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Policy Alert: VAWA, VOCA, FVPSA+ Reauthorization!

There has been so much activity in the House of Representatives in the last few weeks and we are excited to share with you the latest developments, what they mean, and how you can help. Specifically, we’re covering the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), American Rescue Plan (ARP), Victims of Crime Act / Victim Crime Fund (VOCA), the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) here. Under each legislative effort, we’ve pulled out the information most relevant for Latin@s and how you can get involved. Please share widely and let us know if you have any questions.

American Rescue Plan: Addressing the Dual Pandemic of Domestic and Sexual Violence and COVID-19 with Funds for the Field.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) was signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on March 12. This law provides life-saving, survivor-centered supplemental funds, which will meet domestic violence and sexual assault survivors’ urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the ARP provides $1.9 trillion dollars in pandemic relief. We are thankful to Congress and the Biden/Harris Administration for advocating on the behalf of the many individuals who are in need right now.

Specific Funds to help Latin@ Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

$49.5 million for a new Culturally Specific Program to address the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. This new program creates, as envisioned by Ujima, Inc. and the National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Violence (SCESCA), access to resources for culturally specific programs at the Department of Health and Human Services. We do not have information on distribution for these funds yet but will share information as soon as we can.

Addressing Survivors’ Lack of Access to Economic Stimulus Funds

Check out these two factsheets (in English and Spanish) outlining how survivors can access and get the most out of their economic stimulus checks – even if they didn’t receive them.

  • Did your spouse or ex-spouse take your COVID Economic Impact Payment in 2020? If so, you may be able to claim your economic impact payment (EIP) as a credit or refund on your 2020 federal tax return. English
  • ¿Su cónyuge o ex-cónyuge tomó su pago de impacto económico de alivio tributario por el COVID en el 2020? Si es así, es posible que usted pueda reclamar su pago de impacto económico (EIP, por sus siglas en inglés) como crédito o reembolso en su declaración de impuestos federales del 2020. Spanish

Action Alert

Thank your Members of Congress for voting for the American Rescue Plan – if they did. You can find out how your Senator and House of Representative member voted. A tweet could be a very simple with a message like, “Thank you @Senator for voting for the American Rescue Plan. This will help many Latin@ survivors of domestic and sexual violence. As your constituent, I appreciate your support.” Here’s a list of their Twitter handles to make tagging your representative easy.

Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)

The Victims of Crime Act Fix or VOCA Reauthorization was passed in the House of Representatives on March 17 and is awaiting a Senate vote.

The VOCA Reauthorization will provide more funds to states by re-routing fines that would have gone to the US Treasury to the Crime Victim Fund. It is impossible to predict how much money will be in the Crime Victim Fund from year to year, but past information might help us plan for the future. About $7 billion went to the general Treasury over the last three years, which could have gone into the Crime Victim Fund if the VOCA Fix were in place. We are hopeful with the VOCA Fix that the Crime Victim Fund will get about $2 billion more a year.

Action Alert

Thank your House of Representatives member for voting for the VOCA Fix – if they did. You can find out how House of Representative member voted here. A tweet could be a very simple with a message like, “Thank you @Rep for voting for the #VOCAFix. This will help many Latin@ survivors of domestic and sexual violence. As your constituent, I appreciate your support.” Here’s a list of their Twitter handles to make tagging your representative easy.

SAVE THE DATE!

WHAT: VOCA Senate Day of Action 

WHEN: April 21, 2021