Action alert: Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021 (VAWA)

Now is the time for the Senate to introduce and pass a strong VAWA reauthorization bill. The House already passed its bill (H.R.1620) and now the Senate needs to do the same.

We need a strong VAWA for all survivors that builds on H.R. 1620 now. Latin@ survivors were among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and they can’t wait.

Contact your Senators and ask them to commit to supporting a bill that builds on H.R.1620 and meets the identified needs of survivors and communities. H.R. 1620 is a bill supported by service providers and survivors because it would:

  • Support culturally specific organizations for the work they do in providing resources to survivors

  • Invest in prevention by increasing the authorization of the Rape Prevention & Education Program (RPE) to $110 million (current authorization $50 million), add sexual harassment to its authorized uses, and add language requiring the involvement of and funding for involvement of OVW-recognized sexual assault coalitions in RPE planning and implementation.

  • Increase funding for VAWA Consolidated Youth grants. Prevention education that engages men and boys as allies and promotes healthy relationships is key to reducing gender-based violence.

  • Authorize grants to address the needs of underserved populations

  • Authorize grants to address the needs of LGBTQ survivors, survivors with disabilities and Deaf survivors, survivors in rural communities, and survivors who are older adults

  • End impunity for non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault, child abuse co-occurring with domestic violence, stalking, sex trafficking, and assaults on tribal law enforcement officers on tribal lands

  • Ensure victim service providers can use VAWA funding to help victims experiencing a range of domestic violence behaviors, not just physical abuse

  • Improve access to safe housing and economic security

  • Provide alternatives to the criminal legal system

  • Close the boyfriend loophole

  • Improve the healthcare systems and workplace responses to gender-based violence.

Find your Senators here and use their webpage to figure out the best way to contact them. Here’s a sample email to get you started:

Greetings! Saludos! My name is [your name], and I am a constituent from [your location. I am contacting you today to urge the Senate to introduce and pass a bipartisan VAWA reauthorization bill that builds on the House-passed H.R.1620 and meets the identified needs of survivors and communities. The Violence Against Women Act is one of the pillars of the federal response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. [Tell your Senator why VAWA has been so important to your community or, if you have a story you feel comfortable sharing, share your experience]. Every time VAWA has been reauthorized, it has been strengthened based on our increased understanding of gender-based violence, and this reauthorization can be no different. The COVID-19 pandemic, when the rates of domestic violence and sexual assault have increased, is not the time to roll back important protections or even to maintain the status quo. H.R.1620, which passed the House with strong bipartisan support, maintains protections for all victims, makes vital investments in sexual assault prevention and services, ensures sexual predators who prey on Native women can be held accountable, invests in culturally specific organizations, protects victims of domestic violence from intimate partner homicide, provides alternatives to the legal system for survivors who want them, and increases victims’ access to safe housing and economic stability. As a constituent, I urge Senator [your Senator’s name] to prioritize the introduction and passage of a VAWA reauthorization that builds on the House-passed bill and meets the identified needs of survivors and communities. Can Senator [your Senator’s name] commit to that?

You can also tweet your Senator: “@SenatorHandle We need a #VAWA4ALL bill in the Senate that supports ALL SURVIVORS. I urge you to publicly prioritize the introduction and passage of a bipartisan #VAWA4All that builds on HR1620 and meets the identified needs of survivors! As your constituent, I appreciate your support.” or tag your representative on social media using these Twitter handles.

Additional Background on VAWA

Since the enactment of VAWA in 1994 and during each subsequent reauthorization of VAWA in 2000, 2005, and 2013, Congress has continued to support and improve protections for survivors in a bipartisan manner. During this time in which we are experiencing the dual crises of the Coronavirus and gender-based violence, we are reminded of the fragility of life. It is not now or ever acceptable to merely maintain the status quo, let alone undermine current protections and reduce access to safety and justice for victims and survivors, particularly those from vulnerable communities which also have been more deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

VAWA Reauthorization is a necessary part of our nation’s commitment to ending gender-based violence. It includes narrowly focused, yet critical, enhancements to address gaps identified by survivors and direct service providers. Among many provisions, the measure maintains vital protections for all survivors, invests in prevention, improves access to safe housing and economic independence, and includes long overdue funding for culturally specific communities.

For more information on VAWA check out our Boletín on Accessing Federal Resources to Enhance Services for Survivors from Culturally Specific Communities in English or Spanish.

If you have other policy questions please contact Yasmin Campos-Mendez, Public Policy Manager at: