Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act
Thank you to all of those who attended our VAWA & Washington Women panel on Monday!
We want to once again express our thanks to Grace Huang, Riddhi Mukhopadhyay, Michelle Demmert, and Brit Wilson for taking time to share with us an overview of the history of the Violence Against Women’s Act, its provisions, and the ongoing efforts to expand protections for all intimate partner violence and sexual assault survivors.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), first enacted in 1994, was the first U.S. federal legislation to provide a system of legal protection and resources for victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Since its introduction, the landmark legislation has elevated awareness of domestic violence in the national consciousness, funded shelters and crisis center around the country, and created a national hotline for victims. In the years since its passage, domestic violence rates have dropped by 64%. However, many groups are still fighting to strengthen and reform VAWA to better reflect survivors from underrepresented groups, including Indigenous survivors, immigrant survivors, LGBTQ survivors, Black survivors, and survivors of color.
In 2018, VAWA expired for the first time since its passage in 1994.
Where We Are Now
Just this week, Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, along with Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, introduced legislation to reauthorize VAWA in the House of Representatives.
As our panelists shared, the new bill will expand upon previous versions of VAWA by providing grants and support to groups actively addressing and preventing domestic violence and sexual assault, improves access to housing for victims and survivors, and eliminates impunity for non-Native perpetrators on tribal land.
Rewatch the Event
For those who missed it, here is a recording of the event:
What You Can Do
If you need help, please contact your local domestic violence program or call a confidential domestic violence hotline:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233 OR (800) 787-3224 (TTY) [Available to call, chat, or text, 24 hours everyday]
- Teen Dating Violence Hotline, LoveIsRespect.org: (866) 331-9474 [Available to call, chat, or text, 24 hours everyday]
- The StrongHearts Native Helpline: (844) 762-8483 [9:00am - 5:30pm, Monday - Friday]
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline Deaf Services: (855) 812-1001 (videophone) OR (800) 787-3224 (TTY) [24 hours everyday; live chat daily 7:00am - 2:00am]
- King/Snohomish/Pierce County Deaf Hotline: (206) 812-1001 (videophone) [24 hours every day]
To learn more about VAWA and what you can do to help support survivors, here are some suggestions from our panelists:
- Visit the YWCA USA website to receive action alerts about current ways to help.
- Reach out to your House representatives at and ask them to co-sponsor the legislation.
- Stand together and stand up for groups that are still underrepresented by VAWA’s protections.
- Advocate for survivor protection at both the federal and state levels by supporting reauthorization of VAWA and also supporting the passage of state legislation, such as HB 1320.
To learn more about the work that our panelists do, including research and resources on intimate partner violence and sexual assault in the state of Washington, please visit: