Washington, D.C. — Last week, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and his Senate Democratic colleagues introduced a companion bill to the House-passed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. The bill, which would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) through 2024, includes a number of additional improvements to the current law.
Passing the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act would help improve criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence and provide resources to crack down on sex trafficking. It would help to prevent intimate partner homicides by prohibiting individuals convicted of misdemeanor stalking from possessing firearms. Further, this legislation would preserve and expand housing protections for survivors and enhance judicial and law enforcement tools through reauthorization of the Justice Department’s STOP Violence Against Women Formula Program, known as the STOP Program.
“Congress must move swiftly to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, the cornerstone of federal law that provides support and protection for victims of intimate partner violence,” said Senator Casey. “The House passed its VAWA reauthorization bill on April 4, and I urge my colleagues across the aisle to support the Senate version of the bill. Every day we fail to renew VAWA, we fail to protect women from violence.”
“I’ve been working with Senator Ernst on a bipartisan path forward and plan to continue those negotiations. Given the overwhelming House vote and the strength of that bill, however, now is the right time to introduce it,” said Senator Feinstein. “Make no mistake, there’s a dire need for this legislation. A quarter of American women will be the victim of physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetimes. More than a third of all women will be raped, assaulted or stalked. And the numbers are worse for Native American women, of whom some 84 percent will experience violence. Making VAWA stronger will help us lower those tragic numbers.”
Senator Casey cosponsored the 2013 Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, which expired in April. In Pennsylvania, an estimated 122 victims died from domestic violence incidents last year, 68 percent of whom were killed by a current or former intimate partner.
Read more about the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization here.