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Underwood-Backed Violence Against Women Act Passes the House

Press Release

Date: March 18, 2021
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) supported the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization (H.R. 1620) a bipartisan, robust, long-term VAWA reauthorization in the House. The legislation would reauthorize funding for five years and make vital improvements to address gaps in current law, based on extensive consultation with victim service providers, law enforcement, and other experts.

The legislation includes two key provisions championed by Underwood in Congress. The first would increase access to mental health care and substance abuse treatment for survivors of domestic violence. The second requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to report to Congress the effects of the recent federal government shutdown on DOJ's efforts to disperse funding and services to victims of domestic violence.

"Nearly one in three women experience domestic violence, and as our nation has faced the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen alarming reports of increased domestic violence," said Rep. Underwood. "The Violence Against Women Act is critical to addressing our nation's crisis, providing support for survivors who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, and curbing an epidemic that affects far too many. It's up to us to ensure every spouse, parent, or child in our community is free to live their life without the threat of domestic violence."

The landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994 ushered in transformative progress by calling for the protection of all Americans from violence and abuse and working to ensure survivors had access to essential services and to justice. Every time Congress has reauthorized VAWA, they have strengthened it to improve protections and access to safety and justice for all survivors.

In the 116th Congress, Underwood strongly supported the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization in the House.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization improves the current law, including by:

making vital new investments in prevention
strengthening essential protections for the most vulnerable, including immigrant, LGBTQ and Native American women and specifically supporting communities of color in a culturally-sensitive way
improving services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking
making improvements in the criminal justice response to gender-based violence and improving the health care system's response to domestic violence
helping stop abusers and stalkers from obtaining firearms and
expanding protections for victims' and survivors' financial security, including housing protections and anti-discrimination protections in the workplace.