearms. Opposition to this from the National Rifle Association (NRA) is motivating certain members of Congress to OPPOSE or stall the bill. The NRA wants Congress to put the second amendment rights of abusers over the lives of the women and families who might die at their hands.
VAWA 2019 contains many important improvements that will benefit victims of violence around the country including:
- Housing protections for survivors of sexual assault.
- A new position at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to address domestic violence.
- Enhancements to the criminal justice response to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
- Programs that help survivors gain and maintain economic independence.
VAWA 2019 now moves to the Senate. NOW expects bipartisan support and a vote for passage and nothing less. Constituents in every state will be watching to see which senators are willing to prioritize the health and safety of millions of women, men and their families over the influence of the NRA.